This program explores communal listening, communal bodies, and adaptivity through new large-scale works by Michelle Lou and Eric Wubbels alongside shorter duration works by Bethany Younge and Diana Marcela Rodriguez, which incorporate installation and sounding structures.
These works are all commissioned by TAK and will see their world premiere in the spring of 2020.
Eric Wubbels - Interbeing (35')
In Wubbels' new work the performers enact a slow-moving, ritualized progression through a series of musical and spatial formations which manifest–visually, acoustically, and theatrically–concrete images of interconnectedness and mutual interdependence.
Bethany Younge - new work (12')
Younge's new work is characterized by her strange sense of flattened humor, herstory, and understanding of chronic pain in an instrumental work for the ensemble.
Diana Marcela Rodriguez - new work (12')
Rodriguez' new work is characterized by her simultaneously large and small scale enacting of time and structure, as it weaves a perplexing web of history and complete oddity.
Michelle Lou - Bloom (25')
Lou's new work draws influence from the works of Fred Sandback—departing from his use of acrylic yarn to question spatial parameters, Bloom, connects each player together through the use of small speakers implanted in each instrument, and resonating fishing line.
In Wubbels’ new work, Interbeing (35”), the five musicians of TAK enact a slow-moving, ritualized progression through a series of musical and spatial formations which manifest–visually, acoustically, and theatrically–concrete images of interconnectedness and mutual interdependence. Visually, each formation has a direct representation in the arrangement of the ensemble in the space: a quartet played back-to-back, where the musicians sense each other's breath through their bodies and cue entrances accordingly; a quintet in intricate hocket with the ensemble arranged like the fingers of a single hand.
Musically, throughout the piece the standard conceptions of “line” and “voice” are set aside in favor of a sound-field in constant flux, where musical structures (melodies, harmonies, objects) arise through the overlapping and intersection between the individual players' contributions rather than from any single individual.
The experience of playing like this is necessarily intimate and requires listening to each other,
negotiating, compromising, and being with each other in a way that won't work without trust and
respect, as well as a sense that each person's contribution is equally crucial and integral to the piece, that real community emerges only in the absence of hierarchy. In this way, what begins as metaphor becomes through the ritual of rehearsal and performance a concrete, if temporary, experience of the thing itself.
Lou’s new work, ‘Bloom’ (35”), begins, in an homage to artist Fred Sandback, by modifying each of the five instruments in three ways:
● Harnessing their resonances by extension: attachments via fishing line to one another, which turns the strings into vibrating frequencies that utilize the instruments they’re attached to as mutual resonators; and attachment to vessels like tubes and glass jars of differing sizes.
● Various intervening materials: preparation with aluminum foil over bells, paperclips on strings, bird calls small enough that fit inside the mouth, mutes of various materials like rubber, paper, and plastic; and objects of various materials placed on and inside drums modify by both restriction and addition. These materials will vibrate, interfere and change each instrument’s natural sound.
● A feedback loop: instruments are amplified with contact microphones (including on the body of the vocalist) and their sounds will be fed into surface transducers (small devices that resonate objects, turning them into speakers). They are attached to or placed inside another instrument. Some of these devices are also placed inside those vessels (from #1) and spaced apart in the room, in effect filtering the original signal and defining space sonically. While the members are actively playing, they are also actively receiving sound into their instruments, which is also sent out and creates this feedback loop of filtering from instrument to instrument.
Through the use of recorders, transducers builds a space in which Lou plays with perceptions about the size of the space, the distance of the performers, and the memory of the presented works. The concept behind the piece comes from a desire to create a polyvalent experience of space via sound manipulation by the processes of utilizing physical and electronic materials that modify the natural response of an instrument. Vibrations confront different types of resistance to the point of a transmutation of the identities themselves. At moments the impedance is so strong that sound only becomes the pushing of air. The relative closeness or distance that a sound makes edits the perception of location of both the listener and performer. Space itself occupies both the physical and the imagined.
The material itself is restrained with a limited pitch structure and with repetitive mechanical figures that weave a texture that is angular and graphic. These static figures will lapse in and out of focus both gradually and abruptly, drawing awareness. For example, at moments of near imperceptibility, the experience of space suddenly becomes so small that one is shifted inward. The structure of the work comprises of clearly delineated containers of odd proportions, experimenting with the concepts of "just a little too long" and "not long enough," moving between sections without preparation as if a switch is being flipped. The shifts between containers are therefore hard-edged with only small silences as fleeting and rare instances of material defined as empty, but still weighted with kinetic energy. The interventions of warped memory by the tape recorders add another layer of processing of this temporal space. This music is meant as sculptural, physical. All of the participants are simultaneously inside and outside of it; no longer in a strict binary of field, their awareness of themselves expands and shrinks by the intimacy of how the sound translates the dimensions of height, depth and width. Although the format is that of a concert, Lou hopes to compose a space that grants the listener the ability to transcend the chair that he/she is sitting in: experiential, accretive; something that lies in the interstices of a concert, sound sculpture and installation piece.