Final Artistic Presentation: Dans les arbres

Final Artistic Presentation: Dans les arbres

Performing with Dans les arbres as part of my final artistic presentation has been part of the plan from the beginning of my project. Originally I planned for two performances with similar conditions: the same room and the same instruments. I envisioned this would help illustrate the Calder comparison and how our performances refer to each other.  

I decided to skip this pedagogically motivated line of reasoning, and instead plan for one performance that would be as close as possible to a normal situation for us, and one with alterations that have been tested during my project.

My listening is different in retrospect. What I am being drawn to when I am listening now may be different from what evoked my attention then. This is what I hear now, mainly focusing on my own contribution on stage.  

Concert #1: Dans les arbres, 21 April 2015

Below is a video documentation of the performance, including the following comments as subtitles. ‚Äč

A resonant and vibrant room.
Proximity and good instruments.
No noisy ventilation to interfere.

Listening in retrospect:
Like so many times before, our beginning is sparse. Webern-esque pointillism, chiefly administered by Ingar and Christian. A strong referent. Xavier’s layer is a background shade, while I am commenting on the pointillism. Filling in gaps. Or trying to bleed into it. Change in speed and direction at 01:42, nudge, building layers, independent rhythmic loops. Piano and percussion bleed into each other, rhythmically at 03:47, changing the pace and forward momentum of the piece. For a little while. Waiting, playing and listening patiently for the right timing, for an initiative or for something to haphazardly collide. It does at 05:32, and a new section of the scale starts to emerge.

Imitating the drum. I have started something I realise I am stuck with for a while. Big bass sounds repeated like this, easily destroys coherence if they are removed. I am trying to add subtle variations by changing the sound colour. And I add a little electronic noise from the microphone switch. I try not to push, just to wait and keep on going. To see what happens. Collectively working on various colours of density. I am removing some of the bass frequencies, but keep the pulse going. Add a new layer (plucking around 13:15). Short solo by Xavier ends the first section. It feels like a new beginning at 15:05. New part. This impression is intensified when I change tool. On stage it often feels like it causes too much disturbance to change tool. As if I have to begin over again, while the evolving music is continuing. It is a dilemma. The change in instrumentation is important, too.

Slowly building up. We are all copycats. We are all Anthony Hopkins. Air, brushes, gests and touches. Another strong referent. Christian is building up a separate melodic and harmonic layer. Occasionally Xavier and I are bleeding into Christian’s layer of tonality. Ingar has a long pause. Christian adds a second layer with his right hand around 20:22 – a percussive layer that slowly bleeds into percussive banjo and clarinet. Ingar’s slow bass drum at 21:27, copied by gong-like sounds on my guitar at 22:37 is contrasting the percussive build up. Holding it back. Balancing. Xavier’s multiphonics drone does that, too. Added rim-shots invites increased dynamics. Rim-shots are getting fiercer. Nudge. Balancing.       

Decrescendo. Into a very quiet combination of simplistic material. I am alternating between two different layers: the bowed banjo and gong-like guitar drones. We are not pushing, just waiting. Patiently. Clarinet and banjo bleed into each other and form a short composite.

New section in the scale from 29:20. I can’t recall we have ever moved into such a determined collective high-pitched part as we do in this section. A lot of confusing composites after a while. Listening, repeating and waiting for the right time to stop. 


Video documentation with the above comments as subtitles: