“Studio Manoeuvres”_2019

On 18 March 2019 a rather unusual recording session took place utilising three studios of the Institute of Sonology (Royal Conservatory of the Hague). Two four-piece improvising ensembles were placed in studios BEA 7 and BEA 6 with their signals being sent to studio BEA 5. The third studio (BEA 5) functioned as the “control room” where I was responsible for recording and mixing in real-time. Instead of just letting them improvise freely, I decided to create a score for conducted improvisation in which some aspects were left open to the choices of the performers and conductors. Each of the ensembles had no idea of what the other was playing during the recording session. This setup allowed me to create a fixed structure where some of its internal characteristics would be shaped in real-time and thus be different every time the score would be performed. The material and the structural ideas deriving from this “improvisation” between the three studios were eventually used to compose these two pieces.

Part I: “Colliding Takes”

After assessing the material, the different recorded performances of the ensembles were approached as “building blocks” for composition. For Colliding Takes, I used a “montage” technique where some of these blocks were remixed, slightly transformed and recombined to create a new imaginary recorded performance – a new composition. Some sections of the piece were constructed by merging parts which were performed at different moments, while other sections comprised what the two isolated ensembles had played in real-time during the recording session. It is important to mention that the way I worked for this piece was heavily influenced by the early experiments in the field of pop, rock or jazz music where a piece could be created by combining recorded performances in the post-production process.

Part II: “Tape Ornaments”

Being fascinated by the ways in which some experimental rock musicians were using the recording studio as a tool for composition during the late 1960s, my intention for this piece was to explore creatively certain production techniques which were used in the field of experimental rock. Using again material from the recording session with the ensembles, I followed an improvisational way of working in the analogue studio to realise my musical ideas. Techniques like playback speed alteration, sound-on-sound recording, creation of virtual space, creative editing and abrupt splicing were extensively explored.

Recording, editing and mixing took place in the Institute of Sonology, Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, NL between March and June 2019.

Musicians: Laura Agnusdei (saxophone), James Alexandropoulos-McEwan (el.guitar), Alexandre Coulon (drums/percussion), Orestis Zafeiriou (el.bass), Tony Guarino (vibraphone), Annick Odom (double bass), Irene Ruipérez Canales (flute) and Hilde Wollenstein (clarinet).

Conductors: Hibiki Mukai and Lauge Dideriksen.

Technical support: Marko Uzunovski and Chris Loupis.

Realisation/Composition/Recording/Mixing/Production: Yannis Patoukas.