by/von Gisbert Schürig

EN Yesterday Phyla contributed music to Naïma Ferré´s Whirling Atelier in Tatwerk. Jennie Zimmermann accompanied several sessions with a shaman drum while I used electronics for the last session, which you can listen to here.

The mallet and drum sounds I used here are inspired by the instruments Steve Reich used for his famous piece ‘Drumming’.

The music was made up on the spot, or, to be more precise, it was manufactured on the spot. I did not improvise the patterns that you can hear in the way of playing them. Instead I used certain functions in Ableton live to generate impulses. This is what you hear in the beginning, just two sounds occurring in no specific order, at least not in an order that one could detect easily. Around 1:11, I record one measure of these impulses, and, through repetition, a discernable pattern is created. I went on to work with this pattern, juxtaposing it in different registers, beginning on different points within the rhythmic cycle (2:28) – a classic operation to create variation in Minimal Music, prominently applied by Steve Reich in ‘Drumming’.

What was very different in my case is the ability to make the musical decisions on the spot and have the software carry out the necessary operations. On a meta level, I did prepare the setup of Ableton live I used but I did not prepare the musical phrases that would come up.

I am very much into performing this kind of music with a group – this is what the Minimal Improvisation process is about.

In the context of the Whirling Atelier, I see a strong connection between the repetitive musical patterns and the repetitive whirling movements of the dancers. The circular movement is a fundamental restriction to the endless possibilities of dancing – the world becomes a blur and you may become dizzy. I am into it myself and I love the atmosphere of a group of people devoted to this practice. To make music in this setting is so rewarding, I am already looking forward to the next session!

DE Gestern hatte ich mal wieder die wunderbare Gelegenheit, Musik für ein Whirling Atelier von Naïma Ferré zu machen. Jennie Zimmermann hat einige Sessions mit der Schamanentrommel begleitet, ich habe für die abschließende Session ein Set mit elektronischer Musik in Ableton Live improvisiert. Ich habe dafür Prozesse der Minimal Improvisation in elektronischer Form umgesetzt, mich außerdem an in Instrumentierung und Prozessen von Steve Reich´s “Drumming” inspirieren lassen.

Das Whirling ist ein herrlicher Rahmen um Musik zu machen – ich liebe es selber, wenn die Welt im Drehen verschwimmt und eine ausgelassene aber konzentrierte Intensität aufkommt, und ich liebe es, für eine Gruppe, die sich dem widmet, zu spielen!

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