“Nothing made a deeper impression than ‘Generation Kill’, an explosive synthesis of live and electronic sound by Belgian composer Stefan Prins. In a program note, Prins reported that he had been pondering intersections of technology and global conflict: American soldiers in Iraq revving themselves up with video games, Arab Spring insurgents communicating via Facebook, drones operated by remote control. Rather than pasting such portentous themes onto the surface of a work, Prins found a way to embody them organically. Four members of the Nadar Ensemble, playing violin, cello, electric guitar, and percussion, were postioned behind transparant screens; facing them were four performers with PlayStation video-game controllers. These devices allowed for the recording, replay, and manipulation not only of sounds but also of images: the players had to compete with superimposed, sometimes sped-up video projections of what they had been doing moments before.
The result was mind-bending, and not in druggy, blissed-out way. As the composer intended, it was disturbingly difficult to tell what was real and what was virtual. The musicians were caught in temporal loops, as if Philip K. Dick had written a novel about chamber music. Instrumental timbres were distorted in the direction of glitchy noise, in the manner of much recent European music, but the extension of playing techniques achieved a kind of visceral precision. The cellist executed several abrasive cadenzas with a crushed beer can stuck between the strings, and the violinist applied aluminum foil to the bridge of her instrument. There was a desert harshness to the sound, in keeping with the Middle Eastern focus. Twice, Prins halted all musical activity to make that focus clear: we heard crackling radio voices discussing “collateral damage”, and saw inhabitants of a nameless town running from a Predator drone.
This display of spastic near-genius was, to my puzzlement, one of the works that drew a cry of “Boring!” I wanted to ask the protestor what would have held his interest. Music for amplified lobby toilets? A piece in which an orchestra gets drunk on Fürstenberg beer and trashed everything in sight? Next Year, perhaps.”
Alex Ross (“Blunt Instruments. Young European Composers go to Extremes in Donaueschingen”, The New Yorker, Nov 12, 2012, www.newyorker.com)
What’s Next Festival 24/03/2013
La Raffinerie – Bruxelles (de 16h à …)
Festival de musique actuelle – Aktuele muziek festival
avec entre autres/met onder meer Decoder Ensemble (D), Soundinitiative (Fr), Hans Beckers, Johannes Westendorp & Pieter Verhees (NL), Elisa Medinilla, Tip Toe Company et un projet de LAbO de ChampdAction !
What’s Next en coproduction avec/in coproductie met Ars Musica & Charleroi Danses, met de steun van Vlaamse Overheid en van de Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie. En collaboration avec/ in samenwerking met Cohort
march 21st 21h30
Ictus Zone: Aton’ & Armide feat. Ictus oboist Piet Van Bockstal
Ictus Zone #5 featuring in this concert Aton’ & Armide and the oboist Piet Van Bockstal. At the heart of this evening’s programme is a cult work, Demijour, by the German composer Nikolaus A Huber, who was trained by Stockhausen and Nono, among others. This well-known work is a reinterpretation of Schumann’s Zwielicht in a late-20th-century musical idiom.
Thomas Smetryns, Three ways to drift apart**
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Xi
Jean-Luc Fafchamps, Trois chants pour mieux voir – en dedans (N°3)**
Nikolaus Huber Statement zu einem Faustschlag Nonos, Demijour
** WORLD PREMIERE
ATON’ & ARMIDE
Sara Picavet piano, Benjamin Glorieux cello
& Piet Van Bockstal oboe
More info: Bozar