Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sketches for February 2008 Thrown

Photo by Karen Garrett De Luna. Elodie Escarmelle and Katie Brack in the March 2007 performance of Thrown.

Building Sketch (10/25/07)

The mp3 I've posted is a sketch for some possible music for the February 2008 installment of Thrown - my ongoing collaboration with choreographer Rachel Cohen. In performance, Thrown combines movement and live music with the medium of clay (we'll be joined by sculptor Patty Rosenblatt for the February installment). The work leading up to the performances are really less about rehearsal and more about creating a world where these three mediums interact with unexpected results. We of course now have materials from previous incarnations of Thrown to draw upon, but we are also pretty much starting from scratch as the performers, the space and the medium of clay itself exert a powerful influence upon the work. Thrown isn't a set composed work. It is somehow both conceptual and completely down to earth...

The music for February's Thrown will be performed live by myself on laptop, Lynn Wright on electric guitar, Lewis 'Flip' Barnes on Trumpet and Helga Davis on vocals. Having Helga in the mix has made me want to introduce more harmonic content into the music. Which is tricky, because up to this point, pretty much everything we've played for Thrown has been textural. Noise. But carefully crafted (yet often improvised) noise. In the March installment, I utilized some vocal samples I had from a session I did with composer/vocalist Sofia Koutsovitis. But there was nothing really grounding the vocalizing in terms of key...

I do hear sounds as if they were components of a musical ensemble. The difference between a guitar chord and the sound of a boiler recorded in someone's basement is all a part of the same spectrum for me. But with a vocalist in this mix, it occurs to me I could push the music so that it somehow straddles a line between noise and music (if that makes any sense).

The mp3 I posted is a chord progression I created, played via a MIDI keyboard, and then edited into a performance in Ableton Live. I then doubled up two notes that do not change throughout the progression with tones from two bells I have in my home studio (retuned in Ableton so they matched the pitches in the chords that I wanted to double). I wanted to get a pulse happening that was more like someone working a pottery wheel (which you actually hear in this mix) or maybe operating air bellows in a pump organ or in a furnace somewhere. The idea now is to try having the ensemble in performance double up the notes and lines in the chord progression. The imagined result being a sort of organic wall of chords with stray sounds and emphasized tones inspired by the movement as it is observed by the musicians.

Sketch number one. More to come. More thoughts too...

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