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Event Archive - Kennith Newby, Aleksandra Dulic, Martin Gotfrit, Andreas Kahre

Sat. October 29th 2005 Open Space (All Ages)
8:00pm - end
Gradual Prelude

Kenneth Newby – composition and performance
Aleksandra Dulic – live animation

This work develops an audio-visual relationship of extreme contrast. The music is a process that gradually evolves a performance of the Preludio from Johan Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 3 for solo violin. The original work is only 4 minutes long, while the process articulation of the work can work effectively anywhere from 20 to 80 minutes. The process is based on the principles of granular synthesis but with an important variation. In usual practice the grains of sound used in granular synthesis are very short, somewhere in the range of 30 – 60 milliseconds. This allows for the effective recomposition of sounds at the microsonic level. For the Gradual Prelude these grains are much larger—approximately nine seconds—and result in a recomposition of the original piece of music at an intermediate temporal level of macrosound. Phrase fragments of the original can be heard and seem to be repeating, but in fact are constantly evolving in a forward time vector towards the end of the work. The visual component of Gradual Prelude is made up of live animation based on processing a video image of a violin. A variety of techniques is used such as frame capture, color processing, feedback, delay, image granulation, downsampling and image permutation. In contrast to the strictly deterministic, if emergent, form of the music, the animation is executed as a free improvisation in which the performer has complete freedom to evolve the visual flow in any direction desired. The space between these two interstices of determinism and freedom represents, for me, the place where creativity and emergence dwell.

Conference of the Birds – Structured Improvisations

Kenneth Newby – violin and live processing software
Martin Gotfrit – guitar and live processing software
Andreas Kahre - percussion

This trio of players represents for me a set of musical and collaborative friendships that go back more than 25 years. My collaborations with both Martin and Andreas, in a variety of media, have been long and fruitful—but it all begins with the spontaneous gesture, as it did when we first began playing together around 1980. In the intervening decades much life has been lived, passions pursued and influences absorbed.

My own path has been one of deep encounter with aural processes of learning and improvisation in two unlikely places: artist-composed software and the performance cultures of Bali and Java. These two have much more to do with each other than at first glance, and the common form between them, echoing the dynamic form of the Gradual Prelude, is the role of constraint and freedom. What could be more constraining than the language of the logic machine? And how could it be made to breathe in the way a performer breathes life into a moment? And further—how could meaning be encoded in that seemingly rigid form? The performance practice of Bali and Java and its cultural context provides some hints at how this might work. The work finds itself a coherent part of a larger whole, constituting a kind of ecology of social and natural forms. Complexity and variety in balance—those primary values of healthy ecological systems find expression in an expanded world of action—the one that Gregory Bateson intimated when he critiqued prose (and by extension rational language) as “poetry which has been stripped down and pinned to a Procrustean bed of logic.” Poetry returns to provide a place made for the unconscious as well as the conscious: allowing oneself to become a conduit through which a spirit of possession, known in Bali as Taksu, can express his/her/its self. Perhaps it’s only those parts of ourselves that remain hidden from normal waking consciousness. And perhaps that’s what art is for… to sound the depths of the deep sea of an expanded consciousness—opening itself to the places where dreams and possibilities dwell—places where we can talk to the plants and animals and figure things out in a reasonable way.

The results of this braid of life, art and dream are audible in the way three musicians organize their sound together as an ensemble—engaging in conversations across a wide spectrum of topics, both musical and otherwise.

Multiplicities: meter, mode, tempo, etc.
Duo drone + solo contrast
Distances: pitch, harmonicity, rhythm, loudness, distortion, granularity, etc.
Audible Hacky Sac: passing the sound around—keeping it in the air
Heteroform: deep common structure (homophony) and surface variation


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