Fred Frith in Madrid. Improvisation in Free Improvisation
In the art nouveau Manuel de Falla hall of the Langoria Palace in Madrid (headquarters of the Spanish Society of Authors), Fred Frith was awaited with enthusiasm. It was necessary to be there to hear and see the master of Free Improvisation.
The singular aesthetics of the hall, inconsistent with the strength and sobriety of Frith’s sound, was not adequate. Nor did the lack of enthusiasm with which the event was organized help: Lighting?, what for. Staging?: no need, the important thing is listening. Statics noises?, it doesn’t matter, it’s avant-garde music!; checking the equipment connections?, with wireless connection and the tablet, it’s not necessary.
Fred Frith could not concentrate on his improvisation because “the other improvisation”, the one in the hall, prevented him from hearing himself clearly. The sound of Manuel Borrás (piano) and Jordi Pallarés (electronics and percussion) dominated much of the concert until the technical problems were solved. On two occasions, Frith had to leave the stage because he could not be heard on the monitor. Despite the good work and commitment, the overwhelming repertoire of artistic resources, the surprising ways of interpreting the guitar and good moments of communication between musicians and audience, the concert was a bit frustrating. There were many distractions for a type of music in which careful attention is indispensable. For Improvisation to bear its best fruit, it requires rigor and meticulousness in the environment that makes it possible: the technical aspects, the acoustics of the hall and a staging that aids concentration of the audience and the musicians.
FRED FRITH MASTERCLASS & CONCERT
Manuel de Falla Hall. SGAE, October 19, 2021
[ October 22, 2021 ]
The place where you don't expect it. Reflections on "Winterreise"
THE CRYSTAL OF THE SNOWFLAKES
The title of the recital offered by Clara de Asís on September 29th in the auditorium of the CentroCentro in Madrid is disturbing: The Place Where One Does Not Wait, a place without waiting or hope, where time, mitigated, barely passes, crystallized time, time in a state of hibernation. We hear a slight and fragile sound that in long intervals barely evolves with the addition of another thin sound layer that does not cancel the previous one and that, somehow, remains under the audible threshold. A fascinating effect of virtual simultaneity of sound materials that do not cease, they just stop being heard. Each sound transformation manifests itself as the permanent trace of a forgotten sound that we thought we heard with difficulty.
This fragile musical structure is altered on two occasions: the first, with a clumsy sound effect of water or stream (a sort of thawing), which breaks the balance; and, the second, an electronic distortion, which we believe to be unforeseen, after which, and after a necessary silence, the delicate molecular structure of Winterreise is built again.
Music that, requiring great concentration, needs a climate of intimacy that the auditorium of the CentroCentro (designed primarily for listening) does not provide, both because of the ostentatiousness of the space and the presence of a heterogeneous audience that, in some cases, uninformed about the difficulty of this music, leaves the hall before the end of the concert.
Giving a form to the staging, with a lighting design that directs the gaze or some scenic element that organizes the space, is fundamental to correct the disadvantages of an unfavorable hall or auditorium. Often, non-intervention in the staging, although conceptually neutral, is counterproductive. The mere presence of Clare of Assisi, motionless in the middle of the stage of the clumsily lit auditorium, seated at a table covered by a black cloth, is disappointing: it distracts and negatively conditions the reception of a work that is difficult to listen to. It is possible that the lack of intervention in the staging would not be necessary in an art gallery or in a well-designed small space, where the reception conditions have already been foreseen. But, in this unfriendly auditorium, the design of a staging that concentrates the gaze of the listener, who is also a spectator, becomes essential.
Nor does the inclusion of poems projected in the background on a large screen help much in listening. The reading of these poems disconcerts the listening because they demand a cadence and understanding very different from that of the music. The programmatic "24 sound micro-sections distributed in 8 moments" that are introduced by the poems are, in my opinion, something accessory and incongruent with the perception of a work that is offered as a unit. If perhaps they had an essential importance in the composition of the work, I think they should have been discarded in the performance, and, eventually, recovered after the audition, in a later moment of reflection on the work.
[ October 5, 2021 ]
[ January 9, 2021 ]
FREE IMPROVISATION WITH LUIS LAMADRID
An interview for LACARNE MAGAZINE by Javier G. Entonado
[ August 2, 2021 ]
Jonas Mekas: Canned Improvisation
Jonas Mekas' films are an exercise in time-delayed impopovisation: a first time, the moment of filming, which is literally preserved in a can; and a second time, the moment of the assembly, in which the philological writing is elaborated as a collage of the previous improvisations, according to the expressive demands of a particular work, which is improvised.
However, his videos, due to the very nature of the medium, are one shot improvisations, a collage in which all decisions are taken in real time, in an instinctive way.
Although Mekas films are more succesfull than his videos (Diaries), and the author complains in the desert: everyone asks him about his 16 mm. films and nobody for his videos; Mekas' work is understood in a the dialectical way, agonizing perhaps, between two opposite media, cinema and video, in relation to time. Cinema, canned art, creates a time out of time, a time that preserves. The video, art of live experience, the time that consumes the moment. Cinema and video, memory and its destruction: the unquestionable metaphysical work of Jonas Mekas.
[ November 4, 2019 ]
Visionary Sounds. Eli Gras Interview.
Fragment from the documentary film “Visionary Sounds” by Pablo López Jordán, 2012, directed by Luis Lamadrid.
Visionary Sounds is a documentary film about the future of music. It is composed by six interviews in which music and sound artists reveal their in-depth knowledge about the subject. Every interview is illustrated by a different video-artist, all of them giving their personal point of view, foreseeing the evolution of sound, music and art.
Interviews: Antye Greie (De), Francisco López (ES), McCloud Zicmuse (USA), Makoto Kawabata (JP), Sonic Manipulator (AUS), Eli Gras (ES).
Video Artists: Matthias Fritsch (DE), Pablo López Jordán (ES), Ian Henderson (UK), Paolo Bernardi (IT), Luis Lamadrid (ES).
Directed by Pablo López Jordán. ARTANDCHOKE 2012.
Language: English/Spanish (english subtitles).
Film documentary 52 min.
[ July 17, 2018 ]