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Not an end

img  Tobias Fischer

We haven't made too much of it, but the past twelve months have marked an anniversary for tokafi. It was exactly ten years ago that we started with a different name and as a PDF magazine dedicated to classical music. Since then, we've expanded our outlook and enjoyed both really good years and somewhat difficult periods, but 2014 has again been a great year for the site. We featured a series on originality, a multimedia project about the work of composer Kenneth Kirschner as well as in-depth interviews with some of our favourite artists and we also saw our sister publication 15 Questions get featured in The Wire. So it is not with sadness but a sense of fulfillment that we report that our interview with The Necks will be the last article to get posted on this site and that tokafi will no longer be updated.

There are many different reasons for this decision. For one, many of the original ideas behind the publication – finding new ways of writing about classical music; bridging the gap between contemporary composition and sound art; focusing as much on the concepts behind the music as the music itself – no longer seem quite as fresh as they did a decade back. What's more, tokafi, like so many other magazines, was born from the enthusiasm of being your own publisher and bypassing the restrictions of print. This has resulted in a flood of content: Over the past ten years, we've featured almost 2,000 reviews, close to 700 interviews, 500 articles and 25 label profiles. It is an amount I myself find hard to believe and which once caused our own database to crash under the sheer weight of material. Increasingly, I am wondering about who will actually read all of this. The situation, I'm sure, is the same for many labels and artists, just as much as it applies to myself personally: We're all so busy fulfilling ourselves, piling project upon project,  that we've lost the time to appreciate the work of others and allow it to truly resonate. The best way of reconnecting seems to me to take a step back and produce fewer material with more intent, to write less and listen more, to replace solitary work and email with collaborations and personal encounters. 

An easier explanation would perhaps simply be that, after ten years of writing about music, I would like to try different things, work with different formats like video and explore different topics – some of them relating to music, some of them dealing with it in a less obvious way. When I look at the technical developments around us, I see so many possibilities, so many great new forms and ideas that could be realised on a shoestring budget, instead of forever continuing to work with the same old formats like interviews, reviews, podcasts and mixes. The only way of making these opportunities happen, ultimately, is to sever at least some of ties with the past and make room for the new.

It goes without saying, meanwhile, that the past decade has been full of great memories: Getting positive feedback on the first 'real' review for the site, Jeffrey Roden's Seeds of Happiness. The discovery of the improv scene around Marcos Fernandes's Accretions and Rent Romus's Edgetone labels, which opened up an entirely new musical world for me. Establishing contact with Al Margolis of Pogus, which would last almost from the very first day until the present. My review of Jean-Michel Jarre's Téo & Téa getting picked up by Thomas Raukamp, which would lead to my employment with beat magazine and being able to sustain my living through journalism. Visiting the Lufthansa Festival for Baroque Music and spending an entire week in London listening to the most incredible music in the best possible concert spaces. Being able to follow the development of Dirk Serries's Fear Falls Burning project from its inception to its acme and spending a lot of quality time with Tonefloat label head Charles. Getting to know the White Fungus guys, being asked to write articles about Noah Creshevsky and Pauline Oliveros and witnessing an uncompromising New Zealand arts magazine rising to a worldwide distribution deal. Returning to London for the Home Normal night and meeting Ian Hawgood and Jeremy Bible of Experimedia in person. Conducting a string of fascinating email exchanges with John Butcher and diving deep into his biography/discography.

If the last paragraph doesn't include all the names that deserve a mention, it's simply because there were too many. Still, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Martinides, who has not only spent many hours assisting us with the technical challenges, but who also covered for the server costs at a time when I was working on the website as a dayjob without actually earning money with it. I would like to thank all the writers who have contributed to tokafi over the years, from Hannis Brown to Bill Meyer and Tanner Servoss, from Hellmut Neidhardt to Antoine Richard, from Lara Cory to Eric Saeger. But most of all I would like to thank you if you took the time to read, mail us your feedback or send us your releases. It may sound like a cliché , but it really has been a privilege to have been exposed to so much great music and so much passion, so many fascinating concepts and approaches to art and life and anything in between and beyond.

When I started the website, I was convinced it was going to last a lifetime. It certainly feels surreal to announce its closure. Not for once, however, does it feel like an end. All articles will remain online as an archive, our bandcamp account will definitely remain active for a while, 15 Questions will continue and there is no reason why I shouldn't remain in touch with many of you in the future. When I look back on the past few years, I think of them as an extremely rewarding, transitory chapter. It was worth every disappointment, filled with inspiration and I can't wait to find out what's next.

Tobias Fischer, Berlin, December 17th 2014.

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