Thursday, September 3, 2015

Angle(s) Plays (Myself)


As Funny as it may sound but it all started after I totally by surprise discovered Mary Halvorson in her solo program (covering the music of many great artists and composers), included one of my pieces “Cheshire Hotel” (originally Recorded with Marc Ribot on “Lust Corner” (Winter & Winter), and soon after with Sam Rivers, Tony Hymas, Paul Rogers and Jacques Thollot on “Configuration” (Nato). Someone who saw her performing it live had told me before but I didn't pick on it up, cause its juste the kinda things I cannot believe somehow, so I thought i had got it wrong or something.

For a very long time it was more than painful to hear myself playing back on the broadcasts or records, I mostly avoided it passed studio time and post production where don't have to hear it as you but as an album to finish. It didn't matter how much people seemed to appreciate it, writing about it or telling me, I politely said thank you, but switched to the next topic. Quite few times something pretty funny happened, I was laying in the bed or listening to radio in the night half asleep, and then I heard a guitarist that, attracted by hear, I knew this guy, it was very familiar, it wasn't bad even, but it would also take quite a long time until I realized it was me on some record getting airplayed....

Time has passed since those days, and it sort of returned, I actually listened a lot to what I did lately, not at all because “I like it so much”, but because something in me and my playing switched to being able to play more and more what I really wanted to hear. There are many many ways to listen to music, to listen to elements inside a group, an orchestra, a band, whatever you want.

So that after 40 years of trying hard, came a sort of peaceful moment now, where i'm into some sort of symbiosis, playing what I want, not having to think much about it, just straight from the individual into his phrasing. Like a direct link, like something as natural for me as water running from the tap, as simple as this.

Now that Mary has recorded this tune of mine, it really came in the best possible moment for me. I could really fully listen to HER playing IT, if you see what I mean. There wasn't any personal interface or wall in between anymore. Also suddenly her own style, approach, subjectivity, journey with it was totally her own, and I could totally detach from my piece to only listen to her. And I actually liked it a lot, both, what she did of it, and the tune too. It was the best possible present and gift someone could make at the most perfect time. When I started I actually studied composition and arrangement (for Big Band but not only), I went through all those courses during close to four years, then I started to play with my first Band (Unit), and naturally wrote some music for it (as well as covers from Ornette Coleman to other open, new or free music). We soon won a contest where I was given the Composition Price, and never thought too much about it after. I wrote regularly or when I had occasions for (film music, an album, special projects, etc), quitte simply.

Until I came to a point where on one side I discovered Free Improvised Music with Derek Bailey, and on another I started to follow more and people I considered as really achieved composers like Tim Berne, Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith... people who I saw as really going deep into the whole process, creating and crafting their own worlds. And slowly I stopped to write music, or less and less, it felt like why should I write something many people I loved would write much much better?

A bit like other occupations I still have but that I never would claim anything, any title or abilty for. Like I always did my own covers and own visuals, but this is totaly related to my own family story, both of my parents being architects and for long having their agency directly in the living room, so that from first age I got immediately a taste for papers, inks, all this incredible world for me, and I kept this need to draw, color, skectch, collage. And still today that the only approach I have and want for it.

And now Hearing Mary playing “Cheshire Hotel”, show me a lot of other perspectives, a lot of other possibilities for me to reopen all my music note books, past and present, blank and Blackened with notes in fact. And this is how came (in production right now), a sort of “State of The Art” with it all. I decided to start with a diptych (New and Earlier Works), which soon enlarged as a Triptych opening on “early works under influences” too. That's the simple life story, how things goes and come back, how the same will never be the same, how nothing is forever nor gone nor fixed.

PS: Sometime Signs says more to you ... (well actually signs are here to show, but whether one can see them always is another story), When I received Mary's album, I realised without having the smallest possible clue, that both our artworks even had a certain proximity, although I had done mines couple weeks before not knowing anything about hers.   

Noël Akchoté Compositions Now Available on and Scribd

Noël Akchoté. French guitarist, violinist and producer, born December 7, 1968, in Paris, active in various experimental fields between drone, rock, jazz and contemporary classical music. Also music journalist and author as well as founder (together with Quentin Rollet) of the French avantgarde label Rectangle. Currently running the label Noël Akchoté Downloads.  He is the brother of electronic musician SebastiAn.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Mikrophonie 1

Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928–2007) composed 376 individually performable works. From 1977 to 2003 he composed the cycle of operas LICHT (LIGHT), The Seven Days of the Week, which comprises about 29 hours of music. All of the seven parts of this music-theatre work have had their staged world premières: DONNERSTAG (THURSDAY) in 1981, SAMSTAG (SATURDAY) in 1984, and MONTAG (MONDAY) in 1988, all three produced by the Teatro alla Scala in Milan; DIENSTAG (TUESDAY) in 1993 and FREITAG (FRIDAY) in 1996, both at the Leipzig Opera, SONNTAG (SUNDAY) in 2011, at the Cologne Opera. With MITTWOCH (WEDNESDAY), the Birmingham Opera Company presented the last day of the LICHT heptalogy on Wednesday, August 22nd 2012.

Mikrophonie is the title given by Karlheinz Stockhausen to two of his compositions, written in 1964 and 1965, in which “normally inaudible vibrations . . . are made audible by an active process of sound detection (comparable to the auscultation of a body by a physician); the microphone is used actively as a musical instrument, in contrast to its former passive function of reproducing sounds as faithfully as possible” (Stockhausen 1971).

Together with Stockhausen’s immediately preceding work Mixtur, for five orchestra groups, four sine-wave generators, four ring modulators, they form a tryptych of live-electronic works, where electronic transformations are accomplished during the performance (as opposed to studio-produced electronic music on tape). Similar to a group of three of the composer’s works from the previous decade, Gruppen, Zeitmaße, and Gesang der Jünglinge, there is one work each for orchestral, chamber, and vocal forces.

After LICHT, Stockhausen intended to compose the hours of the day, the minute and the second. He began the cycle KLANG (SOUND), The 24 Hours of the Day, and until his death in December 2007, he composed the 1st Hour HIMMELFAHRT (ASCENSION) to the 21st Hour PARADIES (PARADISE).

Karlheinz Stockhausen started composing in the early 1950s. Already the first compositions of "Point Music" such as KREUZSPIEL (CROSS-PLAY) in 1951, SPIEL (PLAY) for orchestra in 1952, and KONTRA-PUNKTE (COUNTER-POINTS) in 1952/53, brought Stockhausen international fame. Fundamental achievements in music since 1950 are indelibly imprinted through his compositions: The "Serial Music", the "Point Music", the "Electronic Music", the "New Percussion Music", the "Variable Music", the "New Piano Music", the "Space Music", "Statistical Music", "Aleatoric Music", "Live Electronic Music"; new syntheses of "Music and Speech", of a "Musical Theatre", of a "Ritual Music", "Scenic Music"; the "Group Composition", polyphonic "Process Composition", " Moment Composition", "Formula Composition" to "Multi-Formula Composition"; the integration of "found objects" (national anthems, folklore of all countries, short-wave events, "sound scenes", etc.) into a "World Music" and a "Universal Music"; the synthesis of European, African, Latin American and Asian music into a "Telemusic"; the vertical " Octophonic Music".

Stockhausen's entire oeuvre can be classified as "Spiritual Music"; this becomes more and more evident not only in the compositions with spiritual texts, but also in the other works of "Overtone Music", "Intuitive Music", "Mantric Music", reaching "Cosmic Music" such as STIMMUNG (TUNING), AUS DEN SIEBEN TAGEN (FROM THE SEVEN DAYS), MANTRA, STERNKLANG (STAR SOUND), INORI, ATMEN GIBT DAS LEBEN (BREATHING GIVES LIFE), SIRIUS, LICHT (LIGHT), KLANG (SOUND).

At nearly all world premières and in innumerable exemplary performances and recordings of his works world-wide, Stockhausen either personally conducted, or performed in or directed the performance as sound projectionist.

In a spherical auditorium conceived by Stockhausen, most of his works composed until 1970 were performed at the Expo '70 world fair in Osaka, Japan, for 5½ hours daily for 183 days by twenty instrumentalists and singers, there by reaching an audience of over a million listeners.

In addition to numerous guest professorships in Switzerland, the United States, Finland, Holland, and Denmark, Stockhausen was appointed Professor for Composition at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne in 1971. In 1996 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Freie Unversität Berlin, and in 2004 received an honorary doctorate from the Queen's University in Belfast. He is a member of 12 international Academies for the Arts and Sciences, was named Honorary Citizen of Kuerten in 1988, became Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, received many gramophone prizes and, among other honours, the Federal Medal of Merit, 1st class, the Siemens Music Prize, the UNESCO Picasso Medal, the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine Westfalia, many prizes from the German Music Publisher's Society for his score publications, the Hamburg BACH Prize, the Cologne Culture Prize and, the Polar Music Prize with the laudation: "Karlheinz Stockhausen is being awarded the Polar Music Prize for 2001 for a career as a composer that has been characterized by impeccable integrity and never-ceasing creativity, and for having stood at the fore front of musical development for fifty years."

Mikrophonie I, colour film by Sylvain Dhomme, 1966

Since  the  world  premiere  in  December  1964,  we  have  performed
MIKROPHONIE I in the auditoriums of many different countries.
Seven  musicians  create  a  new  sound  world,  according  to  the  score's instructions.

The sound source is a  tam-tam

While they are playing, the musicians shap
e and transform the sounds with the
help of microphones, filters and potentiometers.
The transformed sound, which is projected over loudspeakers, mixes with the
direct sound of the instrument.