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Owais: „Good Afternoon, this is Ismail Owais from Radio Alhara for a special program about (the) SHAPE Platform. 

SHAPE is a platform in Europe for innovative music and audiovisual art supported by the Creative Europe program. (The) SHAPE Platform supports emerging talent trying to connect their local communities with them and their audiences through collaborative residencies with multiple artistic outcomes.

This platform consist of 13 partners in 13 countries with plans for further expansion. This project is open for all artists based in the EU and some other countries such as Tunisia, Georgia, Turkey and Serbia and many others.

As part of their support and partnership with CTM Festival this year in the beginning of 2023 an open studio session took place at Monom at CTM festival this year with the polish composer, sound designer and sound- engineer Aleksandra Slyż. In this session Slyż engaged with the cellist Judith Hamann and saxophonist Gerard Lebik in scoring and expanding the potentials of the 26 minute long track “Softness, Flashes, Floating Rage“ from her second album „A Vibrant Touch“. They worked together to find connections between the acoustic and synthetic sounds. The trail elaborated on the rich drone structures of Slyz’s modular synthesis exploring the physicality of Hamann’s and Lebik’s respective instruments through the pressure of a finger on the Cello string or they also explored the intensity of a breath attack in a Saxophone.“

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„Hi my name is Judith Hamann, and I’m a cellist, performer and composer, I’m from Australia, but i live in Berlin. The opportunity to work in a really deep and focused way through this residency was very special in terms of this project for CTM and Monom. I mean the space is really incredible and having the chance to really refine and work in detail on the spectral an timbreal interfaces between this kind of room as instrument and then the synthesizer processing Cello and Saxophone and the framing of the whole process in presenting and developing the work was very special.”

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Lebik: “During the Festival we had the opportunity to work in a very unique place like Monom Studios, where thanks to the unique 4d multichannel, we were able to create a special ambisonic composition from Alexandra’s piece. It was a wonderful experience to hear the composition and our sound rotating and moving in the space, creating an absolutely immersive experience. A great deal of credit for this goes to the acousticians and engineers at Monom space whom actually where the creators of this ambisonic experience. And in a real time they processed our acoustics instruments, my Saxophone, Judith Cello and Alexandra’s synthesizer. It was a wonderful experience.“

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Owais:„ Did this experience and your partaking in the sessions inspire you to work together or to create other projects together in the future?“

Hamann: „ since the CTM festival Gerard, Alexandra and I recently performed in another festival in Amsterdam. I think there’s definitely a lot of seeds laid for a potential future collaboration. I think the 3 of us really connected musically and in terms of building a really healthy and generous working environment, so you know hopefully – but (laughing) we’ll see what happens“

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Lebik: “I think this experiences inspired us to think a lot about this piece really in terms of acoustics, of the space in which we perform. We began to think of the piece as a vibrating, moving organism that actually pours and moves in the space. Rather than stagnating. As it does during a classical performance. Also our vision of the micro-tonality on which the piece is based has evolved. After our experience at CTM festival and Monom Alexandra’s piece and our trio is a bit different, now, I feel. For example last time when we performed this piece during the Fiber festival in Amsterdam, I had the feeling that us, we had written it together in real time from the beginning or something like that.”

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Hamann: „ In terms of my own work with different microtonal systems and part of why I was so excited to hop in on working on Alexandra’s music, I guess i mean I work in different tuning systems, but i wouldn’t say I am dogmatic about them, But for instance when I work in just or rational intonation which is based on ratios what this does or what has been really interesting for me as an instrumentalist coming from a euro-heritage classical-training background in terms of music, is what that opens up in terms of framing the activity of tuning as a relational practice, what I mean by this rather than an A being an A and it being a certain amount of Hertz, if you’re tuning, say a 3:2 ratio which is  the 3rd and 2nd partials which we would call a perfect 5th in Euro classical heritage music theory. But in order to actually do that, nothing is ever fixed, everything is relational so you’re constantly changing and in terms oft he Cello each Bow change requires some tending and shepherding and thinking in microtonal systems, whether that’s just intonation or these kind of systems I actually found it quite intuitive in Aleksandra’s music the use of micro tonality and how we would kind of locate where those kind of beatings and subtle shifts would occur. It speaks to me as a part of broader critical and theoretical idea that I am also interested in as an artist and I know its very „de jour“ right now right now but care practices, tenderness, thinking about things in terms of relations rather then in hierarchical structures. So that’s a lot of my attraction to it, but of course it also just sounds great and is a really enjoyable thing to do.“

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Owais: „ Gerard, Your focus in your work is more about investigating time, disorder and through your research you explore the interplay between sound, architecture and urban context. Could you please tell us a bit more about this?”

Lebik: “Since many years my work focuses on the analysis of sine waves. From my perspective the phenomenon lies in the fact that they are the simplest elements of electrically or electronically generated sound. And have become the basic elements of AM and FM analysis then oscillators and all modern synthesizers. It is safe to say that all electronic music actually begins in my opinion with simple sine waves. Many years ago I worked on a project on simple waves with engineers from a polish factory called Zopan which produced function generators and devices needed for testing logical circuits based on simple waves. The basic function of „Zopan generators“ was tuning radio and television receivers in the 80ies. We tested these sine waves in various mediums of sound propagation in water, metal or even minerals. This was my first adventure with this phenomenon. At the moment I am focusing on sine waves propagation in defined acoustic media such as sound studios, industrial spaces, specific architecture and urban contexts. One of the topics that constantly fascinates me is the creation of networks of several sine waves in the architecture of rooms and the study of their propagation, reflections and relations. If we have a suitable acoustic room and let out 3 or 5 sine waves in it, after some time the reflections will stabilize and a grid will form. Then the intersections of the waves emit peculiar ripples; small differences in color and intensity, the differences will be easy to notice by slowly walking around the room and carefully turning your head in different directions. I create special compositions that involve mapping these intersections and giving them order in the composition. The listener is given a map and instructions to know how long and at which point the intersections of the waves should be in order to listen to the special composition in the right way. The micro differences in the ripples at each point in the room are heard differently. This is the basis of the composition. Staying in this acoustic network on the one hand changes and influences our perception and on the other hand disturbs it a bit. At that moment I am trying to prove that through such an experience we have the impression of a disruption of real time. It seems will stand in place or follow at a different pace. 

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Photo: Courtesy of CTM Festival

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