Final Artistic Presentation: Solo concert

Final Artistic Presentation: Solo concert

Decisions made upfront
For this concert I decided to experiment with scale and form. I wanted to oppose the typical slow building of most of the stage improvisations of the ensembles. I used the notion of, and fascination with decrescendo in Huntsville as main inspiration. I decided to begin loud, with several layers of independent rhythmical loops, and to gradually reduce and diminish. I also planned that I would introduce new material during the piece.

I recorded material and prepared the MAX MSP tool just before the audience entered the room. I set up several loops that collided arbitrarily, and decided to let it play for a while before I started to play with the elements and to improvise with it. I also wanted to stop more often than we do in the ensembles. Face the difficult pause

Reflections in retrospect:
At around 10 minutes I have established the following types of material: the pre-recorded deep loops that begin the piece; the stops with the spring reverb; the mid-register loops that I introduce around 04:30; slow melodic element that begins around 7 minutes; the frozen and pulsating chord from 08:54 and the gong-like guitar sounds. I try to juggle and balance the elements, mould the existing elements, introduce new elements. I try to establish a coherent continuum.

It is a lot of material, and it is as if I need to remind myself of the material between 09:38 and 09:50. As if such recapitulation would contribute to coherence. In retrospect I don’t consider that as a good idea. 

When I am administrating these elements myself, with only the help of a computer, the lack of sensitivity, the lack of human touch is evident. I think the transition into the next section illustrates that problem. It is not as elegant as I would like it to be.  

The section that begins after around 10 minutes is more similar to a typical beginning of an ensemble concert. Building and moulding material begins in situ. Simplistic. Listening for elements that bleed into each other. Individual rhythmic loops that form pointillistic melodies is clearly my focus around 13 minutes. A bit like a murky and slowed down representation of the typical Webern-esque pointillism of Dans les arbres. 

The knife-section that starts at 18:06 is a typical example of a situation where I am looking ahead, into the scale. (Actually, it begins around 17:30, when I decide that I will prepare the guitar with the knife and remove the metal clips.) I know from before that several individual loops with the sound of the knife being pushed in-between the strings, with occasional bass drum-like sound, distributed on different buffers on the MAX MSP tool and with randomized starting and stopping points for each buffer, provide a certain airy, textural, rhythmic chaos. I also know that it takes time to establish this combination. I don’t know the details of what’s going to emerge, but at 18:00 I know quite a bit of what will happen in the following section. It refers to previous improvisations. It is pre-meditated, but it is still improvisation. 

Video documentation of the concert: