ECHO CHAMBER #22 – Art in life? with Justin Evans, part 1

 

A little over a year ago I visited Justin Evans in Charlotte, North Carolina, for his residency showcase at Goodyear Arts. I originally got in touch with Justin after coming across his indescribable experimental podcast project Mystery Meat, and was blown away by the group performance he gave of shouted texts he’d worked on for his residency. Before the show, we met at the Goodyear Arts building and recorded a little echo chamber.

But who is Justin Evans? He is a poet and electrician from Marietta, GA. He’s pursuing an MFA from Queens University and is the co-author of many local plays in his current home, Charlotte, NC and in his last home, Asheville, NC. He’s the former co-editor of the local lit mag Vanilla Sex, and current poetry editor of the Queens lit mag QU.

I’m overjoyed listening back to our conversation over a year later. We talked about so many things that light up my imagination, and hopefully yours: the need for catharsis, and poetry/art as necessary tools for outlet. Anti-literariness (slam). His podcast Mystery Meat. The importance and rarity of quiet spaces. Hallucinations and rhythmic attunement (cf. the famous Aix-Marseilles bus hallucinations that led to Brion Gysin’s Dream Machine) How contemporary art tries to put form the shapeless blob that is our experience of the world.

Music/Audio featured in this two-part edition come exclusively from various Mystery Meat episodes.

Part 2 coming out soon.

ECHO CHAMBER #21 – Contemporary Canadian music with John Beckwith

 

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I had the honour to be invited to the home of Canadian composer John Beckwith in autumn last year. He came to see Tandem in concert at Toronto and I took the opportunity to sit down with him later on and have his thoughts on the art of musical composition.

Topics varied from writing music to text; hymn-tune and nursery-rhyme rhythms; operas; acting and performance in theatres, as well as electroacoustic composition. He even put questions to me about my improvisation projects – how we prepare an improvisation and the importance of human connections between improvisers.

Various names pop up, such as John’s long-time collaborator, poet, and friend James Reaney, and my ever-present late father, two problematic quotes of whose we chew over:  “Various species of experimental music not made of notes might give pleasant listening experiences, but I don’t see why every pleasurable listening experience has to be called ‘music'”; and “Most music is a conversation with itself”.

The music you hear throughout the episode comes from various pieces of John’s repertory. The orchestral extracts featuring at the beginning, middle and end of the conversation all come from John’s 2016 piece, ‘Calling’, performed by the New Music Concerts Ensemble. You can also hear the first movement from ‘Pages’, for solo piano and performed by Barbara Pritchard, and the enigmatic second movement from the set of six fantasies for guitar, ‘Ut re mi fa sol’, performed by Peter Higham.

PS Don’t adjust your sound system! There’s an intermittent buzz in the right-hand channel of these recordings, due to my faulty Zoom microphone. Sorry.

ECHO CHAMBER #20 – Freedom & Composition with Christoph Schiller, part 3

 

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I spent several days last summer with composer, improviser and spinet-player Christoph Schiller at his somewhat legendary studio in Basel. Given the concentrated subject matter, and the sheer length, of the discussions, I decided to make a three-part Echo Chamber special that deals overall with the question of freedom in musical composition:- composition as an emancipatory means to deeper reflexion and a more sincere gestural approach.

Toward the end of our three days of conversations, we focused on the problem of words; the problem of musicians trying to communicate between one another despite speaking different languages, ideas becoming lost in translation, and the difficulty of choosing the right words in even one’s own language.

We also look at the problems posed by the following quote from my late musicologist dad: “the more that people believe that music expresses or arouses emotions, the more they want others to agree.” This takes us onto the descriptive words used for music, and leads us to consider the deliberate theatricality of Baroque music amongst others.

The music featuring in this episode comes exclusively from the sublime album ‘Tse’ by Christoph Schiller in trio with Pierre-Yves Martel and Cyril Bondi.

Find about more about Christoph on his website.

PS Don’t adjust your sound system! There’s an intermittent buzz in the right-hand channel of these recordings, due to my faulty Zoom microphone. Sorry.

ECHO CHAMBER #19 – Freedom & Composition with Christoph Schiller, part 2

 

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I spent several days last summer with composer, improviser and spinet-player Christoph Schiller at his somewhat legendary studio in Basel. Given the concentrated subject matter, and the sheer length, of the discussions, I decided to make a three-part Echo Chamber special that deals overall with the question of freedom in musical composition:- composition as an emancipatory means to deeper reflexion and a more sincere gestural approach.

Composition in the sense we discuss it here becomes a tool that is more efficient in prying open interior dialogues within the musician than any score-less method; a tool whose sharpening is the result of a simultaneous rejection of Romantic ideals, various amalgamations with new technologies and improvised methods, and the embracing of the earliest written music practices.

The music you hear throughout this episode comes from Christoph’s bewildering piece Missa, recorded in Basel in 2016 and featuring many of the musicians and singers from the Millefleurs ensemble.

Find about more about Christoph on his website.

PS Don’t adjust your sound system! There’s an intermittent buzz in the right-hand channel of these recordings, due to my faulty Zoom microphone. Sorry.

ECHO CHAMBER #18 – Freedom & Composition with Christoph Schiller, part 1

 

valid-rss-rogers

I spent several days last summer with composer, improviser and spinet-player Christoph Schiller at his somewhat legendary studio in Basel. Given the concentrated subject matter, and the sheer length, of the discussions, I’ve decided to make a three-part Echo Chamber special that deals overall with the question of freedom in musical composition:- composition as an emancipatory means to deeper reflexion and a more sincere gestural approach.

Composition in the sense we discuss it here becomes a tool that is more efficient in prying open interior dialogues within the musician than any score-less method; a tool whose sharpening is the result of a simultaneous rejection of Romantic ideals, various amalgamations with new technologies and improvised methods, and the embracing of the earliest written music practices.

I took great pleasure in choosing what music to accompany these conversations, what sounds of Christoph’s that I not only have a personal fondness for but that also best give some kind of musical parallel to the content of our discussions. For Freedom & Composition Part 1, Christoph’s joint album with violinist Anouck Genthon, Zeitweise leichter Schneefall (Newwaveofjazz, 2019) fits the bill perfectly.

Parts 2 & 3 will be out in the coming weeks.

Find about more about Christoph on his website.

PS Don’t adjust your sound system! There’s an intermittent buzz in the right-hand channel of these recordings, due to my faulty Zoom microphone. Sorry.

ECHO CHAMBER Episode 17 – Sébastien Branche

 

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Mon invité pour le dix-septième épisode fut le saxophoniste improvisateur Sébastien Branche. On s’est retrouvé chez lui à Leipzig en printemps pour prendre le thé et discuter les origines et la continuité de sa pratique de musicien expérimental, ainsi que celle de masseur shiatsu et professeur de mathématiques. Je m’intéresse beaucoup à son approche singulière et hyper-sensible envers un traitement musical du son, silence et bruit qui le mène sur un chemin que je trouve, il m’excusera, quasi-chamanistique.

Intéressé par les phénomènes perceptifs, il axe son travail principalement sur la matière sonore, se présentant avant tout comme un « faiseur de sons » qu’il donne à entendre. Il joue aujourd’hui dans le duo de saxophones Relentless, en duo avec l’altiste Cyprien Busolini ou avec Miguel Garcia à l’électronique, et en grand orchestre avec l’IMO. Il développe par ailleurs un travail en solo au saxophone ténor sur pied et électronique (Lignes), ou au soprano avec l’eau (saxoph2one). Il a joué en Europe dans divers festivals ou salles, pour des concerts, de la danse ou des balades sonores.

Cet épisode mets en écoute exclusivement l’éblouissant album Pnoladeu Avvrhig, deuxième sortie du duo de Sébastien avec Miguel A. Garcia.

Trouvez tout sur Sébastien, y compris ses autres sorties et où les acheter 😉 sur son site:

sebastienbranche.com