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Sept 15-25, 2011


 Da Contents H2

intro: thnmf 2011
December 13 2011
transcending the hear and now
gail priest: 10th totally huge new music festival & conference, perth


September 27 2011
familiar maps, new territories
gail priest: breaking out, young composers concert

thnmf 2011
sounding architecture, sculpting space
sam gillies: marina rosenfeld & decibel, teenage lontano, cannons


what remains: the sum of differences
henry andersen: residual, peter knight, dung nguyen, thnmf

September 21 2011
eugene ughetti, realtime video interview
artistic director, speak percussion, ensemble in residence, thnmf

marina rosenfeld, realtime video interview
composer in residence, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 20 2011
slippage of sound and sight
henry andersen: decibel, camera obscura

September 19 2011
movement and stasis
sam gillies: etica, twilight

September 18 2011
a language in process
henry andersen: club huge #2, pollen trio, pateras & riddoch

thnmf 2011
percussion maximal
sam gillies: speak percussion, flesh and ghost, thnmf


teased by the trickster
sam gillies: sonia leber and david chesworth, space-shifter installation

water, wind, earth, fire
gail priest: philip samartzis, desert, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 17 2011
playing the ghosts of history
henry andersen: piano tapestry, ross bolleter, mark gasser, anthony pateras, thnmf

thnmf 2011
September 17 2011
the proximity of sounds
sam gillies: club huge #1: marina rosenfeld and julian day, thnmf

September 16 2011
expanding time, space and sounds
henry andersen: speak percussion, le noir de l’etoile, thnmf


in osborne park no one can hear you scream
gail priest: noizemachin!!, artifactory, thnmf

September 6 2011
totally huge new music festival 2011
preview

 

what remains: the sum of differences

henry andersen: residual, peter knight, dung nguyen, thnmf

Henry Andersen is a composer and performer of new music, living in Perth. He is currently studying toward a Bachelor of Music Technology and Composition at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Henry’s interest in music traverses a wide number of styles and he has been involved in music for live performance, sound installation, dance, film and other mixed media.

RESIDUAL, A COLLABORATIVE PROJECT BETWENN PETER KNIGHT AND DUNG NGUYEN, IS A MEETING OF OPPOSITES. WEST AND EAST, HUMAN AND INHUMAN, OLD AND NEW ALL FEED INTO THE DUO’S GENRE-LESS MUSIC.

The pair’s influences are vast, spanning jazz, Vietnamese folk, drone, rock and electronica. In their improvisations at Fremantle’s Kulcha, the final show of Tura’s Totally Huge New Music Festival, each influence is extracted from its original context and given fresh meaning in new surroundings. Residual is what remains.

east and west

Perhaps the most distinctive aspect of Residual is the integration of classical Vietnamese influence and instrumentation. Nguyen was trained by his grandfather on the dan tranh (a 17-stringed zither) and the dan bau (a single-stringed zither with a flexible bar attached to the string allowing pitch bending) and he improvises on both. One of the key difficulties in integrating such instruments into a Western aesthetic is their indeterminacy in regard to pitch. In Residual, however, there is little need for exact tuning—sounds are used for their timbral and gestural character rather than as part of any definite pitch structure. In their final piece in particular, the free, smooth movement of the dan bau lofted beautifully above skittering electronics of Knight’s laptop.

Another important reference point for the duo is jazz. Both Knight and Nguyen are members of the Melbourne ensemble Way Out West. The jazz influence in the duo is best understood as an attitude or an approach rather than a particular sound: the shared improvisation and the measured pacing of the music seem to stem from the genre. Knight plays trumpet in much of the music and his improvisations on the instrument speak of calm virtuosity. His playing is subtle but often incredibly demanding technically and he appears quite happy to move between such virtuosic playing and simple textural techniques, such as breathing through his trumpet, as the music demands.

The great filter for these influences is the duo’s use of laptop. The tone of the trumpet and of Nguyen’s Vietnamese instruments are fairly diffuse but with the laptop, Knight is able to extract these tones and manipulate them, creating a vital middle ground. The tendency is toward additive composition, taking residual elements of the live performance and channelling them into the laptop with the sound quickly becoming a thick mass of disparate influences.

human and inhuman

Residual blends the very human sounds of breath and fingers with the very digital sounds of Knight’s laptop manipulations. The duo combine the elements effectively, playing each to their strengths. The sound of the live instruments is organic and Knight and Nguyen, as humans, are capable of spontaneity within improvisation. Nguyen in particular seems thoroughly invested in his performance, hunched over his instruments in a kind of rapture. For the laptop sound is simply data—it cannot make aesthetic judgements—but it can transform the data in ways that are novel and often surprising.

There is a sense of the laptop functioning as a kind of hive mind for the improvisation, the software as the central logic to which the other sounds adhere. Delicate string sounds and extended trumpet techniques are subsumed by laptop textures which become ever thicker with sampled and manipulated sounds densely overlaid. This provides a useful way of unifying the composition (always important in collaborative improvisation) but it also creates a sense of disconnect between the two live performers—each communicates with the laptop, less so with the other.

old and new

Residual is steeped in history. The dahn tranh and dan bau belong to a family of Chinese instruments which were brought to Vietnam around the tenth century. The trumpet is considerably more modern but far from a new instrument with the first valve trumpets constructed at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Aside from the obvious new-ness of running these instruments through a laptop the duo employ several other innovative approaches to bringing these instruments into a twenty-first century context.

Nguyen’s dan tranh is prepared—objects placed on and between the strings to alter the sound. The result is incredibly effective, allowing the natural ornate tones of the instrument to sit beside percussive outbursts. Extended techniques are also a clear focus for the duo. Nguyen scrapes his fingers along the dan tranh to create ethereal glissandi and Knight breathes, whistles and sings through his trumpet to unexpectedly entrancing effect.

Residual is a collaboration in a far wider sense than simply being the work of two performers. The pair weaves an interesting counterpoint between East and West, human and inhuman, old and new. The aim is not to hold these elements together but to position them against one another. What is cancelled is the expectation of context and genre, Residual is what remains.


Go to www.parenthesesrecords.be to find out about the Residual CD.

Totally Huge New Music Festival 2011: Residual, Peter Knight and Dung Nguyen, supported by Tura New Music, Kulcha, Sept 25; www.tura.com.au/totally-huge-music-festival/about

Henry Andersen is a composer and performer of new music, living in Perth. He is currently studying toward a Bachelor of Music Technology and Composition at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Henry’s interest in music traverses a wide number of styles and he has been involved in music for live performance, sound installation, dance, film and other mixed media.

© Henry Andersen; for permission to reproduce apply to realtime@realtimearts.net

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