Gigs, dance, art

January 29th, 2011: Ensemble Intercontemporain

@cité de la musique

I really didn’t like the typewriter sounds at the beginning of Pierre Jodlowski’s Is it this?, especially with the unsubtle title and text. But I liked most of the rest, the sand on green steel barrel, the violin, clarinet and drums at the end. I’m pretty sure I missed the point of the music, as I most often do, but I did enjoy most of it. (As an aside, a composer once told me this kind of music was meant to be read more than to be heard, and I guess he should know because he was writing it. I can’t read music, so I gave up there and then on trying to understand it.)

I really went for Thierry De Mey, because I genuinely like his work and I feel I owe a lot to him for introducing me to a lot of music through his association with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Michèle Anne De Mey. I really liked Light Music, especially for its blurring of the lines between sound, light and movement. I couldn’t really say which was responsible for what I “heard”, whether some rhythms or some progressions. A bit like in a film he made years ago with hands drumming on tables, the distinction feels besides the point. These basic gestures/sounds assembled into changing phrases share a lot with dance — especially De Keersmaeker’s — but to me it was clearly music and not dance, even though it was music I could see as well.

To my big surprise, my favorite piece turned out to be Pierre Boulez’ Dialogue de l’ombre double. I was surprised because I have basically stopped listening to his music for a few years for personal reasons. And I had never heard it live. It makes a huge difference, because the recorded clarinet moves around in a way that just does translates to a record. And some of the trailing echoes of the live clarinet are so much fuller live. To me it was a very intense performance, and my lack of understanding never kept me apart. Despite the visual progression, I was still surprised when it stopped, maybe it’s the pace but I didn’t feel it had been even ten minutes long even though it lasted double that. I may have to reconsider my avoidance policy.


January 30, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , , | Leave a comment

January 28th, 2011: Emio Greco & Hanspeter Kyburz – Double Points: Outis

@cité de la musique

Maybe I shouldn’t have read about it before the show. Reading that Emio Greco might be triggering some sounds through movement distracted me and that made me think his extended arms and hands were a way to overcome limitations of the technology. The point isn’t that this suspicion was right or wrong, what was wrong was that I took my eyes off the ball. I came to my senses because he had something going in his sinuous leg moves, despite keeping them bent low at the time. And in his second danced part there was something about his tilting/hopping/bouncing that caught my eye — though the lights were in the way and I could barely see him.

Still, that’s not much, and the singing parts were not my kind of thing — I don’t like that kind of voice. Of course, I’m not trained enough to understand the music, which I guess proved to big of a wall for me to climb. No surprise I didn’t like this show much, as I missed more than half of the point. I can’t complain though: they did warn it was for skilled listeners; I’m just not one.

January 30, 2011 Posted by | Dance, Music | , , | Leave a comment

January 27th, 2011: Ryu Hankil / Choi Joonyong / Hong Chulki

@instants chavirés

Hong Chulki‘s set was my favorite, maybe because it featured the harshest sounds, maybe because it was the less showy. He used a turntable and electronics, with a metal plate at times that he put to good use on the turntable. I liked the diversity from low to high and quiet to loud, and the physical presence of the material, despite a generally slow, almost meditative pace.

Choi Joonyong‘s sound had a lot of mechanical elements, which I like a lot, for instance generating rhythmic cycles by taping bits of paper to CDs in open players. He almost moved his two amps around, even behind doors that he also played with. I was a bit put off by this part of the set — a little too much theatrics for me — but it was really done for the sound and a pointless pose at all. I really liked the beginning, but I didn’t really like the way the set unfolded for some reason.

Ryu Hankil had a typewriter that didn’t all that sound like one, or maybe one that was broken down inside with loose keys jingling. Nice, but a little gimmicky in my opinion. He alternated that with more run of the mill electronics. I liked some of his ideas, but I didn’t get into his set.

After a break they did a set together, and I didn’t like it much. I didn’t hear something more than in the solo sets, and the interactions felt more like alternating. Then again its a tough exercise in that kind of music.

I’m totally convinced by these sets, but they have interesting ideas, and I really like the concrete materiality of their music. I like electronics, but I’m very fond of having something mechanical in there as well. I think I’ll go and listen to some Kevin Shields again.

January 30, 2011 Posted by | Music | , , , | Leave a comment