Guitaristic Cyborx - Pt. 1
Jannis Wichmann (guitar), Katrin Bethge (overhead projections)
Compositions for classical guitar and electronics with overhead projections by the artist Katrin Bethge.
Under the working title "Guitaristic Cyborgs", Jannis Wichmann embarked on a broad research of works for guitar and electronics with a focus on female composers, sifting through over 50 works. As a first result, the concert presents four different female composers and their styles: In the works of Tine Surel Lange, Madelyn Byrne, Eve Beglarian and John Metcalfe, the possibilities of the guitar are expanded through the use of delays, field recordings and live sampling. Visitors can expect a visual and musical dream journey, ranging from minimal music to neoclassical and abstract sound sculptures.
Old Recycling Yard / Alster-Bille-Elbe PARKS
Gefördert von der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Rahmen von NEUSTART KULTUR
Non-public field-recording wrkshop at the Claussen-Simon Foundation scholarship and alumniae meeting.
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As part of "Finn & das unsortierte Orchester" (=the unsorted orchestra) I was on tour all over Germany in 2013. Together with the award-winning writer Finn-Ole Heinrich, we had put together a programme that was everything: reading, concert, installation, performance, saw craft & a pinch of carnival. A programme that went to the legs, that was fun and touching, that tickled ears, eyes and hips, where sweets flew and yet was anything but shallow and light. A programme that got under your skin and hurt in all the right places. Serious and funny. Tragic and comical. Unsorted and tidy.
Now, almost ten years later, after everyone has continued to unsort professionally, it's finally round two. We're in the forest catching bird calls, surrounding the Reuber, practising luffuddern and coming back to civilisation around autumn 23. With new tracks, new programme, as usual unsorted and badly coiffed.
On the album, works by 5 great and partly unknown composers meet recordings of special places and hidden everyday sounds. Each composition is preceded by its own field recording.
The choice of works already provides a wide musical range: From the dream sequences and states of insomnia in Benjamin Britten's Nocturnal. To Frangiz Ali-zade's Fantasy, in which Azerbaijani folk music and Spanish guitar fuse in mutual respect. To the fragile and expressive Méralo by Leni Alexander, to which one can hear that there will be no more beautiful music for her after Ausschwitz. Then the abysmal yet light-footed Tides of a current flowing, in which Vivienne Olive sets a poem by Walt Whitman to music and raises the questions of human existence. Then there is the homage to the Japanese kugo harp by Akira Ifukube, composer of the first Godzilla films, in which Eastern and Western musical traditions once again join hands.
Each composition is introduced - live and on the album - by its own field recording. If you want to know what is behind the sounds and why this assignment was made, please scroll all the way down.
The CD production was financed via a successful crowdfunding.
The CD project was funded by the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung.
Without the support of many different people, this project would not exist. Thanks especially to:
Jana Beckmann, Finn-Ole Heinrich, Gregor Henning and Studio Nord Bremen, Lennart Jäger, Insa Kühlcke-Schmoldt, Marf Mabo, Viola Maiwald, Joël Vuik, Rica Zinn, the supporters and participants of the crowdfunding, the Denkort Bunker Valentin and the MS Stubnitz. Special thanks to the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung and Christian Moritz as well as to Prof. Jens Wagner and Pia Gazarek Offermann for their long-term support.
Field Recordings #Guitar Works
Recorded and produced at Studio Nord Bremen.
Guitar: Jannis Wichmann
Recording/Mix: Lennart Jäger
Mix/Mastering: Gregor Hennig
Graphics: Insa Kühlcke-Schmoldt (Káschem Büro), Photography: Viola Maiwald
Field Recording I:
The Hamburg winter of 2020 was exceptionally cold, so that the canals and tributaries of the Elbe were frozen. At a spot in Wilhelmsburg I experimented with different recording settings and discovered very beautiful sounds that cannot be perceived with the naked ear. Field Recording I was created by placing small, highly sensitive lavalier microphones on the ice plates. Rising wind pushed the ice plates to the shore, causing them to grate and squeak against each other. The wind also swept bushes and wood debris across the ice plates, and a pack of seagulls also contributes to opening the album mysteriously and somewhat sombrely.
Field Recording II:
"Tides of a current flowing" has always been an underwater and night piece for me. The composition refers to a poem by Walt Whitman, where a nocturnal situation is described in which a person, looking into the clouds and stimulated by nature, reflects on the great questions of life. Actually, I was looking for a field recording that takes this theme to a global level and addresses the exploitation of the planet. The current field recording, however, is more like a zoom into the body. We hear an irregular heartbeat and all kinds of water sounds. The recordings were made on a pontoon, with two hydrophones (underwater microphones) and a contact microphone.
Field Recording III:
Akira Ifukube, to whose work "Kugoka" this field recording forms the transition, was not only an extremely successful composer but also a forester. Not only for this reason have I tried to record from the perspective of a tree. "Kugoka" is a tribute to the Kugo harp, which reached Japan many hundreds of years ago, coming from West Asia, and was visited there in a museum of Ifukube. The question that resonates with me when I play the composition has always been: what are we leaving behind for the next generations? This is another reason why this field recording goes back to an adventurous situation with two small-diaphragm microphones in a treetop.
Field Recording IV:
Leni Alexander's music is an absolute break. The music is not meant to be beautiful, it is not meant to be light, it is not meant to entertain. It is meant to shake things up, it seeks confrontation, it makes it clear: after Ausschwitz there can be no more beautiful music. Nevertheless, it can possibly be enjoyed. And in order to understand it as the redemption that new music actually wants to be (or could be?), I tried to find a field recording that demands a lot from the ear. The aim was to record something in which a material is challenged and strained to its limits, sounds that are suffering, exhausting and demanding, that any normal user on Spotify would want to skip immediately. The following Meralo, on the other hand, seems calm, atmospheric and there is room to breathe in the silence between the guitar sounds.
The field recording was made with several contact mics and a geophone at the Landungsbrücken.
Field Recording V:
The field recording was made at the memorial site Bunker Valentin. A brutal, monstrous and seemingly indestructible structure built by the Nazis, who tried to mass-produce submarines there. When I visited the place for the shoot, it had stopped raining outside. Inside, however, it was dripping everywhere on all kinds of surfaces (water, rubble, concrete, earth, metal). For me, "Nocturnal" is a dystopian night piece that depicts nightmarish and sleepless conditions and that finds a very questionable redemption in "heavy sleep".
With the juxtaposition, I would like to formulate a clear stance in addition to many different possible interpretations: Fascism is not an opinion, but a crime.
The website "gitarre-gendern" is a collaborative project initiated by Hannah Lindmaier and me. It focuses on works for classical guitar by female composers and the fact that the teaching and concert canon is still (almost) exclusively composed of male composers.
"gitarre-gendern.de" sees itself as a collaborative work in progress: interested guitarists, guitar teachers and researchers are cordially invited to contribute to the website - in the form of text contributions in the appropriate sections, relevant links and other (networking) ideas.
Feel free to write to:
Hannah Lindmaier has been working as a university assistant at the Institute for Music Pedagogical Research, Music Didactics and Elementary Music Making at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna since 2015 and holds a PhD in instrumental pedagogy. Previously, she taught classical guitar at various music schools in North Rhine-Westphalia and worked as a freelance music journalist for WDR. As a guitarist she is involved in various chamber music projects. She studied instrumental pedagogy and concert guitar as well as musicology in Vienna, Detmold and Cologne.
Sponsored by Claussen-Simon-Stiftung.
Planet Anarres is a collaboration of Marf Mabo (camera/editing), Rica Zinn (sound direction), Gloria Höckner (dance), Jannis Wichmann (guitar) and Paula Linke (costume). Originally invited to a live performance as part of Paula Linke's exhibition "The Cheerleader Effect," the transdisciplinary team developed a film. In it, dependency relationships of organic and technological structures are explored and played with the relationship between body and sound, as well as body and object. The body, technologically expanded by the object/costume, triggers sound events, becoming a hybrid between instrument and actor. Movement and sound merge in a duet with the experimental soundscapes, forming a trio with the camera.
The title of the work refers to Ursula K. Le Guin, the feminist author of the utopian novel planet of the have-nots. In it, she describes an anarchistic, non-patriarchal society on the barren planet of Anarres and its capitalist counterpart on its sister planet, Urras. The naturalistic, almost naive poem "Whispers of heavenly death" by Walt Whitman, the composition for guitar "Tides of a current flowing" by Vivienne Olive inspired by it and the water mill Trittau as the setting of a past century become the background against which the collaborators open up common aesthetic spaces.
CN / Trigger Warning: sexualized violence
Through the "Was zählt!" fund for artists of the Claussen-Simon-Foundation, I received the opportunity, together with soprano Marie Sophie Richter, to spend several months researching the conception of a "critical song recital". "Critical" refers to the content often transported in our repertoire: sexist formulations, nationalism, antiziganism and many other transgressive and discriminatory formulations or contexts are conveyed in the performance. As performers, we are and have always been faced with the challenge of interpreting works on stage with whose context we cannot identify.
In the course of the research we decided to have a song by John Dowland, which in our eyes is particularly problematic, set to music. The text more or less clearly describes a rape scene, the music to it is rather upbeat and light. The American composer Kimberley Osberg set the scene to music in such a way that the music does not take the perspective of the perpetrator, but of the woman affected.
Our concert program is currently in progress and is expected to be performed in late 2021.
A post about our commission with Kimberley Osberg has appeared on her blog, it describes in great detail her compositional techniques and the result:
A report on our research project has been published on the website of the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung: claussen-simon-stiftung.de/de/blog/das-lied-kann-ja-nichts-dafuer
Sponsored by the Claussen-Simon-Stiftung.
With multimedia artist and musician Rica Zinn, I launched "That Dazzling Light" in February 2020, a concert format of light and sound, live visuals and concert guitar.
Rica Zinn programs patches that react independently to audio signals. Thus, pixel clouds are stimulated by the frequencies of the music and begin to move in swirls to the music. Distortions, glitches and analog video aesthetics meet sophisticated, expressive and virtuosic guitar music.
A first interim was funded by the Kulturstiftung Hamburg within the framework of "Kunst kennt keinen Shutdown" .
On the debut album "Konfrontation" the title is program. Four very different works confront each other in strong contrasts and span a wide arc around the musical globe of the 20th century. At the center of the album is "Konfrontation" by Wolfgang Bartsch - in the titular work for prepared guitar, bell-like sound worlds and percussive, nasal rhythms collide. But the clash is also already inherent in the other works: Impressionism meets Mexican folklore (Sonata III), Anatolian music resounds through the filter of a Western instrument and composer (Koyunbaba), the cathedral in Montevideo and the hustle and bustle of the city are contrasted as opposing inspirations (Catedral).
Between the guitar works, one can listen to recordings of a Moroccan trip, which are both resting points and transitions between the compositions: a fountain full of frogs near a harvest festival, singing canaries on a busy main street, improvising street musicians in Casablanca, and the breaking waves at the Hassan II. Mosque.
"Konfrontation" was released in 2019 by Aliso Records (Bremen).
Wolfgang Bartsch - Konfrontation
Carlo Domeniconi - Koyunbaba
Manuel M. Ponce - Sonate III
"A life in search of love and on the run from loneliness. Kerassa is 17 years old when a marriage takes its course, beginning with a kidnapping and ending in a psychiatric hospital. Despite everything, the longing remains: To find someone and not be alone. "
For the documentary "Drama" by Viola Maiwald, Felix Burchardt & Malte Radtki I composed and produced the music in winter 2017/18.
With deep basses, pearly arpeggios and shimmering flagolettes, the guitar music traces Kerassa's memories. Somewhere between reality and dream, departure and end, abyss and confidence. To get closer to the images and Kerassa's special voice and her story, the guitar strings were partially retuned. This is how the opening chord was created - a sound without bottom, floating, accusing and almost like a cry for help.
"Drama" was selected for the 2018 Lumix Festival, won the Audience Award at the 13° Festival, and received Bronze at the 73rd College Photographer of the Year in the Multimedia Group Story or Essay category.
In 2013, Mairisch Verlag published the audio book of Finn-Ole Heinrich's coming-of-age novel "Räuberhände". Finn Ole Heinrich's engaging voice and the broken, "dirty" soundtrack by me form a captivating unity. The material of the music are field recordings, electronic sounds and alienated instruments.
"In his clear, very own language, Finn-Ole Heinrich describes the difficult time of growing up as the story of a great search: for what constitutes friendship, for love, for home, for security and identity. The narrator takes us on a journey that sometimes hurts, but always touches" (Mairisch Verlag).
"A great listening experience, thanks to Finn-Ole Heinrich's excellent performance and virtuoso music and sound accompaniment!" - NDR Kulturtipp
Finn-Ole Heinrich wraps all this up in a simple narrative tone. Only gradually do the connections become clear. The music, sometimes just a note or a noise, provides the fitting soundtrack to this life that is somehow on a quest. " - SWR 2