Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sonic Experiments - Part 1

Since I'm not really a blogger type, this may not look like a professional blog, but I would like to focus on some of my experiments about the sound art and electronic music especially during my first trip to London attending the Iran-Uk Sonic Residency program on December 2013.

I would like to start by introducing a great artist who I met there:

Keith Rowe (Table Top Guitarist, Sound/Noise Artist, Improv Music Pioneer)

Keith Rowe is a co-founder of the English Improvising Ensemble AMM, established in 1966. Already in the late 1950´s Rowe started experimenting with preparations on the guitar, influenced by the ideas of Marcel Duchamps. In the beginning of the 1960´s he has been a member of Mike Westbrook´s band until his resolution, "I'll never tune the guitar again". Since then Rowe is exclusively playing the "table top guitar" - as a soloist, in AMM and in various other groups.

He is called somehow "The Godfather of Improv music" in Britain these days. He was our main tutor for the Iran-Uk Sonic residency Live performance. Since the Improv music is so tricky and has got the risk of turning into undesirable noise(which he called it Sonic Sausage!), he taught us how to think deeply about every sound we want to play, and to play it at the right moment. The most important point of having Keith as our tutor was his obsession about aesthetics and concepts of the piece. He played us some examples from the Classic/Romantic era such as Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" to show us rich music always has a rich concept, and you can hear it while you are going with it! 

Here is a video in which Keith is doing one of his Improv jobs:

And here is another one:

Guilty Guitars - Keith Rowe 

During our 4 day rehearsal sessions, there was a part for "Graphic Score" which is a way of writing an experimental piece for a group of Instruments that first was used in early 50's and it can be conducted by a conductor. 

He had a quite good background in using graphic notation and he described all about it's history and how it works, so we discussed it with a kind of electro-acoustic approach, and we finally performed a piece using one of those well known scores in our concert.
Here you can find one of the discussed notations called Cornelius Cardew's Treatise Score which we played in our performance:

I had a nice chat with Keith during our welcome dinner, and we discussed about the difference between the improvisation concept in Jazz music, and other forms (such as experimental ones, esp the one they call it IMPROV) and that was really something! because it was exactly what I was thinking about jazz! beside all the catchy rhythms and amusing flying notes which floats within a beautiful harmony, it has got a pattern which defines certain boundaries! but both of us were agreed we don't want any boundaries! 

Beside all the useful stuff, he talked so much about death which I wasn't able to relate to, but I guess that's because the great Keith is getting old! 

I recommend you to search more about this great man, I'm sure you will learn too much from him.