Cue cards for the London Improvisers Orchestra
We were invited to the 20th anniversary of the London Improvisers Orchestra which consisted of workshops, rehearsals and concerts at Cafe Oto. It was a great joy to return to the group after a long gap, contributing our electronic sounds from the back row of 30+ fantastic musicians, set inbetween Orphy Robinson and Louis Moholo Moholo, what more can you ask for?
The celebration was perfectly organised by Caroline Kraabel. Knut additionally offered a workshop on the freedom and limits of improvising with electronics one afternoon and during the first concert evening also conducted a new piece called Initialisation which was based around cue cards of the 26 letters of the alphabet. This is the score:
1. Think of a loved one you would like to dedicate your playing to.
2. Make a mental note of the initials of his/her name. If he/she has middle name(s) consider them too.
3. Play only when one of these initials is shown. More than one letter might be shown at a time.
Knut conducting the LIO, photo credit: Fabio Lugaro
FMeral was the title of Sarah’s improvised broadcast performance which she gave at the Radiophonic Spaces exhibition opening programme in the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
The remit was to work with the radio art pieces that were included in the exhibition, but by way of contradiction these were restricted for use by copyright issues. Sarah opted to use her own collection of alternative material from artist friends represented in the exhibition, and with a multitude of overlapping tracks created a playful surround mix through a versatile sound system that consisted of three small FM transmitters and a host of transistor radios strewn across the HKW’s foyer.
This set-up proved that the quality of analogue FM transmission with all its imperfections, combined with carefully placed synchronised playback devices (aka radios) spaced throughout the performance area, works perfectly to envelop an audience with sound that offers the intimacy of home listening even in large and acoustically challenging spaces. In this case there was the additional sensation of spatialisation due to variable routing of the source sounds between the three transmitters, allowing tracks to jump around the audience from one bank of radios to another.
Unfortunately the recording of this event was stolen during a subsequent train journey, so this special performance will indeed remain ephemeral. We can however share our radio works that were exhibited in Radiophonic Spaces:
During our residency with Agosto Foundation in Prague the chance came up to take a field trip to the already legendary Sanatorium Dźwięku festival in Sokołowsko in Poland and play a concert as part of it. Eight of us decided to go and experience the very special atmosphere of this rural happening which is documented in a report on the Agosto website.
For our Tonic Train concert we teamed up with Lloyd Dunn and his field recordings as well as a homemade optical synthesizer to play in a trio for the first time. We enjoyed it very much.
Before the concert. Photo: Miloš Vojtěchovský
Knut, Lloyd and Sarah fully concentrated during the concert. Photo: Miloš Vojtěchovský
Relaxed after the concert. Photo: Ken Ganfiled
Instrument table, including Lloyd’s optical synth discs. Photo: Ken Ganfiled
An invitation to Pardubice during our residency in Prague resulted in a trip to this lovely city on the river Elbe with its booming cutural scene including a giant automatic mill which will soon be converted into a museum complex. We played a Tonic Train concert at the City Gallery augmented by a video installation that was responsive to our sounds by Michal Kindernay who also took the photo below.
We played a Tonic Train concert at the Echolot festival for new music at the picturesque Schloss Kempfenhausen on lake Starnberg south of Munich. The invitation came from the festival director and old friend Gunter Pretzel whose clever ploy to programme us after vocalist Golnar Shahyar lead to an improvised trio performance with her at the end of the evening, which evoked imagery of the palace ghost joining in.
A Tonic Train concert for the opening of an exhibition by Julien Maire and Robert Vlasák at GAMU gallery was the first public appearance during our summer residency with the Agosto Foundation. Further concerts during trips to Pardubice and Sokolowkso followed.
The main cimmitment during the two-month residency was Sarah’s Collective Dreaming project which warrants its own, still developing page on our website here.
For the summer semester Knut taught a project module called Radia & Slow Radio – developing and producing experimental radio at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar. Master and Bachelor students who had chosen this class at the chair of Experimental Radio were treated to six all-day seminars, an excursion to sights in Halberstadt and Halle and an after-school pirate radio themed cinema club. The project finished with two radio productions that were broadcast around the world. First was a Radia show called Strata that was constructed from frequency dependent audio layers which the students worked on without knowing each others ideas, but nevertheless came out perfectly fine (“how could this possibly work out like this?” one incredulous student asked).
The second show was a six-hour-long live broadcast based around the idea of slow radio, with all students supplying live feeds of mundane activities throughout the shortest night of the year (see photos below). After the broadcast, which went out on Radio Lotte (Weimar), Radio Orange (Vienna), Soundart Radio (Dartington), Radio Corax (Halle/Saale) and Resonance Extra (London & Brighton), the result was deemed suitable to receive the cut-up treatment by Dieb13’s Schnitzel software and reemerged under the name Cold Cuts as a second emmission for the Radia network.
All in all a great experience to see a diverse mix of talented young media artists pull together as a group to produce two memorable radio events, and along the way hopefully picking up a few insights from the Mobile Radio toolkit.
Late night cake making live on air (photo: Anton Worch)
old school reverb chamber (photo: Johann Mittmann)
pushing a radio cart to the industrial outskirts of town (photo: Konrad Behr)
early morning poetry memorisation (photo: Konrad Behr)
Poster by Jan Glöckner
The chair for Experimental Radio at the Bauhaus-University in Weimar invited us to present some of our artistic work for their public lecture series called Radiogespräche
. We chose the form of telling tales whilst playing audio and video from three of our most ambitious projects so far:
– Clingradio, our weekly 6-hour-show on Resonance FM in London (2002-2003)
– Mobile Radio BSP, nearly 100 days of radio art at the 30th Biennial of São Paulo (2012)
– Dubbelradio, a 24-hour radio art festival made for two FM frequencies in Stockholm (2013)