Composer Ryoko Akama releases a 2 disc set of 23 scores in the crossroads of minimalism and sound compositions, quiet and loud, performed in a sextet with the composer herself plus Christian Muller, Cristian Alvear, Cyril Bondi, Stefan Thut, and d'incise, each section like a page in a notebook related to place, space, time or location.
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Label: Another Timbre
Catalog ID: at110x2
Squidco Product Code: 24078
Format: 2 CDs
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold 3 Panels
Ryoko Akama-performer, composer
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1. #1 1:09
2. #2 0:15
3. #3 3:09
4. #4 0:17
5. #5 7:07
6. #6 1:13
7. #7 2:02
8. #8 3:04
9. #9 9:23
10. #10 3:28
11. #11 6:56
12. #12 2:32
13. #13 0:05
14. #14 2:22
15. #15 0:42
16. #16 3:02
17. #17 5:52
18. #18 0:59
19. #19 8:39
20. #20 5:37
21. #21 4:47
22. #22 1:12
23. #23 5:39
1. #24 2:34
2. #25 0:51
3. #26 12:07
4. #27 2:57
5. #28 8:24
6. #29 1:35
7. #31 5:03
8. #32 2:09
9. #33 3:59
10. #34 8:49
11. #36 0:28
12. #38 3:11
13. #39 0:54
14. #40 3:23
15. #41 2:23
16. #43 3:01
17. #44 1:38
18. #45 1:47
19. #46 2:52
20. #47 4:08
21. #49 0:54
22. #50 6:25
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sample the album:
"I don't ever think that I create only quiet and beautiful sound occurrences. My performances vary from 'almost nothing' to 'full of junk noises'. Every situation composes and constructs a unique result. Almost every time things go differently from how I envisaged. I like to be surprised. I continue to experiment with sounding objects in 'almost nothing' aesthetics with diverse approaches. This places and pages album is the outcome of six performers getting together. What I like about the album is that I can't distinguish who made which sound any more. Our participation is here, there and everywhere. We experienced places and pages in each moment of performing and will experience it differently in each moment of listening. We would never be able to re-make the same realisations. And our experiences will never be the same each time we listen to the CD either. This is the beauty of places and pages."-Ryoko Akama
Interview with Ryoko Akama
How did the 'places and pages' project come about, and what is your particular interest in short text scores?
I had been inspired by short text works like 'Water Yam' by George Brecht, 'grapefruits' by Yoko Ono, and some other pieces by Alison Knowles or James Tenney. I am also interested in the haiku and the poetry tradition of Japan as well.
The threshold between the defined and undefined in minimalistic word and sound composition fascinates me. I enjoy witnessing the process whereby a score transforms into a different medium, especially when the instructions are open-ended.
I did a series of scores called tada no score between 2013-14 in which I wrote short scores in hidden places in busy towns or in a natural landscape. These weren't explicitly made for performance purposes, but were more like marking my musical thoughts in relation to passing time. The next year, 2015, I was invited to Chile to play a concert with Cristian Alvear. I had an idea to compile a notebook with many short texts, this time deliberately intended for performance. I gradually accumulated a number of short scores that would relate to 'place', 'space', 'time' or 'location', and assembled them into pages of the notebook.
When did you produce the actualisations, and in what context?
places and pages # 4 was performed by Cristian and me at the Tsonami Festival (Valparaiso, winter 2015). It was a pleasant concert but I felt that the standpoint of the score needed to be developed further and dealt with in a different context than a concert situation. I wanted these instructions to be worked upon in connection with the place of performance, making them more site specific, and taking the particular location into account while actualising them. Then we contacted d'incise to suggest a sextet residency in Geneva, inviting musicians who we had performed with a little in the past.
The collaborating musicians obviously make major contributions to the project. Did you oversee what they were doing with the scores, or did you leave them free to interpret the texts however they thought fit?
Cristian and I had aimed to maintain a diversity when choosing the members of the sextet. Apart from that, nothing was overseen in advance of our meeting in Geneva. We had a lot of friendly conversations but never predetermined in detail what we would do with score realisations. We merely continued performing and performing every day. I recently wrote an article for a Polish magazine called glissando with series of interviews with them that explains how naturally the recordings were carried out throughout. These ten days were tender and miraculous. Read the glissando article here
'Miraculous', yes. From the first time I heard the recordings I felt that the music has a wonderful sense of mystery and unpredictability. Is that something you were consciously looking for, or was it simply an effect of the way the actualisations were produced?
The results came as a great surprise to all of us. Day by day, we went to different places to perform, sometimes outside into the city and other times in the INSUB studio. We experimented with different instrumentations that stimulated and motivated our performance procedure. It was remarkable because we just played and each recording came out really unique and different from the others. We naturally acknowledged and accepted these short scores and each other's musical attitudes. These kind of experimental scores could end up as a disaster and be really tiresome, especially when the performers can't connect to one another or don't trust each other. Fortunately, we progressed together and worked things out fairly simply. I don't find conceptuality, theatricality or artificiality in our actualisations at all. I feel that we concentrated and dealt with 'how to' and 'what if' very well. When something wasn't really right, another suggestion promptly appeared and we immediately tried it out. Alongs with nice food and coffee, we had great fun playing together.
Most of the music you have produced in recent years has been both quiet and beautiful in a Wandelweiser-ish way, but some of the 'places and pages' pieces are loud, and some use ugly sounds. Does this constitute a change of direction in your work?
I don't ever think that I create only quiet and beautiful sound occurrences. My performances vary from 'almost nothing' to 'full of junk noises'. Every situation composes and constructs a unique result. Almost every time things go differently from how I envisaged. I like to be surprised. I continue to experiment with sounding objects in 'almost nothing' aesthetics with diverse approaches.
This places and pages album is the outcome of six performers getting together. What I like about the album is that I can't distinguish who made which sound any more. Our participation is here, there and everywhere.
We experienced places and pages in each moment of performing and will experience it differently in each moment of listening. We would never be able to re-make the same realisations. And our experiences will never be the same each time we listen to the CD either. This is the beauty of places and pages.
"The Another Timbre label has been on quite a creative and successful roll lately and the newest batch of five releases continues that happy trend. My favourite of the bunch might be Ryoko Akama's 'places and pages', a 2-disc set of 45 actualizations of her scores that maintains an amazing level of variety and imagination over its course, endlessly surprising and enthralling."
"The place could be an empty room; a quiet street corner; a fountain or waterfall; a huge echoey space. The sounds: reverberant cracks, lush organ drone, quiet whoosh of distant traffic, tapping and banging, whistles and squeaks, accordion chords, low, rough gurgling, high-pitched whining, fast chirruping, guitar and clarinet notes, footsteps and voices, ringing like an old telephone, ringing like a fire alarm. The durations: from three seconds to around 12 minutes. The volume: mostly quiet, with some crescendos and diminuendos, and some bolder amplitudes here and there.
The structure of Ryoko Akama's "places and pages", consisting as it does of a large number of mostly short, seemingly unrelated pieces, suggests a collection of scribbled notes and brief jottings accumulated over time. An interview with the composer on the Another Timbre label website sets the record straight: the text scores behind each piece were each carefully developed and thought through with performance in mind. Reassembled here are the crew who performed Taku Sugimoto's 'mada' so beautifully - Akama, Cristián Alvear, d'incise, and Cyril Bondi - with the addition of Christian Müller and Stefan Thut. Together they perform the pieces with the sort of balance between sensitive openness and calm precision I've come to expect from these musicians.
There is some wonderful music here: at the moment I'm especially taken by the unhurried two-note pattern of 'places and pages 11', the rough minor-key tonality of 'places and pages 24', and the rushing of water and distant voices of 'places and pages 32'. "-Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio
• Show Bio for Christian Muller
"Christian Müller, born in 1971 near Basel, Switzerland, is clarinettist and electronic-musician. He completed his classical studies at the Conservatory for Music & Theater Berne in 1996 with a teacher's diploma and in 1998 with a Reifediplom (Master).
During the last fifteen years Christian Müller worked mainly as improvising electronic-musician, electro-acoustic bass-clarinettist and composer with a conceptual approach. He realized numerous works with the duo strøm (with Gaudenz Badrutt, electronics, since 2000) and also in national and international projects. As member of strøm and as a solo musician he created several sound installations and audiovisual pieces and also worked in multimedia-based contexts with dancers and performers. Since 2010 he works with the writer Regina Dürig as Butterland, an interdisciplinary project that combines text and sound. Furthermore he works continously in various contexts and in various bands like DEER, IMO, Convulsif or Infest.
He collaborates and has collaborated in diverse constallations for concerts and multimedia-based works, a. o. with the musicians Martin Schütz, Hans Koch, Tomas Korber, Diatribes, Jonas Kocher, Burkhard Beins, Clayton Thomas, Oren Ambarchi, Bertrand Gauguet, Michel Doneda, Flo Götte, Norbert Möslang, Günter Müller, FM Einheit, toktek, Simon Berz, Nicole Johänntgen, Peter Conradin Zumthor, Lionel Friedli, Lê Ninh Quan, Mitsuaki Matsumoto, Strotter Inst., dieb13, Susanna Gartmayer, Patricia Bosshard, Loïc Grobéty, Yan Jun, Yan Yulong, Cristián Alvear, Sergio Merce, Loenel Kaplan, Federico Barabino, Fernando Perales...
Solo and as member of Strøm, DEER and Convulsif he toured through northern, central and Eastern Europe, China, Chile and Argentina.
He was invited to play at serveral festivals a.o. at Spinafest St.Petersburg 2016, Festival Les Nuits du Beau Tas Bruxelles 2016, Zasavje Noisefest International Trbovlje 2016, "Drei Tage Strom" (IGNM & Musikpodium) Zürich 2015, IOIC-MARATHON 2015, Neue Musik Markt Bern 2015, Akouphène Genf 2014, Sonic Mountains - Swiss Noise & Sound Culture Bern 2014, Noches de los Muertos Wien 2012, Remake Belgrad 2012, "Zwei Tage Zeit" (IGNM ZH, WIM & Musikpodium) Zürich 2012, IOIC-MARATHON 2012, 'Lange Nacht der elektronischen Musik' (Dampfzentrale Bern) 2011, Transmediale Berlin 2009, Zoom-In Bern 2008, Rue du Nord Lausanne 2008, Schweizer Tonkünstlerfest Zürich 2007, Taktlos/Tonart Bern 2006, Norberg Festival (Schweden) 2006, Ear We Are Biel 1999 & 2001.
As Member of the IOIC-Impro-Collective he was 2012 on tour in China and 2013 guest in the supporting program of Art Basel, Hongkong.
Since 2002 he composes regularly music for theater/dance productions a. o. for the Vienna based compagnie NadaProductions ("WAR" & "Dance & Resistance") and in the team of the director Barbara-David Brüesch at Staatstheater Stuttgart (D), Schauspielhaus Wien (A), Staatsschauspiel Dresden (D), Staatstheater Mainz (D), Schauspielhaus Graz (A), Stadttheater Bern (CH), Basler Theater (CH), Theaterhaus Gessnerallee Zürich (CH).
He has collaborated with non-musical-artists (performancers, dancers, authors, visual artists) like Daniel Zimmermann, Amanda Piña, Alexandra Mabes, Nicolás Spencer, Haus am Gern, Verena Lafargue, Katharina Vogel, Heike Fiedler, Philipp Boë ...
Several grants, residencies & prices, a.o. 2015 a residency for composition by STV/ASM in Casa Pantrova Carona, 2015 residency with Butterland in Halka Art Projekt Istanbul, 2016 & 2013 residency with Butterland in herhusid in Siglufjördur Iceland, 2014 "Childhood Stories" by Butterland wins the prize of the jury for the best experimental piece at sonOhr Hörfestival, 2010 commission for composition "Musik & Tanz" by Pro Helvetia, 2009 grant for composition by SSA, 2006 residency with Strøm on Lofoten Islands, 2004 with Strøm first price at the concours de reding by STV, 2002 reward 'coup de coeur' by the committee for music of the kanton bern.
Several substantial financial supports by the city of biel and the kanton of bern for works by as solo musician, by Strøm and by Butterland. Several financial supports by Pro Helvetia for tours and concerts as solo musician, the duo Btterland and for his bands Strøm, DEER and Convulsif.
Additionally to his music, Christian Müller regularly organizes concerts and festivals, among them the festival Ear We Are, an international festival for improvised music in Biel, Switzerland. He also curates the label deszpot, a place for outer limits and experimental works.
Christian Müller lives as a freelance musician in Biel, Switzerland."-Christian Muller Website (http://www.christianmueller.me/biography.html)
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• Show Bio for Cristian Alvear
Chilean musician dedicated to the performance, premiere and recording of new music. He serves as co-curator of the Experimental Music Festival Relincha, in Valdivia, Chile.
Since the beginning of his career he has been constantly performing in the main auditoriums and concert halls of his country, as well as international festivals and concert venues. In recent years he has concentrated its efforts in performing educational concerts in rural areas of the Los Lagos region, in Southern Chile.
His work has been published by edition wandelweiser records (germany), irritable hedgehog (usa), cathnor (uk), rhizome.S (france), potlatch (france), 1000fssler (germany), lengua de lava (mexico), caduc (canada), melange editions (japan), b-boim records (austria) and erstclass (usa)."-Cristian Alvear Website (http://www.cristianalvear.com/p/bioeng.html)
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• Show Bio for Ryoko Akama
"Ryoko Akama was born in 1976 in Japan, and currently lives in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. She is a member of The Lappetites, Rolex2$, Syth;s. She is a sound artist/composer/performer, who approaches listening situations that magnify silence, time and space and offer quiet temporal/spatial experiences. Her sound works are connected to literature, fine art and technology, and employ small and fragile objects such as paper balloons and glass bottles, creating tiny occurrences that embody 'almost nothing' aesthetics. She composes text events and performs a diversity of alternative scores in collaboration with international artists. Her works and projects have been funded by Arts Council England, Japan Society, Daiwa-Anglo Foundation, University of Huddersfield, Kirklees Council, Pro Helvetia and more.
She is also active as a curator: collaborates with festivals, runs melange edition label and co-edits reductive journal/mumei publishing."-Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/user2132535/about)
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• Show Bio for Stefan Thut
"Composer and cellist. Born 1968, resident in Solothurn (CH). Trained at the Lucerne Conservatory and at Boston University School of Music.
Most of his scores are to be rendered by performers; some scores serve as a template in field recording and sound art. In his compositions he operates with relatively determined open systems. Scores were realized at the Kunstraum Düsseldorf (2007), at Kid Ailack Concert Hall, Tokio (2007/09) and at the Diapason Gallery, New York (2010) among other locations. As interpreter he has premiered solo-pieces by Jürg Frey, Radu Malfatti, Tim Parkinson, James Saunders, Taku Sugimoto, Taku Unami and Manfred Werder and he has performed with the ensemble incidental music in Berlin, Brussels, London and Zurich."-Edition Wandelweiser (http://www.wandelweiser.de/stefan-thut.html)
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• Show Bio for d incise
"Laurent PETER, a.k.a. d'incise (Geneva, 1983), drifting musician, grew up inbetween dub sound system and experimental electronic music. Sound explorer, he has no perticular instrument, using whatever can be considered as such, softwares, recordings, objects, percussions, harmonium, etc. He's interested in radicalism, reductionnism, repetitions and conceptual approaches, building specific set-up for each new occasion, in improvised or composed context. He tends to extract the most tiny details of the elements, appreciates slowness and obsessive explorations of simple processes. He's, since many years with Cyril Bondi, behind the INSUB. label, orchetra, the Diatribes duo, and many other things, and does graphic designs."-d'incise Website (http://www.dincise.net/bio.html)
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