JACOB KIRKERGAARD (DK)
Labyrinthitis, a 4- or 16-channel composition / sound installation (2007)
Labyrinthitis works with otoacoustic emissions generated by the artist’s ears to produce otoacoustic emissions in the ears of the listeners. As microtonal as it gets, Jacob Kirkegaard’s Labyrinthitis consists of sounds recorded within the labyrinth of Kirkegaard’s own ears, capturing vibrations arising off of pure tones catching the cochlea hairs in the fluid pathways of the aforementioned labyrinth. These are real sounds (known as otoacoustic emissions) created, not just received, by our ears. It is literally the sound of ourselves hearing. Kirkegaard not only recorded the sound of his own ears hearing, but used a tone frequency formula which has been found to generate new tones completely secondary to the sounds being heard. When two tones are played at a certain ratio to one another, the ear, through the otoacoustics, creates a completely new third tone, like overtones on a piano, or the Tartini tone on a violin. This means that our bodies are naturally inclined to interact with harmonising music, even to sing along with it through our ears. In the liner notes to Labyrinthitis, Douglas Kahn refers to this process as “active hearing”. Kirkegaard creates the third ear-stimulated tone via this mathematical formula to stimulate the two harmonising tones in his own ear through otoacoustics. He then uses these tones to harmonise with each other and create a third tone in the listener’s ear. Then, to further complicate the labyrinthine nature of the composition, he recreates that third tone in his own ear on the album and combines that with a fourth tone to create a fifth tone in the listener’s ear and so on and so on. It plays out like a series of descending chromatic notes, but at the microtonal and deep listening level, much of what the listener hears is not literally there on the recorded composition. It’s inside of us, placed by our own ears. Each listener is a collaborator and musician, honing in on the auditory tuning of our own ears.
Eustachia for 20 voices (2017)
Performed by the Melos New Vocal Music Collective
Eustachia is a vocal work composed from tones generated in the inner ear. These tones, called Spontaneous Otoacoustic Emissions (or SOAE), are produced – without external stimulation – in the ears of about 70 % of all younger people. SOAEs decline with age or gradual damage of the ears. For those people whose ears emit SOAEs the combinations of tones emitted from one ear can be dissonant, microtonal and complex. Tones emitted from the other ear can be harmonious and ‘in tune’. Each emitting ear produces something akin to an acoustic fingerprint; these are the basis of Jacob Kirkegaard’s composition. The SOAEs used for this composition were recorded and collected by Kirkegaard from the ears of members of the Danish choir Aarhus Pigekor. All ‘ear chords’ were recorded, filtered, analysed, and then interpreted for voices. This choral work thereby connects two intimate organs of our body: the ear and the voice. The ears are the composers, the voices perform the tones emitted by the ears.
ANDRIUS MASLEKOVAS (LT)
Andrius Maslekovas Shadows of Nighttime Canvases for violin and cello (2018)
Performed by the Twenty Fingers Duo:
This is a reflection on several nightscapes seen in the paintings of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. If paintings clearly visualize musical forms that he employed in his musical works, then my composition tries to ‘audialize’ these particular images by Čiurlionis and filter his physical brush strokes and (often volatile) emotions though my subjective sound perception. This is a kind of attempt to portray in sound what he had painted in his nighttime canvases, which start turning into music when the night is over…
ANDRIUS ŠIURYS (LT)
Andrius Šiurys šiurrealistique (world premiere, 2021)
Performed by Liudas Mockūnas (saxophones)
GEDIMINAS STEPANAVIČIUS (LT)
„AMBULANCE ON FIRE“ FEAT. MORTA NAKAITĖ (LT)
„Ambulance on Fire“ feat. Morta Nakaitė
Music and performance: Mėta Gabrielė Pelegrimaitė and Jūra Elena Šedytė (instruments, vocals, electronics)
Set and Costume Design: Morta Nakaitė
Light Design: Julius Kuršis
Programme BODIES. SPACES in the series “maulwerker performing music”
The Maulwerker (Mouth Workers) are specialists in vocal experiments and the performativity of music. Their performative works expand the concept of music and incorporate elements of performance art, intermedial, conceptual art and contemporary dance theatre. The pieces presented here all work with productive dissonance: choreographed sounds, composed actions, audible gestures and visible music in obvious as well as subversive counterpoints produce brief or longer-lasting moments of synaesthesia. The inter- and transdisciplinary extensions combine acoustic with visual and spatial perception. The focus is on listening – to the Maulwerker performing music.
Since 2005, the Maulwerker have organised thematic evenings in the series “maulwerker performing music,” each one dedicated to a methodical-structural or material aspect of performative music. With “poeme für füße” these were body compositions, with “translations” language compositions, with “Halt’s Maul” screaming compositions, “XXXOOOXXX (numbers & circles)” presented formal compositions, “pro cedere” process pieces, and “situations” conceptual, situative pieces that expanded on the form and framework of the classical concert. In “speakers,” the voices interacted with loudspeakers through playbacks or live processes. “Augenlieder” picked up the theme of body compositions, and “Vokale Räume” explored extended vocal techniques in abstract and concrete spaces. The series has presented world premieres by Antonia Baehr, Alessandro Bosetti, Sabine Ercklentz, Fernanda Farah, Boris Filanovsky, Jule Flierl, Robin Hayward, David Helbich, Neo Hülcker, Ariane Jeßulat, Sven-Åke Johansson, Henrik Kairies, Georg Klein, Christian Kesten, Annette Krebs, Andrea Neumann, Alex Nowitz, Katarina Rasinski, Dieter Schnebel, Antje Vowinckel, Steffi Weismann, Emmett Williams, Istvàn Zelenka etc.
Neo Hülcker Give Paw! for four performers and fixed media (2017)
What is human, what is animal and what is neither? How do humanity and ‘animality’ manifest themselves on a stage? How do humans imitate animals? How do humans imitate humans who imitate animals? And what does that which we perceive as animal-like tell us about being human?
In Hülcker’s research into these questions, he unearthed a variety of material that he incorporated into various acoustic and performative situations for this composition. Human-animal relationships, hunting, and human-animal intimacy in ASMR videos were the main sources of inspiration.
Sven-Åke Johansson WE WA WO (2016)
Jule Flierl d!ssoc!at!on_study_2 for three voices (2018)
d!ssoc!at!on_study_2 is a grotesque dance for the face that works against the concordance of singing voice and facial articulation, and instead develops them as independently acting fields of coordination. The result is a polyphonic interplay between larynx, oral cavity, tongue and lips.
Dissociation describes a mental state that is considered a disorder in our society. d!ssoc!at!on_study_2 wants to detach itself from the dogma of the holistic body and challenges the perception of the phonatory body. It is a game involving the sensory perception and coordination of the performers. The body of the future makes no sense analogically and moves in many directions simultaneously. This piece is inspired by the voice dances of Valeska Gert, an avant-garde dancer of the 1920s.
Christian Kesten Still nothing is known about the Guam Flying Foxes for five performers (2018)
This ensemble piece is the sister piece to a solo for voice and body that Christian Kesten originally composed for Antonia Baehr and her Abecedarium Bestiarium. In the piece, the three levels feet, hands/arms and voice are led independently of one another. The result is a polyphony, a free counterpoint as the levels interact. In the ensemble of five performers this polyphony is amplified and projected further into the space. Working with the panorama and the depth of the space, a field of acoustic sculptures is created. The Guam flying fox (Pteropus tokudae after the Japanese zoologist Mitoshi Tokuda) is an extinct species of bat from the family of flying foxes (Pteropodidae). It only existed on the island of Guam in the Western Pacific.
Alessandro Bosetti Trinitaire for three voices (2015)
Trinitaire is a very visual piece of music that traces a family constellation in its simplest features. The piece is based on repetitions, permutations and the constant dance of generations. Trinitaire is divided into two parts: the first is a homorhythmic chorus, pulsating and fast, in which simple permutations of a few words (mère – mother; père – father; sœur – sister; frère – brother) give rise to a rapid succession of flickering phonetic chords. The four figures fight for the three places available alone in a daring dance of combinations. The first part of Trinitaire is notated as a hand-drawn graphic score from which all three performers read simultaneously. At first glance, the score looks like endless repetitions of pencil graphemes, which are finally infiltrated by mysterious and parasitic forms. The second part jumps abruptly to a completely different dynamic: the three parts sing soft glissandi reminiscent of sine tones. These lines, almost palpably visible in space, are not written down in concrete terms, but are subject to a regulating system in which the dynamics of the encounters determine the drawing of the lines. Trinitaire is a simple, asymmetrical piece in which elements typical of Bosetti’s music appear: repetition, language and biography.
Indrė Liškauskaitė jump! jump! tunnel! tunnel! (2021)
It is a piece about human animal and non-human animal communication in a very unique situation of canine agility sport. The team of two animal species communicates through a very specific body and abstract verbal language. The human animal commands and praises until the furry one and the anthropocentric one merge together.
… the sounds of the surroundings disappears and time stops for a few seconds. Last – long – breathing in – gazing the course – and breathing out – catching the eyes of the non-human. From the next moment everything happens fast – so fast, that you almost lose the control of your body. The muscle memory drives you through – and you hear your voice – as it would be a stranger – confused – controlling – loud – then adrenaline hits – and – softens – just before the end – euphoric:
out! out! out!
rai! rai! rai! rai!
c o o o me!
run! run! run! run! run!
„LOW BLOW“ (LT)
Dovydas Stalmokas (bass saxophone), Lukas Pivoriūnas, Gediminas Stepanavičius, Mikas Kurtinaitis (sousaphones)
Programme “The Blow from Below”
EGIDIJA MEDEKŠAITĖ (LT)
Egidija Medekšaitė Pūriyā for four electric guitars (world premiere, 2021)
Performed by the Sähkökitarakvartetti
Pūriyā is a major hexatonic raga of Hindustani classical music, which is often referred to as king of night Raags. This raga originated from Marwa Thaat or parental scale. Raag Pūriyā is sung at time of transition from the afternoon to the evening and thus it is known as a Sandhiprakash Raga. Its mood is somber, meditative, contemplative, devotional and like many ragas played at dusk, it makes one contemplate about life. A pleasant sobering atmosphere full of piety is created. The form of the piece is based on the expanded textile patterns, which could not be woven due its long overlays of wrap or wefts. I used these layers to create various timbral patterns, which interweave with each other. Throughout the piece, the dynamics, timbre and harmony expand until it reaches its climax.
DJ EXTENDED (AKA KRISTUPAS GIKAS) (LT)
Electroacoustic noise improvisation
Jauna Muzika 2021
our ears are singing”
16-19 September 2021
Arts Printing House, Vilnius
The Jauna Muzika Festival has been exploring the theme of “collectibles” for the second year in a row. This year we present the programme that has been adjusted to a new reality of the pandemic, which demonstrates different modes of scenic presence and thinking, as well as new habits of listening. Building different habits of listening today means understanding that the sounds can come from within our own bodies, that certain parts of our bodies can generate sounds – for example, the cochlea hairs in our inner ears, and thus realizing that our ears are singing. This phenomenon is thoroughly scrutinized in the work of Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard who will headline the festival roster.
The festival this year feels like a moment of repose after a day out in the big city spent celebrating the International Vinyl Record Day when you can take time to reassess the most inspiring discoveries and rearrange them in many possible combinations. The spectrum of music presented at this festival often reaches beyond the boundary where sound is no longer a medium and necessary condition for the creation of music. This tendency will be plausibly demonstrated by the Maulwerker ensemble from Berlin, which will perform a programme “Kūnai. Erdvės” (Bodies. Spaces) featuring works composed especially for this ensemble. Among these the “mouth workers” will introduce the new piece by Indrė Liškauskaitė, a young artist and student at the Vilnius Academy of Arts whose work examines human communication with a non-human animal. The alumni of the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, on the other hand, will pay their tributes to composer-painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis and Surrealism.
This year we came up, almost unwittingly, with the festival programme that falls into three broad thematic sections: the work of young Lithuanian composers (represented by Andrius Maslekovas, Andrius Šiurys and Egidija Medekšaitė), the improvised music scene of Vilnius (represented by Liudas Mockūnas, Gediminas Stepanavičius, Low Blow and Ambulance on Fire), and the music for low-end instruments. The work of Egidija Medekšaitė offers the most curious perspective on what the art music can be like today. Her new work composed for this festival and to be premiered by the Finnish electric guitar quartet Sähkökitarakvartetti is based on a Hindustani rāga traditionally played at dusk. Kristupas Gikas who will round off this festival by improvising with turntables shares his view of improvisation as a mere attempt to approximate the continuum that underlies every noise.
The Jauna Muzika Festival that straddles the boundaries between different genres and explores new varieties of music will be held at the Arts Printing House in Vilnius on 16–19 September 2021. Check out the collectibles on offer at the festival this year and learn why our ears are singing.
Arturas Bumšteinas, festival programme curator
Festivalis Jauna Muzika
Lietuvos Kompozitorių Sąjunga
Mickevičiaus g. 29, LT-08117, Vilnius
Tel. +370 689 19228
Tel. +370 645 81166