Archive for August 2010
it was in summer 2009 during a walk at a mountain lake, when the idea of creating a concept/composition for instrumental timbres to be played in a natural environment plopped into my mind. the idea is nothing new, and basically a logical consequence and development of my fieldrecording based works like giza-í-ruh (field recordings from india) or áttinar (field recordings from iceland) and the like…within the last seven years I had a focus on doing location-recordings and creating field-recording based compositions, in doing so I have had various experiences that shaped my thinking of how to use recording techniques. My interest turned more and more towards the musical quality of fieldrecordings and further towards the idea to consider the environment as being the ‘music’ (as a ‘structured field of sounds’) which we can only react onto…once you enter this compositional system with awareness and if you really listen to what’s going on, you can hardly play a wrong ‘note’ or let us say ‘sound’ . You might play too loud or too much.
This is exactly what the foundation of the piece ‘umgebung’ for five instruments (double-bass, bass-clarinet, percussions, fagot, rice pipe) and eight microphones is about.
For ‘umgebung’ (the germ. word for environment) I created a system for five musicians to perform at a mountain lake at 1800 m altitude – the acoustic and visible aspect of the location is best classified as land art. I enjoyed the concert situation as it purely neglected everything a usual concert offers :
– there is no stage, no pa-system, no room, no artificial light, no exit, no entrance, …
– The ‘usual’ best spot for the audience to listen to the muscicians is filled with cold water (the lake)
– there is quite a huge distance between musicians and audience (you would need zoom tools to listen and see precisely what going on)
– due to the large distances between them, also the musicians could hardly hear each other during playing. which was new and strange for them.
and so, as a simple result the musician had to addapt what they were playing to what they heard – mostly the enironment – a very minimal and concentrated action. the instruments were recorded by eight different microphones situated in various distances around the place. since some people were attending the performance and most of them watched the musicians performing from the other shore, i asked my audio technician to prepare a unique mix of all the recorded signals to be transmitted to wireless headphones for the audience on the other shore, to let them hear what’s going on – like an acoustic zoom.
i implemented ‘louder’ instrumental parts at the end and the beginning of the two hour performance, that could be heard without using the headphones; the music was carried accross the lakes surface to the other shore.
So the piece works and deals with :
– connections between unamplified instrumental sounds and environmental sounds (using environment as a trigger).
– listening and observing distances (close, near, far, focus, out of focus, direct, echo, loud, silent, visible, invisible, audible, inaudible, existing, not existing).
– the movements and positioning of soundsources in a field.
concerts were done only on the 12th of august 2010 from 16 -18 o’clock while we had to cancel the cooncert on the 13th due to heavy rain…for more info, soundfiles and pictures see the project website . more content will follow soon.
i did a live performance together with billy roisz (bass and electronics) at rhiz in vienna. it was loud, dense and very hot…
see some pics, hope to drop some audiofiles of the show (other performances by möström, mimu, lesley flanigan, it’snotfair) soon.
and in order of consequence , here are some records i have listened to closely within july. it’s only seven this time :
– nico : the end (island records, 1974) >>>
– frederic durand : la siesta des cirpés (spekk, 2010) >>>
– kronos quartet with aki takahashi : morton feldman – piano and string quartet (elektra, 1993) >>>
– skylla : skylla (editionsmego, 2008) >>>
– lesley flanigan : amplifications >>>
– low : things we lost in the fire (kranky, 2000) >>>