photo by Naresh Kaushal
Click the photo above (or the link below) to read a conversation I had with James Black about music and sound and what it might all mean...
The title of my talk is "Exploring The Temporalities of a Musical Idea", and it's all about a particular philosophy related to generating new ideas, sounds and variations linked to a single composition. If you can stomach it, the abstract is included below:
"Drawing from personally situated knowledge derived from creative practice research, I will illustrate some approaches to the generation of compositional materials bound to a creative philosophy centred around technology, economy and derivation. This philosophy broadens the view of authored materials to include not only the final performance of the music, but also draft and incomplete or unedited versions, inaccurate versions played by sight, adapted versions that are played in sections during rehearsal, unused recording takes and mistakes, incidental sounds from around performance, rehearsal and recording environments, even the sounds generated from travelling to and from the recording session - all of the music and sound resulting from situations, actions and incidents that occur as a direct result of the composition existing can be captured and potentially used to make more music. This approach maximises the amount of materials generated from a single musical composition, providing both an economical approach to theme and creation of a sound world, and a diverse, yet finite framework within which to explore possibilities and experiment. In terms of music production, it also functions as a device for the creation of original and authentic sound worlds for musical ideas to inhabit. This philosophy also acknowledges the collaborative nature of performance, and I will share examples from practice of experiments in human filtering, where intuitive responses from individuals form, inform and reform the creation of musical materials. The score is seen as the starting point of a creative process, the raw materials that are activated by people. In such cases the final recorded production offers a version of the work and a document of this process."
The whole conference schedule can be found HERE.
Registrations/tickets can be ordered HERE.
Can't wait to meet the students and get stuck in!
Bigo & Twigetti label-mate Jim Perkins and I will be collaborating on a show that will include re-arrangements and new interpretations of our original work for live ensemble. Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz will be singing some of my songs from Machines as well as a few new things.
I'm excited! If you're in London that weekend come out and say hi!
May I draw your attention to this beautiful little compilation from Bigo & Twigetti. Click the artwork to go to the Bandcamp page, where you can stream the tracks. Listen to it while you watch the rain through the window.
If you like what you hear, you might be interested to know that the label is holding another "Name Your Price" day. It works just like it sounds, you can pay anything (even zero*) to download anything in the label's catalogue. Starting at 12.00am the 11th of February, for 24 hours you will be able to decide what you wish to pay for any and all of Bigo & Twigetti's releases on Bandcamp. Set yourself a reminder to check it out, you could get a whole heap of brilliant music for a bargain.
*if you decide to pay 'zero' to download my stuff, can you promise me that you'll listen closely, all the way through at least once? thx
Finally, I feel like I need to share this great review of Three Preludes by R. Andrew Lee, that has just been posted on I Care If You Listen. Obviously it means so much when a pianist you admire greatly praises the piano music you have created. BTW if you're a fan of piano music and minimalism you should drop what you're doing and check out his recordings, if you haven't already. I recommend it all, but especially Duckworth's Time Curve Preludes and Dennis Johnson's November.
A limited edition of 50 hand painted physical copies with artwork by Jim Perkins can be purchased here. I've even written out the CD inlays myself...
Working in the studio on my own compositions, everything is exactly how I intend it to be; when you press play you hear the very version I created for you to hear. But when somebody performs a score (essentially abstract system of symbols and instructions), it is different every time. That got me thinking about the value of performance situations: what would this score sound like if it was being read for the first time - where would the player trip? would they gloss over inaccuracies, cover up and continue or stop altogether? If he was going to rehearse a difficult passage, what speed would he choose and where would the passage start and end? What would it sound like through a wall as background noise to some other activity? Capturing these 'versions', and seeing accidents and anomalies as variations, I felt the pieces evolving into something else - something bigger than what I had started with.
I peppered the score with moments of vagueness and 'unplayable' bits designed to force the pianist to make a creative decision in the moment, and we recorded the first read through and initial rehearsals. The extra musical material created off the back of these preludes was used to inform the final recorded versions, and provided the all of the source audio for the three accompanying experimental pieces.
The Three Preludes EP will be released by Bigo & Twigetti on November 18th, 2013. There will be a limited physical release featuring hand painted artwork by Jim Perkins - I'll post more information about that soon.
In a few short weeks I'm off to visit the music department at Western Kentucky University. I was graciously invited by Dr. Michael Kallstrom, a composer/performer/artist and University Distinguished Professor of Music at WKU, to spend a week there with the pianists, composers and music education students to share my practice and explore some different (and hopefully interesting) approaches to creativity.
I'm hoping to use my time there to facilitate some interesting collaborative projects and get everyone thinking about the materials of music in a fresh way. Can't wait!
As part of the deal I'm flying in to Nashville 10 days earlier to spend some time soaking up the local culture. The plan is to hire a car and hit the road and explore: Memphis, Little Rock, Clarksdale, down the Mississippi Delta on Highway 61... I wonder if I'll meet the devil at the crossroads?
What makes Machines instantly unique and captivating, is the soprano of Laura Wolk-Lewanowicz, an Australian opera singer. The angelic voice, teamed with the theme of the album, create a very touching commentary on the current human condition.
The lovely Madga Wrzeszcz has reviewed Machines for Echoes and Dust. Click here to read more.
Needless to say I was chuffed with the way Ruthless Jabiru played "Kick" and the feedback from the performance has been great:
The concert opened with a new work, Kick, by Leah Kardos. This is Ruthless Jabiru’s first commission, and it was a great opener. Kardos uses a small palette of string textures, including long vibrato-less pedals, tremolos and portamento slides, and integrates them into a tightly structured and impressively focussed work.
- Gavin Dixon (classical music critic)
The skill and professionalism of this orchestra, and its founder and principal conductor Kelly Lovelady, was clearly evident throughout the performance, not least in their handling of the first piece – a commissioned work from UK-based Australian composer Leah Kardos, Kick. This fantastic piece evoked visions of a sunrise over an outback property, the building melodies of a single viola and violin sounding out like the Australian bush slowly waking and coming to life.
- Australian Times
Here's a write up about the event that was posted on the Government of Western Australia European Office's news page. It includes details of some of the dignitaries that were in attendance as well as some photos from the night (though it's hard to see, in the last photo I am the one in the blue dress taking a bow with Kelly at the front).
Finally, there is a great article about Kelly and the orchestra by Gavin Dixon, specifically referring to this concert, in this month's Limelight magazine (available digitally here, with print versions available in Australian outlets).
*edit* - I found the Limelight Magazine feature online here.