Summary: A research project by Knut Vaage and John Ehde
The aim of this project was to develop new scores and expressions through dialogue between performer and composer. Instrumental means were investigated by mixing composition and improvisation with hybrid acoustic/electronic sounds.
Experiments with extended instrumental playing techniques led to a set of “etudes of improvisation”. They imposed a methodological restriction improvising strictly around one element at a time. This led to the development of a set of expressive sounds and compound sound patterns. These improvisational etudes gradually became a common language, allowing the musicians to make synchronized choices and spontaneous compositions whilst performing. The most interesting and useful expressions were recorded and added to a data base of hybrid sounds containing a wide spectrum of sound material. The aim was to reach a new level of expressivity.
With the resultant material, they developed new scores and expressions on a step-by-step basis through a close dialogue. Video recordings of improvised sessions were made and analysed; the best material was preserved and moved to the next level of expression. From solo cello etudes and pieces, different formats were added, such as duo, trio, and ensemble. Their process was opened up to include intersubjective exchanges with sound artists and other musicians, from both outside and inside the research group. The same method was applied in these exchanges.
By adding the use of hybrid acoustic/electronic sounds, improvisation, and visual media, they assembled a broad collection of playing techniques suitable for their needs. This material was systematically developed into different formats. In the end they invited the BIT20 Ensemble to make a multi-media concert with sound and video artists for sinfonietta and solo cello. There was blend of acoustic sounds, electronics, lighting, laser and video, creating a “Hybrid Spectacle”.