MusicSafari 4: Sound Testament of Mount Athos by Arsenije Jovanovic

Sound Testament of Mount Athos

by Arsenije Jovanovic

A rare soundscape from Mount Athos by Arsenije Jovanovic presented at Ear to the Earth:

“Mount Athos, or Sacred Mountain, or Áyion Óros, on the Khalkidhiki peninsula that extends towards the southeast from the northern coast of the Aegean Sea, is the only independent monastic state in the world. There are currently twenty Byzantine monasteries on Mount Athos — seventeen Greek, one Russian, one Bulgarian, and one Serbian — together housing about two thousand orthodox monks living in hundreds of cells. Many of these monasteries, built on high and inaccessible rocks, look like huge eagles’ nests. Since the ninth century when the sacred community began to allow no woman to set foot on Mount Athos, the population has been only men, only monks and occasional pilgrims. No one was born there, millions of men died there.”

Read more about and listen to the work at EartotheEarth.org

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MusicSafari 3: Ocean breath (CD Review)

Ocean Breath

by the Breath Trio (Anne Norman, shakuhachi ; Sanshi, didgeridoo ; and Reo Matsumoto, beatbox)

ocean breath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ocean Breath, released in 2013, features original works for a unique ensemble combining shakuhachi, didgeridoo and beatbox (voice percussion). The remarkable feature of this ensemble is that the shakuhachi is played by an Australian (Anne Norman) while the didgeridoo is play by a Japanese (Sanshi), and they both demonstrate the highest level of mastery of their instruments on the tracks of this CD. Both Anne and Sanshi have successfully taken the shakuhachi and the didgeridoo beyond their traditions to enter a new musical space that corresponds well with the contemporary world.

At times the shakuhachi produces haunting and meditative melodies that remind listeners of the Japanese tradition. At other times, it evokes extremely lively and rhythmic atmosphere that make listeners feel to dance along. The didgeridoo part is also remarkable. At times, it has the stable, lingering and timeless characteristics of Australian Aboriginal music, but at other times, it is intensively dynamic to drive the rhythm of the music. I particularly like the way Sanshi creates the drones on long notes which gradually change the intensity and shape to evoke the atmosphere of the music. When the long flows of the shakuhachi and/or the didgeridoo are combined with the amazing rich palette of beatbox sounds and noises, a set of works that are highly captivating are born.

While all the tracks are worth of repeated listening, I particularly love Tidal Drift, The Sea that Connects (with Anne playing the fipple flute instead of the shakuhachi) and Ocean Breath for their exquisite structural flow and balanced texture. I also like the atmosphere evoked in Through the Mist (a duet of shakuhachi and didgeridoo). I was deeply moved by The Tears of Pearl (for Shakuhachi and bell). The last piece, Bodhisattva Blessing, is a very beautiful composition featuring deep throat voice and harmonic voice, shakuhachi and bell.

You can listen to the whole CD online at: Anne Norman’s Bandcamp site

For more information about the Breath trio, visit their website: Breath Trio

MusicSafari 2: The Sun Palace by Philip Blackburn

The Sun Palace
The Sun Palace is a captivating experimental music-film about tuberculosis in the pre-antibiotics era by composer, environmental sound-artist, and filmmaker Philip Blackburn.

“Another time. Another plague.

The Sun Palace (62 mins running time, HD video) is an epic visual and musical homage to the era, not too long ago, when tuberculosis consumed the nation. 80% of the populace had been infected and were one bloody cough away from a desperate prognosis. X-Rays were brand new. Antibiotics were four decades in the future.

While inspired by many actual stories, anecdotes, details, and events, The Sun Palace is not a documentary or a single narrative so much as a dreamlike, hallucinatory, sensory environment in which we can imagine ourselves lost in medical history. Just as the original patients may have felt. Part experimental documentary, part music video on steroids, and part multi-sensory, multi-narrative pile-up. Every element is derived from actual events and details. It is mysterious, occasionally disturbing while offering an appreciation for the kindness of nurses, the barbaric ingenuity of doctors, and the fervent desire for life of the lungers and wheezers…” (http://thesunpalace.org/)

The Sun Palace by Philip Blackburn:

For more information about Philip Blackburn and his works: Philip Blackburn’s Homepage

 

MusicSafari 1: Peter Vogel and the Sound of Shadows

Peter Vogel and the Sound of Shadows

Peter Vogel (born 1937) is a German artist who creates interactive electronic sculptures, including soundwall, shadow orchestra, and interactive objects. He has manually created beautiful sculptures made of electronic circuits of photocells, transistors and capacitors which response to sound, light or movements in musical ways.

The sound objects of Peter Vogel blur the boundaries between fine art and performance traditions. His works question established relationships between sculpture and sound, seeing and hearing, the static and the live, as well as challenging the place of sound within the historiography of gallery spaces.

They combine the open form sensibilities of interactive multimedia with an almost classical visual aesthetic that emphasises clean lines, balanced forms and delicate structures. The exhibition celebrates the work of Vogel as influential, and pioneering the emergence of contemporary sound art practices“– Jean Martin.

Peter Vogel’s soundwall, shadow orchestra, and interactive objects can be viewed at:

Vogel Exhibition

“Peter Vogel – The Sound of Shadows”, a Pre-published part of the video documentary about Peter Vogel explaining his work in his atelier in Freiburg i.B., South-West Germany, by Jean Martin and Conall Glees: