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Hug, Charlotte

Slipway to Galaxies (Solo Viola & Voice)

Hug, Charlotte: Slipway to Galaxies (Solo Viola & Voice) (Emanem)

An intensely personal journey, Charlotte Hug uses extended vocal techniques and an unusual language on the viola, creating an exceptional and unique improvisatory sound world.

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product information:

Printed innser sleeve and 12 page booklet with photos and text in English and German.

UPC: 5030243501823

Label: Emanem
Catalog ID: 5018
Squidco Product Code: 14945

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2011
Country: Great Britain
Packaging: Cardstock 3 page foldover
Digital audio recordings with Soundfield microphone by Charlotte Hug at the studio of Swiss radio DRS Zurich on July 15th and 16th, 2010.


Charlotte Hug-viola, voice

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Artist Biographies:

"Charlotte Hug: musician (viola & voice), composer, teacher, media artist, visual artist,

Hug´s innovative musical-visual solo performances in distinctive locations and her interdisciplinary work have created an international furore. She has played in locations such as the tunnels of the Rhône glacier, the House of Detention, an underground former prison in London, a half-demolished bunker in Humboldthain Berlin, the hot healing springs in the spa town of Baden and the dockyard in Coph on the Irish Atlantic coast.

This musician of the extreme is constantly pushing the boundaries of her instrument and has reinvented the viola - and this with an instrument built by the Viennese violin maker J.G Thir in 1763 . She has developed a number of techniques, including the "soft bow technique", which enables her to play up to eight voices. Hug´s speciality is also a blend of viola and vocals, which has given rise to her distinctive tonal language.

In the visual arena, as well as in a musical context, Hug´s sound-drawings "Son-Icons" have found international recognition. These she has used to develop her own compositional method. Hence her spatial and video-scores ranging from solo pieces to orchestra works, such as the orchestral work "Nachtplasmen" for Son-Icons and video-score, which was premiered with the Lucerne Festival Academy in 2011. She has had solo exhibitions at venues such as Swissnex San Francisco, the Sirius Arts Centre Cobh, Cork in Ireland and the Museum of Art Lucerne.

Hug is also fully active as a concert performer, soloist, composer and conductor of her own works at major festivals inEurope, North America, Latin America and Canada, such as Tage für Neue Musik Zurich, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Berliner Festspiele MaerzMusik, San Francisco International Arts Festival. Her extensive discography, including three solo CDs, as well as improvised music from international collaborations is distributed worldwide by important labels.

There are collaborations with international greats, such as the photographer and film maker Alberto Venzago, the theatre and opera director Jossie Wieler, concerts with artists such as Joan Jeanrenaud from the Kronos Quartet, Maggie Nicols, Barry Guy, Phil Minton, Larry Ochs, Evan Parker, Elliott Sharp, etc.

Hug gives master classes in improvisation and "instant composing". She also gives lectures and performance lectures in the field of "Transdisciplinarity in the Arts". She is a visiting professor at several universities and art academies including McGill University Montreal, CNMAT of the University of California Berkeley and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since 2008 she has held the post of lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts in interdisciplinary studies.

Hug lives in Zurich and on the road. Having completed her studies in fine arts and music, she received various awards and composition commissions, from organisations such as Pro Helvetia, Lucerne Festival, etc. She has been "artist in residence" in London, Paris, Cork 2005 Capital of Culture, and in Berlin. In 2006 she was awarded the city of Zurich prize for composition. In 2011 she was "artiste étoile" at the Lucerne Festival."

-Charlotte Hug Website (

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track listing:

1. anderwelten 12:12

2. buzz & fly 5:24

3. intersect 5:23

4. holy ground 4:57

5. exhilartion 8:49

6. atman 5:15

7. cyclic 9:02

8. slipway to galaxies 14:00
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"The viola rings true. Charlotte Hug's intense interaction with Celtic myth also rings true. Swiftly and deftly her fingers and bow flit over the strings - not always but often very quickly - similarly ringing true. Yet Charlotte Hug is not a folklorist and does not quote from Celtic or Irish folk music.

Transition - that is the key concept, under which this music may be conceived. Transition: of the Celtic voice techniques which Charlotte Hug studied and learned at their source, in the timbre of her own voice; of the exploration and inspiration of old myths within abstract art. For she is not simply a story-teller and has no wish to be. As intangible as the associations that arise, spring forth and flow on hearing her music, so the end result of her music is heard and experienced as independent and entirely detached from any kind of external musical connotations and context.

Charlotte Hug has returned again and again to sound research and has developed new playing techniques such as the soft bow and the wet bow for her viola. She has learned various voice techniques and, through a combination and modification of these, she has found her own unique voice. She has experimented with Live-Electronics and carried these experiences over into pure acoustic playing. She is seeking to reveal the hidden qualities of basic sound. These are ostensibly simply technical details. But they are driven by musical ideas. When making music, the unusual locations, such as an abandoned harbour, an old damp prison, or the Rhône glacier, serve as catalysts, or occasionally furnish concrete changes, such as the damp or the cold. Close listening is, for her as a musician, a process of musical thinking, in which the detail is played and responded to. But above all it is the changes which fascinate Charlotte Hug, whether in nature or in culture, in locations, in history or in art, in music, as in her drawings. Her music changes constantly. She is like a glancing river, changing her colour or her intensity, not always dramatically, often by nuances. Then again, she creates sharp contrasts of sound, moves back and forth between extremes, with ebb and flow - between pure tone and sound: one hears perhaps a sound wrap or a continuous transition of compressed or tonally pure sounds, extending into a diffused, fragile rustling, often multiple, multi-vocal - even more so when her voice enters the work.

Even the genesis of the music relies on change. It emerges in the changes of media used by Charlotte Hug: viola and voice on the one hand, graphite pencil and semi-transparent paper on the other. Up to now she has usually first improvised, then drawn while listening to recordings of her improvisations, and then has used these drawings (the Son-Icons, as they have been so aptly termed) as flexible graphic scores and as new stimuli for improvisation. Now she has changed the process of creating the Son-Icons. She has brought the music and graphic elements even closer together, by presenting her improvisation of viola and voice, while also improvising in her drawing. The transformation of sound into image takes place simultaneously, while the drawing - the visual picture as well as the haptic movement and gesture - simultaneously transforms, transmutes and alters the musical, even if in this case it is 'only' to inspire and continue the performance in question. Transformation, therefore, in the work of Charlotte Hug, signifies not a simple or clear-cut shift or transfer from one medium into another - or even the expressive visualisation of sounds. The media are much more tightly interlocked. Charlotte Hug develops the same artistic idea in each of the media. Drawing and music-making are each at the same time catalysts, each one the horizon of experience for the other artistic medium."-Nina Polaschegg, from the liner notes

Printed innser sleeve and 12 page booklet with photos and text in English and German.
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms
EMANEM & psi
Unusual Vocal Forms
Stringed Instruments

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