czwartek, 30 grudnia 2010


Bôłt. Polish Radio Experimental Studio, 2010 (2xCD)

CD1 (Originals):
1. Antiphona, Bogusław Schaeffer
2. Collage, Eugeniusz Rudnik
3. Psalmus, Krzysztof Penderecki
4. Episodes, Bohdan Mazurek
5. Assemblage, Bogusław Schaeffer
6. Esperienza, Bohdan Mazurek
7. Dixi, Eugeniusz Rudnik

CD2 (Covers):
1. Antiphona, Phil Durrant
2. Collage, Mikołaj Pałosz, Maciej Śledziecki
3. Psalmus, John Tilbury
4. Episodes, Phil Durrant, Mikołaj Pałosz, Eddie Prévost
5. Assemblage, Maciej Śledziecki
6. Esperienza, Phil Durrant, Mikołaj Pałosz, Eddie Prévost, Maciej Śledziecki, John Tilbury
7. Dixi, Mikołaj Pałosz
8. Hommage to Bogusław Schaeffer's Symphony, Phil Durrant, Mikołaj Pałosz, Eddie Prévost, Maciej Śledziecki, John Tilbury

Distribution: online by Monotype Records (roughly since mid-January 2010), music stores all over the world by Dux (roughly since mid-February 2010)


What is musique concrete but a dip into sound data? In an ongoing series of instrumental interpretations of electronic music – an hommage to Polish Experimental Studio – I don’t think we are doing anything else than this. Composers, improvisers, performers and organizers – each one of us starts with careful listening and then flies off with whatever his or her tools are – piece of paper, music instruments or laptop. But I do believe the kick-off point is the same: “How did music originate?” was the question Pierre Schaeffer asked himself. “Through bricolage, with calabashes, with fibres, as in Africa. […] and this bricolage, which is the development of music, is a process that is shaped by the human, the human ear, and not the machine, the mathematical system.” There is a tendency to think of musique concrete as an art of studio montage. But montage begins in the act of listening; listening to something, which was already THERE. As Chris Cutler neatly put it – from a perspective of a tape, there is no difference between recorded train entering a station and a tape composition based on a recording of the train – it is a sensual, structured and fixed form. Concrete. The question is only: what else is THERE? And maybe one more - where to find now musique concrete outside of the studio?

“Polish Radio Experimental Studio Revisited” started with Collage by Eugeniusz Rudnik. The first time I have heard it – it was an obvious piece of composed Rock’N’Roll for me. But who would guess that for Denis Kolokol Esperienza by Bohdan Mazurek will turn out to be an aleatoric-conceptual piece for quintet in three movements? Altogether, there were seven people involved in the process of re-working of the pieces. In a blurred but joyful cooperation with Denis Kolokol, I have selected dozen of pieces from Studio’s archive. Some of them I have sent directly to the improvisers who agreed to take part in the project. I asked them to play their own versions of the pieces. The other pieces were scored for duos, trios and a quintet by Denis. Usually, he was keeping it formally close to the originals channelling the electronic textures into instrumental partitions; sometimes – I guess – he could not help making jokes; in one case he was following my suggestion, which I am deeply grateful for. Then the scores were sent to the performers who all met in a shabby but glittering with ageing pastel colours basement called “rehearsal room” to face a Yamaha keyboard (instead of requested grand piano) and a home stereo system with one speaker broken (instead of requested guitar amp). Two days later the pieces were ready to be performed in Cafe Oto in London.

Which means: the idea was to have as many different ears as possible; to have as many different reinterpretations of the existing compositions as possible; so that the end result is as indirect as possible. The art of confusion, you could say. Yes, but this is a central strategy of musique concrete – to blur or cut off the recognition of the existing material; to offer something real, to promise a reference but in the end to leave you alone with no sentiment. What exactly do you expect when you are about to hear an “Etude for One Strike of the Cymbal”? A cymbal strike?

I find this seduction, unrecognizabilty or even untraceabilty of the original material to be the core of musique concrete operations – and in trying to reconfigure this process in a totally different dimension I consider this project to be faithful to these ideas. Different dimension does not only mean a mere transfiguration of electronic pieces to instrumental music. First, it is a different dimension because it is a collaborative process when neither organizers, nor composer and performers fixed anything on tape. What you hear is only one of the interpretations, played live in London, on the 13th of December 2009. Second – it is a different dimension because it was live music, with people enjoying their drinks, cars passing by and coffee machine offering spontaneous insertions; meaning: played in a setting where you could expect a proper “performance” of the compositions. But where are they? If we learned the lesson of musique concrete, we should have zero problems with this.

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