14 December: Structural Faults
We Shall Run (1963)
Perseus Slays The Gorgon Medusa (2014)
Heave To (2006)
Opus 17a (1984)
Slapstick n°1: the preventer (2017)
(world premiere) (LCMF commission)
An Assembly (Rainer)
Apartment House (Steeneberge)
Otto Wilberg (Darboven)
All good music — most good music — is structural. But only some actively exploits the basic building blocks, the bricks and mortar, of sound and chooses to serve it up for the main course. The Judson Church choreographers like Yvonne Rainer were adamant that bricks and mortar could be the main course. That interest could spring forth from an investigation of the everyday. In Rainer's early conceptual dance work, We Shall Run (1963), we follow a group jog, splintering and commingling, commingling and splintering, while storm-clouds gather, speakers blasting out Berlioz's Grande Messe des morts.
Myths are structural — heroes are coded to fall; gods to be avenged. Boil them down and crystalline patterns emerge. Laura Steenberge's ingenious Perseus Slays the Gorgon Medusa (2014), in which the ancient tale is reduced to beautiful bare bones, is a wonder of compression and clever cross-stitching. Apartment House will give its UK premiere.
Hanne Darboven's obsessive Opus 17a (1984) appears completely implacable. Bach for the AI age. But the endless, oceanic flow, wave upon wave of defective arpeggiation, creates something deeply unnerving and startlingly nihilistic. Before this Ambika P3 is flooded with the sounds of the planet’s own structural faultlines. Olivia Block's eruptive field recordings of the volcanoes of Hawaii feed into the extraordinary acousmatic composition Heave To (2006), which will receive its first outing in concert in the UK.
And to end the second half, literal structures, literally toppling. In Italian artist Jacopo Belloni‘s Slapstick n°1: the preventer (2017), the stage is set for an nerve-shredding farce, an elaborate and impossible traversal that we can see — and all know — is doomed to fail.
The cat-and-mouse game that is unleashed in so much of this structural work — patterns trying to hold off a descent into perversion — is intrinsic to the improvisations of Sofia Jernberg, whose ravishing voice will disintegrate into gravel over the course of a work, and back, as the physics of the throat gives in to the realities of the air. Jernberg will be presenting a new improvised composition specially for this night.
To end, the world premiere of an LCMF commission by computer music pioneer Mark Fell. If the commonplace structure of electronic music is a regular pulse, the heartbeat of the club, then Fell represents its most radical and intense rhythmic exploration. Using algorithmic processes and a crisp, angular sound palette, Fell’s signature sound is pushed to a logical extreme, at once unpredictable, yet engrossing, hypnotic, almost meditative.