have been working for a few days on making some image selections and converting it to musical form.
This is (roughly) the way this works for us:
we play and capture improvised sets on a daily basis, trying to come up with interesting musical phrases and forms, as well as work on communication and connection.
we sift through the (quite large) amount of photographed material we collected so far, trying to identify the forms that have the most meaning to us. we often try to attribute certain textures in image to textures in sound. this is what we’ve worked out so far:
we print out simple drafts of the images and add markings and indications to them, trying to indicate meaningful artifacts or significant parts (see below):
finally we work these loose scores into music (as well as realize which ideas work better and which worse)
once certain ideas take a clear shape, we generate a final printed score.
Last week we spent a lot of time walking the streets and taking photos of artifacts that made musical sense to us and that could be used for scores. Below is the first selection.
The idea is basically looking for markings or forms that could generate musical material. It makes more sense for us to look for material that is rather abstract, or that becomes abstract when taken out of context (by simply cutting the picture for example). Construction sites seem to be a naturally good source for material however we are constantly looking for other forms in other places that would contribute to the variety of the images.
Another good source for images was the area around the Beursplein in the heart of the city. Due to recent events, this area was heavily populated by news teams with heaps of technical equipment, cables running everywhere and general chaos. The cable arrangements on the floor, combined with graffiti and trash gives a strong ironic impression on the entire situation.
On a musical, technical note, we decided to incorporate the use of recordings from the city in the music. The use is purely electronic and it is somewhat technically challenging to create a system that uses pre-recorded material and still allows tactile immediate control over it. Such control is much needed in our style of improvisation. here is a first example of trying to bring it together:
Still finding the surroundings disorienting after everything that took place this week, we get a feeling that these events should probably feed into our work in some way. It probably will in one way or another and we are slowly getting conscious of it.
I was never a big fan of political art and I am not sure that a clear political message is going to be the result of this work but it is definitely informed by everything that has been happening around us in the last few days.
When we walk out in the streets, it is impossible to ignore the drawings on the pavements, the press presence, posters, etc… It slowly also finds its way into the pictures that we take.
We spent most of the day wondering outside, taking in the city. We spent most of the evening processing in the studio.
Our arrival in Brussels was greatly affected by the horrible terror attack that took place yesterday in Brussels airport and one of its Metro stations. The city is greatly troubled and so are we. As irrelevant as this work may sometime seem to me, it is important to remind ourselves that art in all its forms is the substance that help people heal and get over such trouble.
Partially as a way of dealing with the weight of the events we occupied ourselves with building up our workplace for the next two weeks in one of the rooms at Q-O2. Building was followed by a quick setup test recording after which we decided to leave the studio and have a look at the neighborhood around us – one of the areas most affected by the attacks since the attackers are suspected to come from here.
As part of our project we plan to use imagery from the city to generate scores for music, so walking around town and trying to spot strong images is part of the process. It gets a little awkward though when the city is so overwhelmed by emotions as well as so many people with cameras. Walking through the streets quickly showed us that life and hope is very strong here and was very encouraging. We came across lively people, incredible press presence, children, crowded markets and even this lovely vibraphone like arrangement of bird houses (below). Life is strong.