Notes on the 3/19/07 rehearsal for Thrown - a collaborative work with movement, video and music to be premiered on during my residency March 29 and 31 with Racoco Productions. Please see my website for specific dates and times.
Come out if you can! It's going to be very cool.
Last night was the first rehearsal for Thrown that included me, Lynn and Flip with Rachel Cohen (choreographer / director) and her dancers. I had rehearsed twice with the dancers trying to match their movement with a cued collection of prerecorded sounds mostly from the recording session I did in a pottery studio with Leighton Edmondson (who is creating video for this performance of Thrown). So before we even got started last night, there was a basic framework in place for both Lynn and Flip to listen to and improvise off of. It is important to note that the movement of the dancers is another layer of rhythm and dynamics that an improvising musician can respond and react to. This doesn't necessarily mean that when the dancers are say doing a lot of quick movements that require a lot of physical exertion that the music gets louder and FASTER or vice versa. Sometimes, sound going in the opposite direction of what you might expect can create yet another layer of movement. The music illuminates the movement and/or the movement illuminates the music. Sometimes this means you try to play and/or compose very intuitively, other times very methodically.
Lynn pointed out the sounds I was cuing and mixing using my laptop computer and M-Audio Ozone controller gave direction to he and Flip's improvised performances. This was reassuring to hear as I was wondering during the rehearsal should I be directing Flip and Lynn's playing with my hands or with verbal instructions..? Stand up with a conductor's baton? Well, in this case - and with these particular musicians (and Rachel's wonderful direction) - nope. It made more sense to just play, listen and watch. Then play again, listen and watch. The sounds I had taken so much time to prepare were – I hope - more evocative than any verbal direction I could offer.
Describing some of the movement in Thrown might spoil the surprises that are in store for the audience. Rachel is working with clay and the body and how the two interact in a creative performance. There are moments that surprisingly humorous in the piece as well as some more ominous almost ritualistic choreography and theater. Some of the most moving moments occur towards the end where the movement simply and almost awkwardly evokes a person's self discovery as well as discovery of ANOTHER in your environment. At the risk of giving away too much, Flip compared the moment I'm thinking of to when he first saw his child smile. And the child then discovers they can smile (voluntarily) and begins to enjoy the reactions they get.