Origins and Destinations:
The Transitory Phase
27th August 2021
Curate by Jean-David Caillouët
To close our week-long series of reflections and explorations of the concepts of traditions and transitions, we have selected pieces that illustrate the theme from several distinct perspectives. The evening event compiles together an eclectic mix of musical offerings, each celebrating in their unique ways the idea of belonging and departure, traveling from traditional origins to novel destinations.
Dion Nataraja’s Herutjokro as Posthuman attempts to deconstruct and build new ideas based on the Javanese idea of rasa; rasa is secularized, reinterpreted, and translated into formal and extra-musical processes through the use of extended techniques on the gamelan, improvisation, alternative tuning (the gendèr and suling in this piece are re-tuned), spectral harmony, and algorithmic processes.
The Pink Sky Orcas give us an excerpt of their upcoming show at BACC in Bangkok with Mermaid feedback, imagining a future in which the Thai capital has been submerged under rising water levels.
Tête-à-tête (French for “face to face”) by Pongtorn Techaboonakho is for violin, cello, and live electronics, which consists of a cue list of pre-prepared sounds. The string parts make extensive use of extended techniques for bowing throughout the piece. The piece establishes a conversation between the performers and the electronics which play the part of another player. The live electronics trigger digital and futuristic sound elements to represent a digital music instrument played by a robot. It is thus like a conversation between people and a machine.
Septian Dwi Cahyo’s CO[L]OTO[MI]C[NAL] is based on the colotomic structure of Ladrang Wilujeng, a traditional gamelan piece. The harmony and timbre are derived from the spectra of each instrument in the colotomic pattern. Micro-intervals are explored and the resulting new sonorities applied to the classical guitar, with traditional materials serving as a starting point to open new horizons.
Seoul National University recently produced a re-enactment of Lyé-Buhl (1968), one of the earliest works of Korean composer Sukhi Kang (1934-2020). Maintaining social distancing due to the Covid 19 crisis, efforts were made to combine song and video for a new platform in a hybrid performance of old and new.
Flautist Phataporn Preechanon takes us through The half-light of dawn, a suite of twelve sketches by the South Korean composer Hyeri Kang, evoking the tradition and environment of Asia in a modern sonic context.
Alex Dea’s Kootenay Reflections, performed by Apichai Chantanakajornfung, allows the guitar to explore melodies in a fashion reminiscent of its organological cousins, the Mediterranean oud or the Persian tar. The piece opens in free rhythm similar to the North Indian “alap” or South Indian “alapana”. The metric transformations through 9/8, 7/8, 5/8, 3/4 are typical of Indian music while the last section is in 4/4. Expanding two levels of space and time is unique to Javanese classical gamelan music.
Jonathan Day takes us on a mythological journey with The Horned Man and the Dragon in which the Tescatlipoca disguised as Wepwawet steals the sun, and Qetzalcoatl as Y Ddraig Goch with some help from Noah and a whale, rescues it de profundis, restores it to the heavens, resurrects the skeletons and supplies them with corn. With musical accompaniment.
Italian composer Paolo Marchettini’s Ad Aquas for violin solo (2013), performed by violinist Hayne Kim, transforms the ancient melody of the Gregorian chant, Sitientes venite ad aquas (“everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters”) into the language of contemporary music. As the text of the chant extends an invitation to the spiritually thirsty, so also the music of Ad Aquas invites the listener to reflect upon the simultaneity of the timeless and the new; a coexistence that is sometimes conflicted, yet always full of vitality.
In the genre of the medieval motet, polyphonic vocal lines create impressionistic lyrics above a stable cantus firmus, usually based on a chant melody. Moment by Hayne Kim & Jean-David Caillouët proposes a modern electro-acoustic re-imagining of the motet combining an original text by Hayne Kim with the melody of the chant Sitientes venite ad aquas, pondering the role of history as a source of inspiration and stability amid the constantly morphing myriad impressions of our present realities.
Nursalim Yadi Anugerah’s Lawing interweaves memories and experiences surrounding the events and issues caused by deforestation in Kalimantan. Memories come from empirical data and the data from deforestation maps, which the composer collected between 2006 and 2013. This data was then translated into a musical composition and installation piece, including the modified-kaldii’, a modified traditional mouth organ (free-reed) of the Dayak people. The piece is performed by Juan Arminandi, Ridho Firman, and Nursalim Yadi Anugerah of the Balaan Tumaan Ensemble and was commissioned by Salihara Arts Center (Indonesia) in 2020.
Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together is based on the treatment of a recitation of a text by Samuel Melville, a draftsman who became radicalized by apartheid when his company put him to work on new bank offices in South Africa. This process recalls the medieval idea of a canon (“rule”), using instructions to derive polyphonic music from a single line. The result is a performance which asserts an enduring moral and musical presence. Tonight’s performance features Prachaya Srisukkho, Natpynya Kosilp, Thanapat Ogaslert, Nithit Rujikajorndej, Nawamongkol Nawachaisupasri, and Thanapol Anantakrittayathorn.