Freitag, 20. September 2013

Para Hybrid & Genia Mascara live at Zytanien 2013

Some excerpts of Para Hybrid & Genia Mascara live in Weltraumhalle at Zytanien-Festival 2013.

Donnerstag, 15. August 2013

Lab: combining improvisational and meditative approaches towards music

Today we examined static musical structures. This was our experimental setup: in a first step all participants create a short vocal motiv. To be able to concentrate just on one´s own singing, everybody covered their ears. The next step is to uncover the ears and listen to all the voices while repeating one´s own motiv. And then: just keep on repeating that very same motiv while listening closely to the overall sound. The motivs where of differing length and there was no synchroniszation to a pulse, so the limited number of motivs occurred in countless new constellations. Within the static structure there was constant change.

The chosen experimental setup combines improvisation with a meditative approach. The spontaneous creation of a vocal motiv happens just on the spot - once it is created, it is simply repeated and all the interplay, all the differing combinations of voices take place as an outcome of the shared process. The challenge of having let go of intentionality and spontaneous impulses is rewarded by the delicate pleasure of listening to the subtle nuances of the sound that can be cherished fully in a receptive state.

Freitag, 19. Juli 2013

Actions within a musical field - an open collection

In a workshop by Heike Kuhlmann and Gesine Daniels on contact improvisation and gender I got to know the 'Underscore', a collection of options of individual and collective behaviour shown at contact contact jams that was started by Nancy Stark-Smith. To label these options raises the awareness and so widens the scope of possibilities.

As we are looking for structures to apply to collective musical improvisation, Jennie Zimmermann and I decided to start a collection of musical behaviour and work with it. I´m looking forward to using this as a tool with a group of performers in our lab.

Lab: sound, body and rhythm

This week saw the premier of the ongoing lab to explore sound, body and rhythm. Two hours devoted to come together and experience and share that Jennie Zimmermann and me will offer twice a month from now on.

Working together as a duo, we both realised that many of our musical ideas go beyond the constellation of two people and are aimed towards a group of people.

This is our invitation:

We are creating a space to focus on sound and body, dance and sensual experience.

Inbetween minimalist cyclic musical structures, delicate dissonances, harmonies and grooves which combine monotony and variety we like to find listening and communication that unites us as a group while offering a space to express individuality through music and dance.

For the lab we offer structures and ideas and a warm up based on voice work, overtone singing and contact improvisation techniques.

We have a longing for experiences of communal sensual intensity and are looking forward to open-minded, critical and enthusiastic folks to share with us.

The open minded, critical and enthusiastic folks have graced us with their presence and together we explored some very basic aspects of rhythm:

Rhythm is based on a series of impulses, that are perceived as seperated entities, but for these impulses to form a rhythm they must be grouped together to one continuous entity. So there is a paradox mixture of discontinuity and continuity that is essential to the nature of rhythmic phenomena. Operational modes of the mind that are normally exclusive to another must be combined for the perception and execution of rhythm. German philosopher Simone Mahrenholz elaborates these aspects in her essay 'Oszillation zwischen Inkomensurablem' (Geteilte Zeit. Zur Kritik des Rhythmus in den Künsten, Hrsg.: Patrick Primavesi und Simone Mahrenholz).

We examined these ideas by using different modes of bodily movement, stepping on the wooden floor or causing clearly audible distict impulses, or rolling around in a fluid movement, while using these different qualities as an inspiration for vocal sounds and singing.

I already knew very well that I like rhythmical situations that create tension and friction and that I love to improvise with performers with whom that is possible, yet it was very interesting to focus on the social aspect of this: coming together with differing positions and withstand and cherish the friction these differences are causing.

I´m looking forward to the next lab, which will be on August the 1st.

Mittwoch, 17. Juli 2013

Composing with patterns 1 - achieving complexity within a minimal scope

The usage of short motivs is a central feature of my style of composing music. I will share some thoughts on this in a loose series.

Around 1990 the father of a friend handed me a tape of south african Xhosa music. One track on this tape consited of a rhythm beaten on some kind of metal device. The sound was raw and cheap, giving me the impression it was a dustbin lid. That particular rhythm consisted of two or three tone colours, that were played in a short pattern without variation. A very limited range of expression, but: I was not able to get grips on that rhythm, it was beyond my analytical capacity and that thrilled me. The underlying principle - in my interpretation - was to make up something quiet complex and elaborate by combining very few elements. This has become an important aspect of my approach to composing music. Some of my guitar parts for Blotch reflect that, for example `Rigidur´.

Das Pattern beginnt 2:19.

The whole guitar part consists of three notes, but most of the time I only play two of them, or, more precise, the variation of one note, because it is an octave. The pattern is definitely not interesting for it´s tonal aspects, but rhythm is it. In `Rigidur´ it´s function is to be a complementary part to the guitar part of my colleague Michael Hauck. Before weaving it into this composition, I had already arranged it as a central motiv in this electronic sketch:

Two more tracks build around complex two-note-patterns are next. Both are sketches realised in ableton live to be played by a live band, but they have some cold charme in these stripped down electronic versions:

Haeree and Decrule share some features in addition two the usage of only two notes for the central motiv. Only a minimum of musical material is used for all parts, no variations, just exact repetitions. Both aspects are in line with the aproach described above and show my interest in minimal music and techno. Repetition without variation has some resemblance to a ritual that is performed in a mechanical way, rather than personal expression. Circling, dwelling upon a single moment, the only element of change being the parts starting or stopping, and, in the case of Decrule, the harmonic progression in the end.

Mittwoch, 3. Juli 2013

Freitag, 1. Februar 2013

Gogokokoroko sung by Genia Mascara

Another version of my composition Gogokoroko, sung mainly by Genia Mascara. This was done in a rush and without much editing but I feel that adds to the charme of it. I like the contrast of this version to the Para Hybrid-version of Gogokokoroko.

Dienstag, 29. Januar 2013

New version of 'Gogokokoroko'

Gogokokoroko is one of my 'Fake african memories' compositions, I already recorded a powerful version with the 'Kargyraa Krew" Kolja Simon, Felix Mönnich and Martin Pässler ( The Para Hybrid-Version I uploaded on soundcloud emphasizes the polyrhythm and polyphony I originally had in mind when composing the track. For now I tried to make it sound like taking the bus in india - I guess I will do other versions that have less nervous energy. Like with Fek Ber, I designed the overall shape of the composition, but let the random mechanisms of the ableton live software execute the actual combinations.

Donnerstag, 24. Januar 2013

Fek Ber

This is a composition of mine that belongs to my "Fake african memories" works. In these works I am mixing polyrhythms inspired by Pygmy and west-african music with the techniques of overtone singing and throat singing.
Starting with song-type structures, after a while I realized that I wanted something less clear - I love the "always the same/always different"-impression when listening to pygmy music. So here I tried to organize the musical material in a similar manner, mimicking a group of people gathering and singing always the same phrases, but in a loose way, without discipline.
To achieve this I heavily related on ableton live´s options to include chance in what is played next. I recorded all the phrases and then the software did the actual combinations within the rhythmic frame. Playing the set again would result in a different version of the composition, so, as I read just today, it is a form of 'generative music', as Brian Eno names it. I am looking forward to perform this live with a group of singers and musicians...

Dienstag, 22. Januar 2013

Shibari loops

In december 2012 we - Para Hybrid & Genia Mascara - did an improvised set at the bondage jam at Schwelle 7, Berlin. At this jam, people practice the art of erotic bondage in a cultivated atmosphere - an atmosphere which attracted us to participate in a musical way. For Shibari loops I mixed loops that were recorded during this improvisation with loops from other recording sessions. Arranging these loops, I decided to go for lots of repetitions, which may cause boredom, but may also bring about a calm and focused sensuality and that is what seemed special to me at that bondage jam. Here it is: