|Ayelet Harpaz - voice, live electronics
Netochka Nezvanova - composition, processing, visuals
September - November 2001
Three autumn haiku, were written in song form for solo voice specifically for the performance. These haiku were sung by Ayelet Harpaz and recorded at STEIM, and subsequently developed into a series of short electroacoustic compositions. We devised a simple structure with which to improvise upon using the processed sounds, which were entirely constructed with Ayelet's voice, live vocal sampling and close-microphone techniques. A simple yet highly effective live processed video section was developed consisting of a large sheet of textured glass placed upright, fixed with contact microphones and lit with a square of white light from a beamer. Ayelet `played` the sheet of glass, sending the glassy-metallic sound to be processed in the live mix, while a digital camera captured the shadows of her arm. Using a custom-developed video interface, the shadow was projected back on the screen with a midi-controlled delay resulting in a subtle effect of layered patterns, as if to suggest the evening shadows of leafless trees.
The duration of the piece was 40 minutes.
5th November Overtoom 301 Amsterdam, 6th November Theater Kikker Utrecht, together with Yannis Kyriakides.
I Keep Asking How Deep The Snow's Gotten
December 2001 - February 2002
The winter series was based on six haiku (as there are six sides to a snowflake), written and processed in a similar manner as for Two Autumns, yet now with more understanding of how we might use these techniques for further development in the performance process. During rehearsals we researched several possibilities of combining live voice processing using hardware and software with the pre-constructed audio compositions. A structure was developed according to the resulting material, that grew from the composed songs and electroacoustic work, extracting and focusing on the most musically interesting qualities and exploring cues to improvise upon. We discovered that as we developed a deeper understanding of our material, we began to play in many directions while maintaining a compositional structure, thus retaining qualities of form so important in traditional composition yet allowing the vitality of the momentary decision and surprise. A delicate video projection was developed in which the digital capture of the stage was transformed into a shifting blue ice-like pattern, projected onto the floor in front of the stage. We wore handmade costumes of clear plastic and grey silk dresses, offering a rather beautiful montage under the soft blue light.
The duration of the piece was 30 minutes
15th January Theater Kikker Utrecht,
26th January Overtoom 301 Amsterdam.
Spring: Still Unfurled
March - May 2002
Nine haiku were composed and treated in the manner described above. We developed the work and incorporated new hardware and constructed new software interfaces. As this was our third project in the series, we aimed to attain an in-depth knowledge of our duo and developed the possibilities of the musical dialogue on our combined instruments. The rewards of developing a series began to be obvious in our last performance in January - creating an ability to explore the music, be comfortable with surprises, an audience-perceivable relationship between the performers and an attention to the stage production, which did not overwhelm the music. The visuals developed for Spring incorporated the very lusciousness of spring itself - a cascade of growth, of new greenery and showers of blossoms amid the chaotic weather patterns particular to this Dutch season - pelts of hail, turbulent winds, brief and chaotic rains, and muddy paths and gardens. The music enveloped this chaos of growth in its approach, with attention to unfurling thematic development amid interruptions of storms and showers of sharp surprises. We also explored new hardware and developed new software, that enabled Ayelet to use her voice as an extended instrument, directly interfacing the sound of her voice to the digital processing and thereby making musical decisions. This is an important development in improvised composition - creating meaningful musical relationships through pattern recognition.
With live video by Hans Christian Gilje and costumes by Meg Grant.
`Spring` was premiered in the STEIM concert series at "Melkweg", Amsterdam on the 16th of April and later performed in "Dom", Moscow on the 17th of May.
|Ayelet Harpaz and Netochka Nezvanova began working together in Summer 2001 in order to focus on the combining of improvisation, composition and theatre. They developed a quarterly series based on the presentation of seasonal haiku by the Japanese poet Masaoka Shiki, and presented work at Theatre Kikker, Utrecht, Overtoom 301, Amsterdam in October 2001 (Two Autumns) and January 2002 (I Keep Asking How Deep the Snow's Gotten) and later in 'Melkweg' Amasterdam and in 'Dom' in Moscow during the 'Altermedium' festival (Spring: Still Unfurled').
The three focuses - improvisation, composition and theatre - have lead to an in-depth commitment to research on the presentation of music on the stage and have involved an investigation into technological possibilities. Using live video techniques in meaningful relationships with the sound qualities, visual design and costumes has offered the possibility of beautiful production results while retaining a strength in musical output. Through our work we developed tools and methods of combining real-time audio with video, using several computers, beamers, multiple channel sound array and live musical processing. Because the ability to connect multiple computers through one interface is a simple process with existing programming interfaces (MAX, SuperCollider) complex routines are possible without requiring a large production team or relying on external forms of communication. During a performance we can process and develop live sampled audio in conjunction with previously constructed sounds, control and develop video processes based on live digital camera recordings and most importantly react upon the momentary events that make improvised music so vital, while creating an aesthetic stage design which engages the audience and creates a delightful environment to perform within.