sound-art

Waterorgan with Joachim Hartz (1961-2021)

Lees de uitgebreide Nederlandse versie onder de video.

Today is the opening of the exhibition dedicated to the work of my dear friend Joachim Hartz, who passed away on August 14, 2021: painter, musician, videographer, scenographer. etc. etc.. Here I introduce a soundpiece we made in the mid 90s and some context of my early work in collaboration with Silo Theater and Jochem. The Dutch version contains a more detailed account of my early memories as a sound explorer with Silo Theatre, founded by Milou Veling, and its predecessors at the Object Theatre department in the Amsterdam Theatre School. The Soundpiece is part of the exhibition and also available below.

Jochem Hartz in the performance installation of Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, Festival De Parade, 1995. Photo Ania Harre.

 

In spring 2021 I began to organise the transfers of my DAT tapes with recordings from the Silo and from the Silo Theatre. When I learnt that no action was undertaken by my sound guy, some six weeks ago, I found someone with a DAT machine. I attempted to transfer some tapes, but several tapes, including one Silo tape, broke. When the news about Jochem arrived I went to look for audiocassettes recorded under the bridge during Een Kaar in de Graansilo, at Festival De Parade, 1995. One crippled recording of the Waterorgan turned up, and a complete one. The last one was immediately followed by an excerpt of a recording made by Jochem and others in an actual silo, with a long delay time. It was a repetitive sound of clanging metal, a pan flute and some voices. They vaguely reminded me of church bells and seemes somehow fitting as a sonic farewell to Jochem, so I decided to keep these two connected pieces in the original form, live from under a bridge in Amsterdam.

 

Waterorgel Kaarklok (Waterorgan Silobell).

Waterorgan designed and built by Jochem Hartz, played by Jochem and Mark van Tongeren

Silobell played by members of Silotheatre in the Graansilo.

All rights for the sound piece and photos reserved by the respective makers.

 

Jochem’s Waterorgan

In 1994 or 1995 Jochem had built a waterorgan. It consisted of several pipes that were placed vertically, and also vertically movable. These were not round pipes, but square ones, made of four planks. Like any organ pipe, the sound was produced through a slit in the side of the pipe. In ordinary organ pipes there is a bellows system that pushes air through the pipes. Jochem’s organ had a different method of producing airflow: the pipes were resting in a trough filled with water. The lower end of each pipe was open. By moving the pipes up and down by hand, we would change the height of the water inside the pipe, and add air pressure. I am not 100% sure about how it worked anymore: supposedly we pushed one or two pipes deeper into the water using one or two hands, driving the water level up into the pipe and increasing the air pressure, so that the tone began to sound. Once we let a pipe down again, the water would slowly recede, the pressure would be reduced and the tone would slowly fade out. The control of the tones was therefore not so direct, and not stable either. This allowed for several effects usually avoided in organ pipes, like the sound of moving air without a clear tone, or the occurance of so-called ‘voorlopertonen.’ These less stable tones would give rise to the flageolets (instrumental overtones) you hear. Of course Jochem was still working on this organ as we began to play it. Then we obtained precious studio time and the help of a sound engineer to make recordings to be played back in the theatre performance. We made several attempts to arrive at a satisfactory composition, adjusting things on the go. The recordings became part of a mix of playback sounds I would play and live sounds at the performance Een Kaar in de Graansilo.

Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, De Parade, 1995. Photo Ania Harre.

 

The exhibtion opens today at the Fuse Gallery, NDSM, Amsterdam, and runs till October 3.

http://www.ndsm-fuse.eu/programma.html.

Here is a a video of some of Jochem’s work.

 

ADDITION October 2021: I just saw this video of the actual exhibition which I could not attend (10.000 km away). I am stunned really by the amount of work on display, what a productive guy he was!

What follows are my memories of Jochem’s early performances and our collaboration, including my first-ever performance, in Dutch.

 

Scène 1 Akte 1.
Eerste herinnering.

Rond 1990 gaat Daphne Object Theater studeren en zo doende zie ik vanaf het eerste jaar heel veel voorstellingen van alle studenten, vaak als collectief werk. De herinnering aan de allereerste voorstelling is nog in mijn geheugen gebrand. Vooral het stuk van Jochem.

We zitten te kijken naar een rij kartonnen borden op een afstand van een meter of 3-4. Daarop tekeningen of schilderingen van brommers (of mensen op brommers? – daar wil ik van af zijn). We horen het geluid van brommers die stilstaan, pruttelende motortjes. De borden bewegen amper, maar gaan gaandeweg een beetje onrustig heen en weer. Misschien een stuk of 10? De brommertjes beginnen zich te roeren, de geluiden worden wat drukker. Gepruttel wordt af en toe een dotje gas. De borden willen naar voren, dat is duidelijk. Het lawaai neemt toe, harder en harder, met van die aggresieve gas-stoten waar je je als wandelaar op een oversteekplaats niet bij op je gemak voelt. Nu wordt het echt heel onrustig, de brommers beginnen enorm intimiderend lawaai te maken. Dan opeens gaat er een bel: kennelijk was het een brug die weer open gaat. Het volle geweld barst los. De borden spuiten naar voren, recht op ons af, het geluid wordt angstaanjagend. Terwijl wij terugdeinzen is het geluid opeens weg, het licht uit en de zaal weer pikdonker.

(Jochem maakte de opname daadwerkelijk bij een geopende brug vlakbij de Theaterschool, en souffleerde de wachtenden, met  microfoon in de hand, steeds heftiger de gashendels te openen).

Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, De Parade, 1995. Photo Ania Harre.

Scéne 1 Akte 2.
Tulundusac.

Milou maakt een voorstelling over een IJslandse mythe en nodigt mij uit om boventonen te zingen. Toevallig heb ik een paar weken geleden (augustus 2021) de opnames van deze voorstelling en de voorbereidingen teruggehoord op een oude cassette. Langdurig irritant geratel van een zware ketting over een katrol, een authentieke luchtdruk sirene (zo een die ik na 30 jaar opnieuw zie en hoor in een restaurantje in Yilan waar de chefkok aan alle gasten demonstreert wat het is), druk gepraat en geroep, en ik maar oefenen met zingen.
Jochem maakt een apparaat waarmee een bos omgehakt moet worden. Nou ja, wat heet. Het bos zijn slierten die van het plafond van de theaterzaal naar beneden hangen, plastic slierten. De machine is een stel wieken waar scheermesjes aan vastgemaakt zitten die dus al draaiend, horizontaal dat plastic moeten doorsnijden. En die wordt aangedreven door de motor van een centrifuge. En hoe wordt die machine dan wel gebruikt? Welnu die machine (inclusief die motor) moet op het hoofd van een boventoonzanger komen. En die motor moet op zeker moment flink gaan draaien. Dan loopt die boventoonzanger al zingend door dat bos en worden de bomen dus gekapt. Logisch toch? (Laat ik nou toevallig ook nog eens bang zijn voor centrifuge-motoren, die eens bijna mijn hand meesleurden en mijn arm aan gruzelementen draaiden omdat ik dacht een beetje te kunnen spelen met een handdoek die ik naar binnen liet zakken, terwijl het onding op volle toeren draaide. Ik keek ademloos naar de geweldige en mogelijk ook gewelddadige kracht van techniek). De scene in het bos met boventoonzang en een zacht-ronkende motor werd ruw maar wel opzettelijk verstoord door vreselijke lawaaiïge apparaten, als kettingzagen, ook door Jochem bediend. Dankzij Jochem kan niemand mij ervan beschuldigen dat ik alleen maar zoet-zalvende boventonen zing, mijn debuut uit 1992 is het bewijs. Milou houdt zich ondertussen met 1001 dingen bezig maar voor zover ik me herinner laat ze ons lekker onze gang gaan, heel karakteristiek, een werkwijze die ze later nog zal verfijnen en die tot allerlei memorabele sessies leidt.

Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, De Parade, 1995. Photo Ania Harre.

Scène 1 Akte 3.
Waterorgel

Jochem heeft een waterorgel gebouwd voor de afstudeervoorstelling van Milou waar ik ook weer aan mee doe: ‘Een Kaar in de Graansilo,’ 1995. Jochem heeft daarvoor een fraai waterorgel gemaakt. Die bestaat uit enkele verticale, beweegbare pijpen die een toon kunnen maken door een sleuf in de zijkant. Het zijn geen ronde pijpen maar vierkante, zelf in elkaar gelijmd door Jochem van vier planken. Normaalgesproken drijft een blaasbalg de lucht door de pijpen, maar Jochem heeft een alternatief systeem bedacht: de rij pijpen rust in een trog met water en het ondereinde van elke pijp is open. Door ze met de hand omhoog te trekken uit het water en weer neer te laten, kan je de hoogte van het waterniveau en dus de luchtdruk variëren. Volgens mij trokken we ze omhoog waardoor het water laag kwam te staan en de pijp als het ware ‘inademde,’ en begonnnen dan de pijp gecontroleerd weer in het water te laten zakken waardoor de toon ging klinken (maar het kan evengoed eerst omhoog halen geweest zijn). We konden de toon niet helemaal direct of stabiel controleren, hij stierf langzaam weg naarmate de druk weer wegviel. Er ontstonden zo geluiden die normale orgelbouwers koste wat kost willen vermijden, zoals het geluid van duidelijk hoorbare ‘ademende’ lucht en voorlopertonen (dat dat zo heette leerde ik later van instrumentenbouwer Horst Rickels, die mogelijk de aanzet had gegeven voor Jochem’s waterorgel tijdens lessen op de Theaterschoool). Deze minder stabiele tonen leidden tot de flageoletten (instrumentale boventonen) die je hoort. Uiteraard was Jochem nog bezig zijn orgel te bouwen toen we ermee begonnen te spelen. We kregen studiotijd en een technicus toegegewezen om opnames te maken voor gebruik tijdens de voorstelling, deden diverse pogingen om tot een rudimentaire compositie te komen en leerden al doende. De opnames werden onderdeel van een mix van allerlei geluiden die ik van banden en obscure elpees en cds had verzameld, en vermengd met live gezongen en gespeelde geluiden en muziek.

Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, De Parade, 1995. Photo Ania Harre.

Scène 2 Akte 1.
De Parade

De chemie rond het brandende kernpunt van Milou en Jochem breidt zich uit tot een organisme dat zichzelf voortdurend ontwikkelt en transformeert. Terts Brinkhof ziet het stuk en nodigt Milou uit om op een uithoek van festival De Parade te komen spelen, onder de brug over de Amstel. We krijgen de kans het stuk nog wekenlang op te voeren, vaak non-stop gedurende lange avonden. Ik voel me als een vis in het water in deze vreemde multidimensionale wereld, waarin mensen over het plafond en de zijmuren lopen, de grond een spiegelend oppervlak is, en het achterdoek soms een peilloze diepte van een soort tunnel laat zien, die toch geen tunnel is (het is een filmopname loodrecht naar beneden in een kaar van de Graansilo). Wat hier gebeurt, is veel groter dan wat ik ooit zal kunnen bevatten. De biotoop die Milou om ons heen bouwt zwelt aan tot haast mythische proporties: bouwers, restaurateurs, licht- en projectiemensen, performers, en vooral veel denkers-makers zoals Jochem. Ik begrijp soms bar weinig van de discussies waar dit allemaal over gaat, maar het prikkelt enorm en opent deuren. Alles hecht zich diep in mijn wezen vast en plant zich ook in mijn onderbewustzijn. Gedurende tientallen jaren zullen Jochem, Milou en de Graansilo in allerlei fantastische dromen opduiken, allemaal terug te voeren op die eerste voorstellingen.

Silotheater, Een kaar in de graansilo, De Parade, 1995. Photos Ania Harre.

De Waterorgel Opname

Dit voorjaar wilde ik mijn digitale audiocasettes laten overzetten van opnamesessies in een kaar (de verticale schacht die als opslagplaats voor graan etc. diende) en van andere geluiden gebruikt voor Silo Theater. Toen ik merkte dat daar niets van kwam vond ik in augustus iemand met een DAT machine en wilde beginnen met het overzetten. 1 of 2 Silo tapes braken of wilden niet afspelen. Toen het nieuws over Jochem’s dood kwam ging ik de gewone audiocassettes checken. De opname hier is een fragment van vier uur tape opnames, live onder de brug op de Parade, 1995. Het Waterorgel kwam diverse malen voorbij en wordt hier gevolgd door een opname die een aantal leden van Silo Theater maakten in zo’n kaar van de Graansilo aan de Westerdoksdijk. De lange galm van de kaar en het kerkklok-achtige geluid met wat vage andere geluiden, voorafgegaan door Jochem’s waterorgel, vormde de soundtrack van mijn eigen rouwproces hier in Taiwan. Vandaag opent de tentoonstelling aan het zeer diverse werk van deze veelzijdige kunstenaar en dierbare vriend. Inderdaad, “Jochem was een hartzvriend van velen” zoals de poster vermeldt.

 

Jochem Hartz, 1999. Photo by Mark van Tongeren

 

Het ligt in de bedoeling dat dit bescheiden audioretrospectief rondom Jochem een vervolg krijgt met meer audioreleases uit de Silo en van Silo Theater.

Hier is nog een mooi artikel in Trouw gewijd aan Jochem.

Rechten van audio, video en foto voorbehouden.

All rights of audio/video/photo reserved.

 

Ting Shuo Hear Say (Tainan): Performance 24 聽說有表演第二十四場

聽說有表演第二十四場 Ting Shuo Has Performance Twenty Four

2020.1.5 Sun. 週日
2 pm (入場 door open), 2:30 pm (開演 start performance)

@聽說 Ting Shuo Hear Say,台南 Tainan
表演票 Performance nt$300 (含一飲品 includes one drink)

\ duo:丁啟祐 Chiyou Ding [電子 electronics] +林育德 Yude Lin [電子 electronics]

\\ trio: 妙工俊陽 Miao Gong Jun Yang [自製樂器 self-built instruments]+Mark Van Tongeren [人聲 voice] + 林惠君 Hui-Chun Lin [大提琴 cello]

\\\ group: 妙工俊陽 – 自製樂器工作坊學員 Miao Gong Jun Yang – instrument building workshop participants [自製樂器 self-built instruments]

<<1/4 1~5pm 妙工俊陽 自製樂器工作坊
https://www.facebook.com/events/2530037220609071/
1/4 1~5pm Miao Gong Jun Yang – Instrument Building Workshop>>

———聽說有表演第二十四場藝術家 Ting Shuo Has Performance Twenty Four Artists———(English below Chinese)

::::丁啟祐 Chiyou Ding::::
https://soundcloud.com/chyod

丁啟祐,台北人,興趣於舞曲、電腦音樂和田野錄音。創作經歷以劇場、裝置為主。前兩個參與的製作: 薛詠之「柏拉圖的洞穴」聲音技術統籌、謝瀞瑩「聲洄」聲音編程。

Chiyou Ding is a sound hobbyist from Taipei. He is interested in the sound or music about rhythmic structure, computer related and field recording. He works mainly in theater and installation. The latest two productions he participated are Yung-Chih Hsueh’s “Plato’s Cave” in sound tech coordination, Olifa Hsieh’s “Sound-whirl” in sound programming.

::::林育德 Yude Lin::::
https://playreclabel.bandcamp.com/album/grgranrurr-playground-15-19

交通大學聲音音樂科技碩士學位學程畢業。擔任劇場、舞蹈、影像配樂,合作對象包括窮劇場、台南人劇團、柳春春劇社等;並為田孝慈舞蹈作品《洞》音樂設計,隨團參加2017亞維儂OFF藝術節、2018深圳當代戲劇雙年展;與鋼琴家李世揚合作、張婷婷獨立製作《抽屜三》、許雅婷《The River》配樂,擔任錄音、聲響設計。

He graduated from National Chiao Tung University with a master’s program of sound and music innovative technologies. Yude also created soundtrack for theater, dance, and video, working with theatre groups “Approaching Theater”, “Tainaner Ensemble”, “Oz Theatre Company”, etc. He soundtracked for Hsiao-Tzu Tien’s dance work “Hole”, and toured with the team in 2017 Avignon OFF and the 2018 Shenzhen Contemporary Theater Biennial. He also collaborated with pianist Shih-Yang Lee and produced the soundtrack for “Drawer Three” by Ting-Ting Chang, and he was the recorder and sound designer for Ya-Ting Hsu’s work “The River”.

::::妙工俊陽 Miao Gong Jun Yang aka 李俊陽 Jun-Yang Li::::

李俊陽自25歲起開始個人創作,至今超過15年,累積的作品包括繪畫(塗鴉水墨彩繪於各式材質)、木雕、鐵線塑型、大小型裝置、現成物改裝、拾得物重組、空間塗鴉、現場行為演出、偶戲編製、實驗戲劇,也參與過一些電視台廣告及戲劇節目的演出,還曾改過廟。俊陽的創作實踐是典型的台灣庶民與民俗養份充足的表現。

Jun Yang Li has been making work since the age of 25 and has been in the art field for more than 15 years. His works include painting (graffiti ink painting on various materials), wood carving, wire molding, large and small installations, modifying ready-made objects, reorganizing found items, graffiti on sites, and site-specific performance art, puppet making and performing, experimental theatre. He has also participated in some TV commercials and dramas, and even temple building. Jun Yang’s art practice is a manifestation of Taiwanese common people fed by folklore traditions.

::::Mark Van Tongeren::::
https://fusica.nl/?language=EN

交匯於科學與藝術範疇的聲音探索者Mark van Tongeren,主要以(荷麥)雙聲 / 泛音唱法聞名。早期的作品受到幾種經驗的影響,在圖瓦共和國的人種音樂學考察、蒙古喉唱與西藏低音唱咒研究、與安姆斯特丹實驗劇團Silo合作時擔任表演-錄音-聲音藝術家。之後,他加入Oorbeek即興樂團,並且與Michael Vetter學習跨媒介藝術。近期的作品包括與Superstingtrio演出的Incognito Ergo Sum, 以他做的曲Zeropoint進行的Overtone Singing馬拉松,以及與作曲家Paul Oomen合作的表演。

Mark van Tongeren is a sound explorer interested in the intersection of science and art. He is best known for his work as an overtone/throat singer. His early work was strongly influenced by ethnomusicological fieldwork trips to Tuva and by studies of Mongolian throat singing and Tibetan chanting, as well as by his role as a performer-recordist-sound artist with the Amsterdam-based experimental group Silo Theatre. He later joined the 7-piece improvisation band Oorbeek, and studied intermedial arts with the late musician and artist Michael Vetter. His recent work includes the performance Incognito Ergo Sum with Superstringtrio, and the Overtone Singing Marathon based upon his cycle of compositions Zeropoint, performed in collaboration with composer Paul Oomen.

::::林惠君 Hui-Chun Lin::::
https://huichunlin.weebly.com

林惠君,大提琴手。出生於台灣高雄,現定居在德國柏林。她從2008年開始製作音樂,從創作世界音樂,結合劇場,舞蹈到多媒體素材表演藝術到爵士樂多接觸。以音樂即興為主軸做作品創作,融合古典,傳統元素開創新的表演題材。活躍地並跨領域是她的專長,她的作品表達許多張力,突破極限,遊走在非主流音樂、實驗聲音領域。大提琴演奏外,人聲與肢體亦是她演出的項目。

Hui-Chun Lin is a musician who moves fluidly among work in avantgarde music, world music, jazz and improvisation and also performance. Her repertoire encompasses traditional, experimental and classical music in equal measure. Her musical work is concerned above all with sounding out the intersections, boundaries and connections among genres, epochs and cultures. Since 2011, she is a musician, performer and cello teacher in Berlin.

照片攝影 Photo credit: Mark by 蔡詩凡 / Shi-Fan Tsai。

贊助單位:財團法人國家文化藝術基金會
Sponsor: The National Culture and Arts Foundation

TingShuoHearSay Performance 24

 

 

Sound piece for The Fear of Small Numbers

I recently sat down to create a contribution for Serge Onnen‘s exhibition, opening tomorrow at the Kunstfort in Vijfhuizen, called The Fear of Small Numbers. Among the exhibits is a record player for which visitors can change the speed. Our collective of sound makers Oorbeek (where I got to know Serge in the first place) recorded a contribution in the studio this Summer, while recording a new album, and a host of other performers (me included) were asked to contribute. The record contains all these short pieces, one after another, and as a listeners you can play them back as fast or slow as you like. An interesting challenge for which I produced the following short piece, which I think will sound good no matter how slow or fast it is played back. I looped the original track of 22 seconds several times to make it longer. And for lack of a turntable I give you the half and double speeds as a bonus.

 

 

 

 

Here is the whole blurb for the exhibition:

In the fortress Serge Onnen (FR / NL,
1965) constructs an alternative
economy. Hard numbers become
fluid and loose the definite meaning
as we know it. A roulette, a wheel of
fortune, rotoscopes, a phenakistiscope
and a LP spin at high speed.
A party of Chinese shadow puppets
plays a sudoku-like game and looks
with half an eye at Onnen’s newest
animation movie CLOACINAE (2017)*,
which is here shown for the first
time.
Onnen works with drawings and
pre-cinema techniques. He was a
resident at the Rijksakademie and
teaches at the Rietveld Academy.
Onnen lives alternately in Brussels
and Amsterdam.
With sound contributions by i.a.
Jaap Blonk, Li Daiguo, Dick el
Demasiado, Fred Kienhuis, Jonas
Ohlsson, Oorbeek, Yvo Sprey, Mark
van Tongeren and Mariana Ungureanu,
Simon Wald-Lasowski. *I.c.w.
Sverre Fredriksen.
Festive opening on Sunday,
October 14, 15.00 with the artist
present. Opening speech at 15.30,
followed by drinks and music by
DJ Marcelle / Another Nice Mess.
Also on show this Fall at the
Kunstfort:
• Charlott Weise – He at Sea
in the Genieloods.
• Interventions by Yin-Ju Chen,
Roderick Hietbrink, Rachel
de Joode, Lennart de Neef en
Micha Prinsen, Lonneke van
der Palen, Marius Schwarz,
Dan Walwin.
Save the date: Sunday, December
16, 15.00, finissage with Onnen’s
band OORBEEK.
Image © Serge Onnen
Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen is supported
by the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer
and the Mondriaan Fund.
Fortwachter 1, Vijfhuizen (NH)
www.kunstfort.nl
Tue–Sun 13–17 (Mon / Thu closed)
Check website for Holidays

Third installment of Nordic

Right now I am taking part in Ming-Hwa Yeh’s third version of a piece we began working on around August 2014. The resulting performance at that time was called Nordic and in its new version, Dreamin’ MoNTUE, it has become an installation with frequent live performances by Ming-Hwa, pianist A-Kwan and myself. Right now my appearances have mainly been for one visitor at an appointed time.

So far this is a very interesting experiment, where my previous role as a sort of wandering local spirit or genius loci and shaman, receives a more open-form performance component: I basically do whatever I fancy, from talking and singing to playing and just watching.

Performances last till early May and I will resume my participation after coming back from Shanghai next week.

Weblink to the Museum of National Taiwan University of Education.

Here are some of the first pictures.

Dada is Dead. Long live Dada!

It is 100 hundred years ago since the very first event signified the beginning of Dada, the powerful yet strangely obscure movement in recent art history. Dada will never become mainstream, but it had immense effects on many things that happened afterwards, ultimately resonating in popular culture. Rooted in fierce criticism of the political and cultural establishment, it was an intense exploration of new forms and a reshaping of old ones, mixed with a tremedous dose of absurdism and humor, naturally branching out across diverse disciplines such as poetry, prose and performing arts, theatre and fine art. To celebrate the centenary, the European culture/arts channel ARTE presents a documentary about Dada, which is available for online viewing only this week: I’ll give you the details after this story about how Dada continues to live on.

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-18 om 11.24.05

Dutch vocal performer Jaap Blonk is one of the artists with a busy schedule to celebrate Dada’s birthday. He is the performer of choice of one of they key works of the Dada movement, a poem existing of nothing but (mostly) meaningless syllables: the Ursonate. Some of us had the privilege to see Jaap Blonk perform a full version of Kurt Schwitters masterpiece, written between 1923 and 1932, in Taipei a few months back. It was a memorable event for many, since this form of radical sound poetry is relatively unknown in these quarters: many audience members were visibly impressed by Blonk’s unplugged, yet powerful and physical performance. I watched it from backstage, from where I could closely follow Blonk’s antics and the audience gazing. I could almost read the piece on their faces, which showed awe, fascination, puzzlement, laughter and many other expressions.

Blonk did the whole thing by heart. When I asked him how he managed to learn it, he explained that he didn’t learn it at all. In the early 1980s he just discovered the poem, he read it and later read it again, simply out of curiosity, without any intention to memorise or perform it. But then, since he knew it and some friends in his circle learned about it, he was asked several times to perform it. He got invitations to be the opening act of some punk or New Wave band in small local venues, with mixed results. In any case few people (if anyone) knew what this was all about, and sometimes he had to endure beer thrown at him. It was all part and parcel of the alternative music circuit at that time (and thereafter, I guess). To make a long story short: after a while he noticed he did not need the text anymore and whenever he was asked he would perform it, while at the same time he was more actively involved in playing and composing for the saxophone (which he played himself) and for the other musicians he played with.

Jaap Blonk’s true interest in the voice came to the foreground only later, and happened something like this, he told me: it was well after the time (the early 1980s) he began doing the Ursonate. So far, he did not so much perform Dada’s piéce de resistance, he rather just recited the text. But then one day he came home and played a record of Archie Shepp, the energetic free jazz sax player. He started to ‘play’ along with Shepp, using his voice, producing all kinds of noise, together with the musicians on the record. Some moments later he realised that the record had finished, while he was still going on. That moment turned out to be a revelation for him, he explained. He now discovered that he was better at trying out new techniques, sounds and noises with his voice than with his sax. Eventually Blonk lost interest in the sax. He said in October he did not play it anymore for twenty years now, and indeed, most people now know him as a vocal performer. He did many more interesting pieces from Dadists and others from before the middle of the twentieth century, as well as his own work, which shows traces of Dada but goes in many different directions.

But hey, here is a chance to go back to the source, check it out on ARTE. There is a French and a German version available (here in Taiwan, for some reason the French version says it does not play where I live; the German version works alright).
Für unse liebe Deutschsprachige Freunde empfehle ich die Deutsche Version.
http://creative.arte.tv/de/article/viva-dada

Pour notre chers amis Francophones je peux récommender cette version en Français.
http://creative.arte.tv/fr/article/viva-dada

And I wish all those who neither speak German nor French lots of fun watching the documentary through this link here. For you the whole program will be one big feast of unintelligible proclamations!
http://arte.tv/guide/en/?zone=world

Jaap Blonk at TIIF in Taiwan

Last night fellow Dutchman Jaap Blonk arrived in Taiwan for a couple of gigs and a workshop, as part of the first Taiwan International Improvised Music Festival. I have the honour to host him the first few days. Several local improvisers and I will share the stage with him, today in Hsinchu and Thursday in Taipei.

Holland'sBankroetDoorDada

Jaap is a composer and vocal artist, best known for his interpretation of Kurt Schwitter’s Ursonate, one of the founding – and lasting – classics of the Dada movement which shook the art world between 1916 and 1924. I first met Jaap in 1995, when we shared the stage at the presentation of a book about Dada in The Netherlands, Holland’s Bankroet door Dada.

Last night we discussed, among many other things, the merits of being born as a Dutch-speaker. To start with, this makes it easy to understand and correctly pronounce German texts, and texts derived from the sounds of German speech, like the Ursonate. Someone from, say, an English speaking country, would have much more trouble getting the pronunciation of all the vowels and diphtongs (two vowels combined) right, not to mention the consonants (the guttural ones are particularly notorious for foreign speakers). And growing up in a small country like The Netherlands, it is almost natural for us to learn to speak the languages of the surrounding countries, so that many Dutch speak (and know the particularities of the sounds of) German, English and French. In addition, Jaap noted, we have all the varieties of the ‘r’ sound (we have a guttural r, a softer and a harder ‘velar’ r, and an r with a flapping tongue). Jaap has incorporated many of these speech elements in his sound poetry, which is sometimes based on actual spoken language, sometimes on his own imaginary language, and also on abstract procedures based on or derived from speech, extending, finally, into various musical/sonic dimensions such as breath, shrieks, groans, etcetera. Besides composing and performing with these elements and developing a sizable body of original works, Jaap’s stage presence and inimitable mimicry has brought him world fame. His current tour in Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, The Phillipines and Taiwan is the second one in Asia, after another tour he did in Japan last Summer.

ursonate_2003

He told me he had performed in Shanghai years ago at a poetry festival, where he was asked by the organisers to do something with a Chinese text. He studied the text with someone speaking Chinese, to get the sounds right. But then, when turning it into sound poetry and given the difficulties of the Chinese tone system for a speaker not used to a tonal language, the poem’s meaning came out completely different, possibly, Jaap explained, including many strange messages he was not aware of.

Besides, it is a different thing to deconstruct the elements of speech for a Westerner, whose understanding of speech sound is based on more or less phonetic writing, and for a Mandarin speaker, whose understanding of speech sound is based on Chinese character forming complete syllables – in fact, complete words. To create sound poetry à la Schwitters poses even bigger challenges for from Mandarin speakers than English speakers.

 

December 1, 19:30, concert of Jaap Blonk, with guest appearances of Lee Shih-Yang and Mark van Tongeren, National Chiao Tung University (Hsinchu),

December 2, 19:30-21:30. lecture/workshop with Jaap Blonk, Nanhai Gallery, No.3, Lane 19, Sec. 2, Chongcing S. Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei

December 3, 19:30-21:30, concert Jaap Blonk with Tung Chaoming, Lee Shih-Yang, Lin Hsiaofeng, Lin Huikuan, Liu Fangyi, Chang Yousheng, Terry, Mark van Tongeren. Nanhai Theater, No.47, Nanhai Rd., Zhongzheng Distict, Taipei

Tickets for the festival are here.

More information about the full program of the Taiwan International Improvised Music Festival is here.

TIIMF2015line-up

 

Sound Journey: Art of Listening

中文 (Facebook)

Meditations, contemplations and practices to get closer to yourself, to the body, to each other and to your surroundings. Listen with new ears to sound and silence. Explore the role of space and environment as sources for sound-making. Two days spent in the mountains to transform something you do all the time: a celebration of the ears!

Did you ever wonder why and how the world of sound can touch you so deeply? And what are the processes behind it? Did you believe your ears simply ‘register’ the sounds around you? Is it possible that you actually influence what you hear? Or can you learn from how others listen? Did you know there are many types of listeners and many ways of listening, such as holistic and analytical? Would you like to listen more actively, and ‘open your ears’ more? Can you ‘tune in’ yourself more to this world, or let this world attune to you? Do you want to let your ‘hearing’ become ‘listening’, and ‘listening’ become ‘understanding’?

During two days in the relative quietude of beautiful mountains in Hsinchu, we break through the habitual patterns of hearing so we can better perceive and understand the role of sound. This workshop is an opportunity to ‘hear yourself hear’ in new ways, and to reconsider what sound and music mean to you, also in everyday life.

The answers we find will be contemplated, imagined, sung, and expressed in words. We strike a neat balance between the verbal and non-verbal, the silent and the resonant, the action and the … passion. Leave the rattle and hum of everyday city life behind – celebrate the ears!

Program for these two days:
MORNINGS
Morning rituals: listen, awaken our ears, sensing the body, feeling the voice.
Do concrete exercises to transform the way we listen, through meditations, listening outside, making sounds together.
Explore spaces using only the ears.

AFTERNOONS
Listen to essential examples of ‘silent music’.
Find out what type of listener you are, learn about other ‘listening cultures’ and develop an active attitude towards your auditory perception.
Collaboratively create music with ‘sound objects’.
Talk about listening as a way to understand the world: to deeply attune our self to the vibrations surrounding us and emitted by us.
Listen to the many sounds of silence.


EVENING
Some good music? Make some noise? Some star-gazing? Good food!

IMG_6230horVanTongerenMED

FOR WHOM:  Individuals interested in sound, music and contemplation; creative, health and spiritual professionals seeking to deepen their skills and understanding in the field of sound, vibration and awareness.
Language: English (with Chinese translation)
Date/Time: Sat. October 31 (10 AM) + Sun. November 1 (17 PM)
Place: Rainbow Mountain, Jianshi Township, Hsinchu County
Price: 6500 NT$
Includes: Local transport to/from station; lodging 1 night; 4 meals (lunch-diner-breakfast-lunch). We prepare some of the food ourselves. Let us know if you are into making delicious food!
Discounts: students 20% (bring your ID)
Participants: (min.) 8 – 15 (max.).

INFO/REGISTRATION
Interested? Get more inquiries from Mark (info@fusica.nl) or Yvonne (chichenlyv@gmail.com) or just register and we’ll send you the payment details. Call us at 0910382749 (Mark) / 0933178272 (Yvonne).

English (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/events/799189793559487/
中文 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/510524165782076/

Next voice class: Voice Yoga. https://www.fusica.nl/events/
Previous workshop: Jew’s harp. https://www.fusica.nl/workshop-learn-to-play-the-jews-harp/

DSC00592VanTongerenMED

Upcoming events

Weekly Voice Yoga Returns to Canjune Training Centre

March 15: Underground Trip (performance)

March 29: Lacking Sound Festival (performance)

Voice workshop for spring 2014: coming up soon

VoiceYoga3

This week Voice Yoga returns to Canjune’s Training Centre. Everyone is welcome to try out Voice Yoga on Thursdays between 10 and twelve. No registration necessary, but please be on time. Next week (March 20) the class will shift to the afternoon, between 14 and 16. Read the details about Voice Yoga in this blogpost.

undergroundtrip

Saturday March 15 you are invited to the performance Underground Trip with Serge Onnen, Erika Sprey (visuals), Tung Chao-Ming and myself (sounds) at Taipei Artist Village. There are two shows, at 19:30 and 21:30, please find the details in my previous blogpost.

Screen shot 2014-03-11 at 10.46.11

Saturday March 29 I am invited to perform at the Lacking Sound Festival, which is one of the more interesting on-going sound events in Taipei. Serge Onnen will join me to provide visuals, and we will explore the theme of mirrors. More details in this post.

Soon I will announce some workshops for this spring season. Come check back here or subscribe to this blog. If you prefer to receive emails write to < info  at  fusica   dot   nl> and you will receive updates every once in a while.