the cmrc blog
PLAYing in Scotland – a dialogue
A report from Lynette Quek PhD in Audiovisual Composition and Carmen Troncoso PhD in Performance
On Wednesday 10th May we showcased our collaborative piece “ Recordeur I-II ” within the framework of Sound & Thought at the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow, Scotland. Sound Thought (Festival of Music and Sound Research, Composition and Performance) is an annual festival run by postgraduate students from the University of Glasgow. The theme for the festival this year was on collaborative and interdisciplinary practices within contemporary environments. It also marks the 10th anniversary of the festival, which makes it an honour to participate and be part of the event!
Lynette: It was a three-day packed festival, hosting a range of papers, lecture-recitals, electroacoustic compositions and performances, installations, as well as audio-visual compositions. The last category was the segment “Recordeur I-II” was in. Due to the recent collaboration with Carmen to create repertoire for her electroacoustic Recorder, I had the opportunity to also create visuals to go along with the electroacoustic piece.
The electroacoustic project “Recordeur I-II” :
L: The term Electroacoustic means using Electronic and Acoustic materials to generate a piece of music or work. A combination of two diverse forms of mixed media into a single entity presented together. The electroacoustic piece was presented during the Postgraduate Forum on 2nd March 2017 at the University of York, and it has been a great experience to take the piece further – in terms of project outcomes and places where the piece has been showcased!
Carmen: As ‘fixed media’, electroacoustic music may mean an special and even odd experience for performers, who are used and trained to perform the music ‘in the moment’, giving themselves to the live experience with its intensity, its risks, its magical way to occupy the space and fill the time. Developing electroacoustic music can be compared, in my perception, to the process of creation that painters or writers experience. The work is separated from the audience. It reaches them –the public, the ‘others’- when the work is ready. Both of them can share their work even after taking distance to it, resting from it. What they share lives in the past.
Thus, there were we, among the audience, watching and listening to our collaborative project.
L: It was Carmen’s first time at a performance/presentation where she doesn’t have to perform. While I just pressed play/spacebar (as always).
C: Yes, it’s true: I had never presented my performance in a cinema room, without the familiar ‘concert state of mind and mood’ that awaits for my breathing before playing. A strange sensation. Liked it. As I enjoyed Lynette’s audio-visual response to the sound, as well as having worked with her along the project.
About the project:
C: Recordeur began (2016) with my curiosity of exploring the modern development of my instrument: the Recorder. The first destination: Saltaire, Early Music Shop. After hours of playing curious and new designs, I came home with my Modern Alto Recorder by Mollenhauer Company, with so many singular features to explore, such as an extension of the register, pure tuned harmonics when overblowing due to its manufacturing, a flute-like tone for the bottom notes, and a stronger volume than baroque ones. I decided to examine and perceive these features playing with piano. Attempting to meet the modern, evolving sound of it.
Later, in April 2016, I took the brave decision to undergo surgery on this instrument. I travelled to the beautiful village of VILLES-SUR-AUZON, in France, where the recorder maker Philippe Bolton, creator of an internal microphone system and the ‘surgeon’ of this transformation, drilled a hole in the side of the instrument, opening the entrance for new sonic spectra, welcoming a new instrument, a hybrid ,which eventually drove our attention to experiencing different processes of sonorous metamorphosis.
The new electroacoustic recorder required collaborative treatments, for it projects itself beyond its own boundaries, combining roles with gadgets and devices, also described as ‘recorders’.
At this point, the ambiguity of the meanings of the verb recorder (Middle French ca. 1349; to remember, to learn by heart, repeat, relate, recite, play music) play a significant role: to remember, to recall, to hum softly, and to sing like a bird, among others.
L: The roots of the word and the contemporary usage of it, related to recording processes and equipment, [hardware and software audio processors (reverb units), and the laptop of course!] interweave within the interconnection of the roles of both sound artist and recorder performer, defining the genesis of the project:
At the beginning, the recordeur (Lynette) with the recorder (device) to record (action) the recorder (musical instrument).
C: In the process of discovering a new voice for this multiple -sound -source instrument, we undertook real-time explorative and improvisatory studies, combining non-traditional sounds and live technological processing and manipulation.
It was thus a collaborative endeavour, where Carmen portrays the instrument while Lynette undertakes the general role of an audio manipulator, creating a new environment for the electroacoustic instrument.
The output: The electroacoustic piece ‘Recordeur I-II’.
Recordeur ’s journey.
C: I am always surprised when examining a project’s history; the many experiences that it generated, the kind of decisions made during the processes, the people that it involved with specific and unique contributions, the key places/cities visited. An ‘idea’ develops a map that drives us to an uncertain somewhere. A fascinating, personal trip, which may become even more significant if shared within an engaged collaborative work.
Back to Glasgow (the project’s last station so far). I also enjoyed the installations portraying the Chilean Selknam peoples’ fate and the ‘fashionable living-room music box from the 20s/30s’: an automaton!; a lecture-recital about the amazing life of the American folklorist Margaret Fay Shaw; the performance and live electronics of Italian violinist Leonardo Cicala and composer Alessandro Cazzato. These, among many other creative connections between artists.
L: We also had time to explore Glasgow, as well as having a day trip up to the Scottish Highlands;
C: getting to know the lochs, woods, mountains, stags and the bagpipes.
Loads of fun! PLAYing in Scotland.
Next destination: Huddersfield. Recordeur I-II will be showcased at AISS during 8-9 July 2017, at the University of Huddersfield.