Dienstag, 13. November 2012

Jamming with Prudeeff

Me joining Prudeeff (Pierre Gordeeff and Matthieu Prual):

Nibiru Transit and Lost World rehearsal

Working with Blotch on the new track Nibiru Transit. We did some more complex, prog-rock oriented versions of the material before, but this version - more simple and danceable - fits better to the profile of Blotch. The unison pattern following to the intro reminds meof the offbeat bassline of the old Blotch-track Rigidur. Following this video recording, we did some more arranging on Nibiru Transit, in the half-time-part at the end, Michaels adds his ascending eights phrase.

And here we have a take of Lost World, with Dennis playing to a click, which gives it a good drive but does not prevent me from making silly mistakes...

Sonntag, 30. September 2012

Blotch @ Robodonien 2012

Some impressions from Robodonien Festival 2012. Thanks to Christiane Kaja for taking these pictures.

Freitag, 31. August 2012

Working on a duo set

I am in a phase of intensive rehearsals with Jennie Zimmermann, to develop a duo show. Starting from our artistic interests wie move forward to build a profile together. This is an excerpt from an improvisation, we both loop our voices using ableton live and some of it´s effects. Our laptops were not synchronized as we were interested in an open, ambient-like process.

The next video shows us rehearsing a vocal improvisation accompanied by my composition 'afrobeant'. The rehearsal was in preparation for our first short performance, under a tree in the garden of the Villa Kuriosum in Berlin.

Our aim was to be one element of the garden, so that our performance would be part of the whole experience of being there, so we were after making a kind of ambient, or furniture-music. The composition 'afrobeant' consists of two main melodic parts, one of which is repeated in cycles of two measures, while the other is three measures long. The piece has a calm, but rhythmic flow, some kind of a waltz, also comparable to the atmosphere of an african lullaby. To achieve a more static situation I inserted silences, which are triggered by the launch function in ableton, which can be controlled by parameters of probability. All the sounds that are heard then are still in perfect fit with the two cycles, but the surrounding silences give them the quality of fragments. I read about John Cage using chance operations to insert silence into traditional chorals and I noticed that this method is fun to apply. I like to change the probability and listen to more dense or more open versions of the music. The vocals in the video to Afrobeant are a first try, in the long run the voices may come to another level of interaction and interweaving with the instrumental parts.

The costumes are part of our search for a profile as a duo. Being Para Hybrid, I am a poeto-sexual transgender creature, bringing along a certain kind of sleaziness and lack of seriosity. We are up to find a fitting constellation for this together. The costumes in the video above suggest that a fantasy-person and a fantasy-animal singing together. But this difference between person and animal is not reflected in the music or our way of singing. So we decided to go for a different outfit for me.

The second piece we played at Villa Kuriosum was 'dishöz', in the video above you can see us at one of the first rehearsals for this.

This composition is based on a rhythmic grouping of 4, 3, 3, 3 and 4, 3, 3, 2 impulses. The first and second part of it are nearly identical, only in the end of the second part one impulse is omitted. The first part of 13 impulses and the second of 12 impulses are combined to a cycle of 25 impulses. Jennie added a phrase with 12 impulses. By inserting one impulse of silence every second repetition of this phrase, we get 12 + 12 + 1 and so both phrases share the cycle of 25 impulses. In this video we sing first my phrase, then the one composed by Jennie. Here a sketch in ableton live, both phrases are superimposed:

Dishöz skizze

(I would like to perform this composition with several singers so it becomes more lively, in this demo version we use layered loops and both phrases are sung on different pitches and with some variation in articulation.)

Combined together, the different accents in both phrases create wonderful polyrhythmic tensions, especially in the middle of the cycle of 25 impulses. The ambiguity that this combination creates makes it possible to repeat this same thing again and again, give full concentration to one momentary musical situation and I love that.

Montag, 13. August 2012

Blotch @ World Music Festival

Some impressions of the Blotch gig at the Loshausen World Music Festival, pictures taken by Cinja.

Freitag, 20. Juli 2012

Blotch @ Odonien

Odonien is a beautiful location in Cologne, which is threatened to close down at the moment. We played with Blotch at the Robodonien Festival there every year since it´s beginning, so we were happy to play a benefit gig there. Here are some impressions, thanks to Christiane Kaja for artsy camera work.

Samstag, 14. Juli 2012

Blotch @ Fusion

We played at the Dubstation at this year´s Fusion festival, on saturday night just before an approaching rainstorm forced the festival to stop for a few hours... lucky us.
A few hours before, I saw a french band called 'Kaly Live Dub', guys who combine the studio gimickry of dub productions with a live band, very inspiring stuff. All in all the Fusion is a very cool festival, organized in a pleasing way, lovely executed and freaked out; love the mixture of electronic music and bands. And now some more pics of glittery me:

New Workshop

I moved my gear to a new workshop near Berlin, to develope a duo programme together with performing artist Jennie Zimmermann. Yeah!

Montag, 21. Mai 2012

Aka Music Workshop

I attended a workshop given by Aka pygmies at the Klangfestival Naturstimmen in Alt St. Johann in the Swiss Alps. I loved singing this wonderfull music! The workshop was held in a church and the reverb of this space made it not easy to distinguish all the different parts but still it gave an impression of the rhythmic interweaving of the voices of this great music. The Aka who gave the workshop recorded a CD as 'Le groupe Ndima' and can be found here: http://www.myspace.com/ndima

Samstag, 12. Mai 2012

Blotch @ Spaceparty

Some impressions of the gig of Blotch at the Spaceparty 2012.

Dienstag, 24. April 2012

At Kolja Kuglers Workshop

At Robodonien 2012 Kolja Kuglers bass playing robot and Blotch will rock the stage togehter. We are just beginning to work on that and I am really looking forward to it.

Here a video of the rocking robot in Koljas workshop:

Some thoughts on music aesthetics and overtone singing

This is a text I wrote in the aftermath of the alumni meeting of Wolfgang Saus intensive overtone workshop participants; not a sophisticated theory but just some thoughts scrambled together to stimulate a conversation. Originally written in german and only for the alumni group, this is a translation I did due to interest from non-german-speakers. I omitted some passages of the german version and surely made mistakes.

Some aesthetic considerations related to overtone singing

To listen to overtones brings a deepening of the perception. At the beginning of practice an overtone singer experiences a change in his or her sound perception. What was routinely perceived as a single entity - one musical note - becomes a multitude of partials. This process of deepening of the perception could be described as a transition - from normal view on sound to sound examined under a microscope. The advanced overtone singer is used to this and the limits of perception have shifted. for her, or for him, next to the category of one musical note perceived as an entity there is the category of partials. Usually two of these partials - the fundamental and one other partial that is emphasized - are musically relevant.
Personally, when I reached this level, I experienced a certain kind of frustration: as a guitar player, I am used to handling two notes at one time, nothing special, nothing fascinating about that for me. Thinking about this frustration, I noticed that it was especially the process of deepening of the perception that was interesting to me. It is this process - experienced during the exploration of the overtones - that is special and fascinating to me.

Crossing boundaries as an aesthetic programme

Once you discover something new, you did it, you can´t discover it over and over again. When you have acquired a refined perception of the overtones, you have that ability, it is there to stay. But it is possible to sing in a way that emphasizes the transition from one category to the other to any listener. How? Emphasizing the melodic partial only in a subtle way and thus making the fundamental and other partials clearly audible. In doing so the focus is shifting back and forth from the note as a whole to the consisting partials. (…)
Ambiguity is important to my musical and aesthetic interests. It creates a certain kind of tension, an awareness in the listener. Striving for clarity he or she has to listen very closely to and keep on evaluating the sound. Am I listening to a single note, or is it a chord? Another musical strategy to create ambiguity is polyrhythmic interlocking of several different patterns. Different emphasized pulses are competing and create an ambiguous rhythmic field. As a performing artist the concept of ambiguity is constantly influencing my stage outfits, I usually dress as a mixture of man and woman, human and imaginary creature.

To make use of overtones is one element of an aesthetic practice of ambiguity and transgression. As a composer I try to combine elements in a way that creates tension and intensity, to open up spaces for new experiences and thoughts. (…)

Some random thoughts on certain forms used in overtone singing

In the world of overtone singing, you come across vituoso pieces, presenting overtone singing as a special kind of technical skill. These pieces often make use of specific pre-existing genres: overtone singing in the style of Bach, overtone-blues etc. In respect to the composition they are retro - reciting a well establish musical form that is commonly known, so that the technical and artistic mastery can be demonstrated clearly as everyone knows the criteria to judge if it sounds "the way it should". If a piece is perceived as a virtuoso piece depends on the context: is it presented and listened to as a piece of music, or is the attraction of the technical mastery the main attraction of the demonstration. Given that polyphonic overtone singing is a young and technically difficult discipline it is understandable to put the focus on the second. But putting aesthetics second may be a path towards becoming a circus attraction for the uninitiated, marveled at, but not taken seriously and be isolated in a small circle of experts.

In opposition to these pieces is the practice of toning in a group; virtuosity is of no importance here. Melodies or specific rhythms are optional and more often than not omitted. The amorphous, intangible, is usually a central quality of toning. The attack and decay of single voices is commonly indistinguishable and lost in the sound of the whole group, which is so complex that it cannot be grasped clearly and changes in the sound usually are vague. The focus shifts away from distinct structures that can be analyzed towards sound itself - a change of focus that is comparable to the shift from one musical note to a multitude of partials in the listeners perception. Omitting a distinct structure can lead towards a higher sensitivity for the sound - or it can transform the music into the background of a relaxing ritual.

There are a lot of other possibilities for the musical uses of overtone singing and I think it is only reasonable to reflect on the specifics and implications of these uses. (...)

Mittwoch, 4. April 2012

Blotch @ Blue Shell

Live in Cologne...

Montag, 2. April 2012

Blotch live @ LiLu

Live in Lippstadt together with UR. Me Hawaiian-style...

Sonntag, 5. Februar 2012

Advert vor overtone singing and polyrhythm

Togehter with Christina Bähne I am offering a workshop on overtone singing and polyrhythm. The advert for this event shows waves of the river Main flowing through Würzburg - the do it in a very artsy way...

Paper Dolls

I did some technical support for the realisation of the music Jennie Zimmermann composed for the theatre production 'Paper Dolls' by Jana Korb. An interesting mixture of aerial artistry, text fragments and music based on the novel 'Cat´s Eye' by Margaret Atwood - recalling childhood friendships that weren´t that friendly at all.

The texts, sounds and music were all arranged in Ableton live.

Mittwoch, 25. Januar 2012

Blotch at work

Working on a new arrangement of the track Theda Bara, which we didn´t play live for quiet some time...

Blotch @ URspektacL.3

Short clip advertising our next gig
Using material of our latest photo session

photography: Christina Zajber