DNK moves

The DNK-concert yesterday was a fitting goodbye to the OT301-space. DNK moves next week to the new concert space of the Smart Project Space a little further on in Amsterdam-West, a little more luxurious, and larger: it seats 120 people.

As a goodbye sound artist Mark Bain made the whole building vibrate: using seismic sensors to detect the natural resonance of the building, he played that frequency back into the building. The result is amazing, you hear and feel the vibrations, your muscles and organs are massaged (depending a bit on how you’re build, it seems to work much better with other people than with me). And it creates a happening in the space: the audience sits, stands, experiences in silence, there is nothing to look at (no musical performance), only something to hear and feel. One concentrates on the sound and one’s own body. It is a ‘heavy’ contemplative experience, and a enjoyable one too.

Before that, we already had had much time to listen to all the sounds in the building and to the space itself. Four compositions of the very young composers Taylan Susam and Joseph Kudirka (two each), brought together under the banner of Boredom and Danger, left more space for silence than for musical events. (Which is not completely correct, as the silence can also be a musical event). It is very interesting to see how deeply these young composers (and performers) have been influenced by the Wandelweiser-group. Isolating sounds, small sounds, almost inaudible sounds, and creating space to make sure that we can listen to those sounds. (Apart from the first piece in which someone in the audience got the giggles, there was abolutely no sound from the audience, no coughing, or whatever). There are simply many more minutes of silence, in which you become aware of your own listening attitude, that moments with sound. (Although ‘silence’ is never silent). You become aware of the space (the building and its acoustic situation), of each and every sound – there is not any bit of the sound which is less important than any other bit. You hear everything, Everything counts. In that sense this minimalism is an absolute maximalism: every tiny change in the sound, in the breath, in the hairs on the bow of the cello, is equally important.

On the other hand there is also a conceptualist tendency going in their work. It was maybe strongest in the first two pieces. Seven Minutes or Trombonist by Kubirka simply consisted of a repeating of the same tone, held for about 10 seconds, followed by a much longer silence. The quite high tone was played in different positions each time, which made it a pretty virtuoso piece, though it didn’t nor looked virtuoso at all. Rather the opposite.

schoorel by Taylan Susam is a piece for one speaker, who over a period of a few minutes speakes the following words: It. Was. The. Most. Was. and then 3 words that I do not remember.

The high point for me was Solidarity by Joe Kudirka, subtitled ‘A Quilt for Christian Wolff’ – of all the four pieces this was the one with the most musical events. I think it was a score that could go in different directions, interpreted by clarinet (Taylan), ukulele (Kudirka), cello (Nia Hitz) and trombone (Daniel Ploeger), but also using tapping with the foot, whistling, and hand clapping.

Finally Taylan’s piece for anthony fiumara (2006) was again on the brink of audibility, and very very silent.

The total seriousness of these pieces makes them radical, and amazing, I find – though one might say that not all of them worked equally well. Maybe it still is the mark of really good ‘new’ art that it is at first difficult to accept, difficult to get, because it seems nothing, or too easy to do. The seriousness convinces me. And it makes you listen in a different way. It creates its own world, in which everything is relevant – that is a statement in itself, also ‘against’ the world. I would almost say that such music states “This is Our Music” (after Ornette Coleman).

Maybe I am reading too much in it. Who knows. Nevertheless, more than a hundred listeners came out on a monday night to experience it.

Next week DNK continues at the Smart Project Space.




en,free publicity,music | April 1, 2008 | 14:06 | Comments Off on DNK moves |


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