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Collective Resonance

Curated By Jean-David Caillouët
August 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

As the world locked itself down, its populations hidden away behind walls, their faces behind masks, their music rituals upended. Airplanes patiently parked themselves, and have waited since in silence.

Yet, music makers all over the world have found ways to transcend this imposed isolation, relying on the magic of online communication technologies to share their artistic intentions. Their sonic messages, vibrating through the air molecules, were digitised and transmitted through fiber optic networks to reach the ears and spirits of audiences worldwide. The resulting experiences obviously varied in quality, yet a new paradigm appeared: our world is now indeed virtual rather than physical, our homes have become stages and our screens our audiences.

This event features a selection of online collaborations that took place during the lockdown period as well as newly commissioned collaborative pieces, each one exploring in its own unique ways the concept of ‘ Collective Resonance’. This eclectic selection is a testament not only to the resilience of our global artistic community but also to the diversity of our musical expressions, a resonance that no pandemic will ever silence ….

The opening collage, ‘Simple Gifts’, was put together by students, alumni and teachers from the Raffles Institution in Singapore. This new arrangement of one of the most popular American religious folk songs celebrates the principles of simplicity and humility. The version presented here is a gift from the musicians involved to their nation, paying homage especially to “the array of frontline workers who are courageously and relentlessly working every day to help us all in the fight against COVID-19.”

CONSTELLATION 25
(SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC
THE UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY)

Ivan Zavada, Composer
Chloe Chung, Dizi
Brad Gill, Vibraphone

Inspired by the notion of Big Blue, the concert theme for the DreamBox collective in Sydney Australia, Zavada created a series of Digital Kanji’s which convey how we perceive water and sky as the colour blue, when light reaches earth from beyond as it is being diffracted more easily at shorter wavelengths – the blue area of the light spectrum.

This work invites the performers to explore the notion of time and space in the context of a different performance that can be modified by users online or fixed by the composer in various configurations. The logograms, or what the composer refers to as Digital Kanji’s, are meant to represent a musical gesture/motif interpreted by the performers in any particular organised or random order – played from 3 to 30 seconds per kanji with the option of repeating each kanji of preference to emphasise the overall structure of the piece based on the selected motifs – the dots and lines can refer to pitch or rhythmic micro-compositions in any preferred frequency/spectral/time range. The square can represent silence or white noise or chaos cluster type sounds – the geometry of each unique shape is meant to inspire sonic metaphysical meaning through introspection and time travel…

Constellation 25 was presented earlier this week at the International Symposium entitled “Is the Virtual Real?” Musical Communities in the 21st Century 24th-30th August 2020 held at Princess Galyani Vadhana Institute of Music in Bangkok, Thailand.

The Hanoi-based group The Six Tones is currently engaged in Musical Transformations, an artistic research project exploring musical change in traditional music through the lens of intercultural collaboration. As a response to the lockdown, the group produced this experimental version of Vọng cổ, a traditional tune from the south of Vietnam together with Phạm Công Tỵ a master of this music in Saigon. The video was created through remote interaction, and builds on their approach to networked performance in intercultural collaboration. The Six Tones are Nguyễn Thanh Thủy (who plays Đàn tranh), Ngô Trà My (who plays Đàn bầu), Stefan Östersjö (Vietnamese electric guitar) and Henrik Frisk (electronics).

Can streams of digits effectively translate streams of consciousness? This was one of the many questions explored by the participants of the recent collaborative project ‘Collective Resonance.’ Performers and music lovers all over the world lament the loss of the tangible, special connections that happens when a common breathing space is shared. Yet, this unexpected change of paradigm provides us with new opportunities to build musical bridges through the digital paths that connect us.

We hurl forward into perpetually new moments that will never return.
The accidents of today are creating the nostalgia of tomorrow

This online meditation is the outcome of a recent collaboration between teachers and students at Seoul National University (SNU), Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) and PGVIM in Bangkok. The resulting suite of pieces mixes real time interventions with pre recorded contemplations where shared sounds and semi improvised evocations intertwine in response to the poetry of violinist Hayne Kim:

Let me gather all the stars in my basket and send them to you,
You who are far and you who are near.
As we pursue our fantasies with increased fervor,
The flaming arrows have breached the walls.
Alone and yet not alone,
We dance on the fine line that separates our realities from our dreams,
In our minds we fracture the image into a billion pieces
Allowing gremlins and saints an equal footing,
Our shape is discerned by what we choose to hide.

‘Udlot Udlot’ is one of several ‘community’ based compositions by the pioneering Filipino composer José Maceda. The performers are grouped into three clusters called “tuloy-tuloy” (drone), “haluan” (mixed sounds), and “tinig” (voice). The number of performers is flexible, so the whole performance may be played by thirty, up to thousands of performers, so long as the ratio of groups is maintained. Around eight hundred people first performed the 4o minute long work at the University of the Philippines in 1975.

This recently produced 2020 version of Udlot-Udlot is a 10-minute excerpt which makes full use of current technology to adapt to the lockdown situation. Instead of performing this music with the prescribed musical instruments and playing them in an open-air space, participants made-use of improvised instruments and/or household implements to produce similar sounds. The performers were required to use simple recording devices such as their telephones or headsets. The ‘score’ was encoded digitally with an automatic counter displaying the visual and sound cues.

“DINGGIN” Maging ang Mga Kuwerdas ay Sumasamo ng Kapayapaan (2018), translates as an earnest plea, a heartfelt prayer: Dinggin means to heed or to hear with thoughtful attention. Composed by Josefino Chino Toledo, the piece was originally premiered at the 5th International Rondalla/Plucked String Music Festival in Silay City and performed by over 300 rondalla/plucked string musicians from all over the world. Dinggin is a global prayer for peace expressed through strings, percussion and voices. This online version unites many performers from The Cuerdas Rondalla community, expressing their solidarity with the world in overcoming the current pandemic. The performance is an excerpt from the composition, and involves 50 artists from different parts of the Philippines.

‘Distant Soundings’

This final collective meditation involves six musicians and artists, each performing from their respective locations. In the United Kingdom, Scott Wilson and Annie Mahtani will perform from Birmingham, Norah Lorway in Falmouth, Cornwall, and Jake Williams in London, in South America Jorge Garcia will join us from Bogotá, Colombia and the resulting soundscapes will be accompanied by the real time visual treatments of Jean-David Caillouët in Thailand.

This collective of computer musicians, acousmatic composers and DJs will share and interact with local environmental recordings captured in their localities including soundscapes modified by the lockdown.