Several showcases in November will be this year’s closing activities for SHAPE, the Creative Europe supported platform for innovative music and audiovisual art which unites 16 festivals from the ICAS network. Each year, they collectively choose 48 artists, and, subsequently, each festival presents at least 9 of these projects. These six events will be the last to feature artists from the SHAPE roster of 2015, and December will see the involved festivals working on a new list of 48 projects to participate in the showcases of the next year.
November will be kicked off by Berlin’s CTM, the very festival which organized the first ever SHAPE showcase this January. Continuing their collaboration with Ableton, they will present Lorenzo Senni alongside Tim Hecker and Holly Herndon at HKW (November 1). That, however, will be only of whole three SHAPE events by CTM this month: on the following day (November 2), works of German composer Jakob Ullmann – SHAPE’s sole ambassador of contemporary composition (a radically quiet one, at that) – will be performed alongside pieces by Ernstalbrecht Stiebler at Heimathafen Neukölln.
The chain of SHAPE showcases will be continued in Paris by Némo, the International Biennial of Digital Arts, which, having started on October 1st, will keep going until the beginning of next year, bringing performances and exhibitions by Assimilation Process, Marco Donnarumma and Olivier Ratsi.
Meanwhile, Slovenia’s SONICA festival will celebrate its 2015 edition (November 3 – 26) with a large programme, including SHAPE acts Ketev (Yair Elazar Glotman) and Random Logic, who will present their new recording. A strong educational programme for SHAPE artists and the general public is also promised.
SHAPE is also especially glad to announce that its youngest member festival – Schiev in Brussels – is having its very first edition on November 5 – 8. Positioning itself as a “simple music festival that offers a broad vision of avant-garde pop music to the widest possible audience”, the festival offers a varied and vital four-day programme, including many SHAPE acts: Plapla Pinky, Zamilska, Aisha Devi, Borusiade, Gábor Lázár, Ketev and Mondkopf’s new Autrenoir project will all have the honour to play on the very first Schiev stage.
Finally – and symbolically – SHAPE’s first year will be concluded by the very festival which opened it in January. On November 26, CTM will be presenting Robert Henke’s audiovisual laser show „Lumière II” at the Volksbühne theater, and have chosen SHAPE’s dark techno producer Ketev as the opening act.
Keep following SHAPE’s homepage and social media for the announcement of the 2016 SHAPE artist roster! Meanwhile, the latest episode of our monthly show on London’s Resonance FM is now streaming online.
The SHAPE platform is a three-year initiative, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.
To find out more details and full line-ups of the aforementioned events, please visit our events section.
From cold war and claustrophobic balloons, to silence and its lack in modern societies, to churches used for raves, we are back with our October installment of the SHAPE radio show, introducing artists associated with SHAPE, a new platform for innovative music and audiovisual art. It is not only the thematic span that is going to be diverse, it’s also the generational one: from esteemed composer and professor Jakob Ullmann, church ravers Plapla Pinky, kinetic project Neunundneunzig (99) to relative newcomer Natalia Zamilska.
The International Meeting of Multimedia Arts (RIAM) takes place in Marseille (this year, it took place between 1 and 30 October 2015). It is an initiative of the non-profit association Technè. It aims to establish an animated dialogue with other experimental and innovative artistic forms. This year, it also presented a number of SHAPE artists, including: Lorenzo Senni, Zamilska, Gábor Lázár, Low Jack,Extreme Precautions, Ketev and Ideal Corpus.
NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is a kinetic sound sculpture by Martin Bricelj Baraga and Olaf Bender (Raster-Noton). It is comprised of a matrix of 99 balloons composing an immersive yet intimate performance. While being inflated, the balloons surround visitors to create an intense physical, sonic, and visual experience. NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is a dark field of intensities where sound, light, and objects are inhaling, exhaling, and pulsating in a space that is shrinking and extending, thus creating a highly intensive, even claustrophobic psycho-physical and socio-spatial experience that mirrors the current conditions of our society.
How did this project come into being? In what way did it reference German pop singer Nena’s hit 99 Luftballons, which was an anti-nuclear protest song written in the midst of the Cold War?
MBB: Obviously there’s a reference to this song, but I’ve had this idea for many years. The reference to Nena’s song, or let’s say to the Cold War, is too narrow. I wanted to build this grid of 99 balloons as an environment in which we would trigger intensities and anxieties, which are not only alluding to this Cold War state we are facing again now, but more the general state of things that are happening today. There’s a broader way to read into it – it could also point to the US prisons in Guantanamo or the alienation of individuals.
So you feel this polarisation of the world from the times when Nena wrote this song in the early 80s, is coming back now?
MBB: When I had this idea, it was several years ago and I kind of sensed the tension. You could feel it from the vocabulary of western media. Today it’s so obvious, it’s more like violence on every level.
Can you describe the concept and workings of the project?
MBB: First of all, it’s a kinetic sound sculpture and an immersive intimate environment. In the grid, the balloons act as instruments but they only work in a seated space. I’m also interested in having it in a smaller room that provides more intensity even without the the moving parts. People would be moving. I see two ways – a seated, very tense situation, and the other is where you can explore the spatial acoustic intensity of the balloons that surround you.
Can you talk about your collaboration with Olaf Bender, aka Byetone, one of the co-founders of the Raster-Noton label?
MBB: We wanted to do something for a long time and Olaf was interested in making something outside of the club context. We are coming from different countries – Germany on the one hand, and a Slavic country on the other, but we do have some similarities in common in how we view the world and have a different perspective than people from the western hemisphere. Regardless of whether this is an ethical position or solely aesthetic, it was interesting for me to collaborate with Olaf in this grid of 99 balloons, and I immediately thought of him in the very beginning.
We had a short residency in Ljubljana at the Museum of Transitory Art, where we created a model for the work, which was a construction of 9 balloons, written for four people only. It was a really intimate piece which we presented in a military bunker in the centre of Ljubljana, a tense concrete environment. Olaf wrote the sound design and the rhythmical part, me and Igor Vuk, the technical director of the museum, wrote the additional rhythmical, kinetic part.
Raster-Noton has a very specific approach to sound and sound architecture. How did this influence the sonic side of your project?
MBB: That was one of the reasons why I decided to work with Olaf. There’s a very minimal set of expressive tools that we we have at hand – we have the sound coming from the speakers, the sound of the balloons which are all in a grid. At first, Olaf only wrote the sound design for the speakers. This time he was also working on the composition of the compressors or the ventilation systems. You always have certain qualities of the sub-bass and frequency of the speakers. We are using very mechanical metal valves which create beautiful sounds. In combination with the speakers, the inhaling and exhaling of valves reminds of mechanical insects.
And the effect it tries to conjure is claustrophobia?
MBB: Yes, intensity, anxiety, claustrophobia. But in a way it’s also nice to play with a state which leads from anxiety into a more meditative mode. It’s also a very individual experience – everyone has a different interpretation of it (balloons referencing the crisis, etc), but in the end it could just be abstract and personal.
How will you continue the project?
MBB: I’m interested in a purely spatial or mechanical version which works as a sculpture with only ventils without any sound system, but also in a more dense, military bunker as the perfect spot. With NEMO Biennale, the co-producer of the piece, we are showing the piece at Galerie Fernand Leger in France. Later it will be great to have this piece installed in different environments, but we will also start developing a very simple, bright version with a different setup. We’re discussing some ideas where we will use the sound hemisphere of inside balloon and this will be a starting point for the adaptation.
What have been some of the audience reactions?
MBB: I think it’s mixed. In the bunker, the initial reactions were of people being afraid and then, later, they got excited and wanted more.
Is this immersive effect also a statement against the modern-day distractedness?
MBB: Yes. The first version was 9 minutes long, this one is 15 minutes. What we want is that people enter in total darkness, don’t use their phones and are surrounded by 4 balloons. The intro is very long, and you only hear the inhaling sounds which could also be a reference to some unpleasant gas experiences. I’m interested in creating a zone environment where you don’t have a constant influx of information and distractions which we are always exposed to.
Are you also taking into considerations elements of chance?
MBB: I’ve been working with interactive installations for more than 15 years in a set of different experiments and installations and for me it’s only interesting to see these works if they are different every time, or the audience interacts in a different way. It’s closer to nature. But unpredictability is more a process than a result.
The project is shown on 26/10/2015 as part of Biennale Némo at Galerie Fernand Leger in France.
NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is a kinetic sound sculpture by Martin Bricelj Baraga and Olaf Bender (Raster-noton). The project is hosted by the ongoing Biennale Némo in Paris. The opening is on 26 October 2015. The work can be seen at Galerie Fernand Léger – Ivry on 27, 28 and 29 October from 2-7PM as well.
NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is comprised of a matrix of 99 balloons composing an immersive yet intimate performance. While being inflated, the balloons surround visitors to create an intense physical, sonic, and visual experience.
NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is a dark field of intensities where sound, light, and objects are inhaling, exhaling, and pulsating in a space that is shrinking and extending, thus creating a highly intensive, even claustrophobic psycho-physical and socio-spatial experience that mirrors the current conditions of our society.
NEUNUNDNEUNZIG (99) is inspired by “99 Luftballons” an anti-nuclear protest song by the German band Nena.
SHAPE artist Ame Zek‘s new full-length album “Streams” has recently been released on Cloudchamber Recordings.
Ame Zek is a musician, composer and sound artist based in Berlin. His live performances in different constellations and his constant, research-driven process of making music steered him to the shores of microtonality and the abundant periphery of musicianship. Where music becomes sound ‒ that’s where Ame Zek forges his heavily saturated modulations and transformations. On October 9, he had his first SHAPE performance at the Skaņu Mežs festival in Riga. He was nominated to the platform by CTM Festival.
“Streams” is a boiling pot of violent sound – no less violent than morphing underwater currents. In fact, the emotional content of the recording is informed by the artist’s actual experience of almost drowning in such a situation. The “streams” of the album also serve as a metaphor for the streams of energy and information in both nature and modern technology.
“Streams are now all around us for us to feel them, to be intrigued by them,” says Ame Zek. “And also to be mindful when letting ourselves become entangled in them.”
Moritz Simon Geist was born in 1981. His projects range from electronic music performances to robotic sound installations. His robotic installations and performances have so far been shown in numerous European festivals and exhibitions including Ars Electronica 2014, Club Transmediale 2013, Mapping Festival [CH]. He has also collaborated with performers such as Mouse on Mars and Tyondai Braxton. He holds talks on the progression of robotics and society. In 2015, he was awarded the Artist-In-Residence-Stipend for the Free State of Saxony.
His background is both as a classical musician and a robotics engineer, with an advanced expertise in 3-D Printing. Moritz Simon Geist lives and works in Dresden, Germany.
One of the surprises at this year’s Unsound Festival in Krakow was the Polish duo RSS B0YS who performed before HEALTH. Check out their buoyant live show recorded on the occasion.
RSS B0YS is a mysterious duo from Poland. Their shamanistic take on techno, almost fully improvised live on stage, transports the audience into a ritual frenzy. Their identity remains hidden, and the anonymity provides them with freedom to experiment and innovate.
You can check them live in action at schiev festival in Brussels (5 – 8 Nov 2015)
Paul Régimbeau is a French musician mostly renowned for his moniker Mondkopf, and recently also for his grindcore influenced project Extreme Precautions. His sound oscillates between the intensity of techno with elements of noise and an epic atmospheric backdrop. He’s been associated with the Parisian label In Paradisum.
You mentioned that your music is inspired by nostalgia and memories. Can you talk about the themes and motifs in your music? What is the relationship between the atmospheric part vs. the rhythmic one, for instance?
I don’t think about themes when I do music. Nostalgia and memories are really important to me. But I don’t start with a specific emotion, it’s more about finding sounds, the right melody, the right rhythm, and that evolves into something that will be able to move me afterwards. I like to find different paths to ecstasy. Sometimes it’s the rhythm, sometimes the melody, sometimes I blend them, sometimes not. I like the fact that’s it’s a journey, and that all kinds of ways can lead to overwhelming feelings.
Why did you decide to start Extreme Precautions?
I never decided to create Extreme Precautions, it happened as I was playing around with sounds. I wanted to do purely techno tracks and it took a different route. I was getting bored trying to do 4/4. When I found the sound that became Extreme Precautions, it directly connected to the energy I felt when listening to grindcore or death metal. So I decided to differentiate it from Mondkopf, which was a freeing experience.
What is it in grindcore and the more extreme guises of music that inspires you?
It liberated me from a kind of comfort zone and helped me connect deeper to a sort of inner energy that I feel I can now express better. I’d like to say though that I’m not a fan of all extreme metal. Some musicians make it captivating though.
There has been a lot of darker music around lately, do you think it’s also caused by some extra-musical happenings?
I don’t think so, to me it’s more of a trend which probably appeared as an opposition to some music becoming more and more bland. These days, pop isn’t that inspiring. There’s not a lot of new forms or sounds, and you have to dig deeper to find something honest and personal. But I feel like so-called dark music can have the same problem and remain pretty stagnant too.
Could you talk about your label In Paradisum and the Parisian music scene that you are part of?
At the moment Paris is pretty open, the DIY venues gather people from house, techno, garage/post-punk, and noise scenes. At the other end of the spectrum the techno scene exploded and underground artists that couldn’t play in Paris are now invited here every now and then, which has its downsides as clubs don’t always have the same intimacy as before, except for a few smaller places like La Java. I feel there is a strong vision among people in labels like Desire, Mind, Antinote etc. and in the DJ community, which is a good start to hope for better records by French producers in the future. Also there is a good balance: everyone’s interested in other people’s work and sharing, but nobody’s trying too much to make everything into one scene and polish the real aesthetic differences that exist between one another. There is definitely no Parisian sound as such and I think everyone is happy that way. The series of events including different French crews at La Gaité this season reflects this aspect.
Can you introduce your new project Autrenoir?
Autrenoir is a project that I do with Gregory Buffier, from the ambient/drone duo Saaad who also played the guitar in the band Sélénites. It’s born out of an invitation to play the amazing « non festival » Echo, an event run by the guys from Insiden. But mostly, it was born out of a friendship and a need to play together, pretty freely – at the moment it’s just a live, semi-improvised project.
The Budapest based experimental music staple UH Fest hosted a week-long series of events featuring a number of SHAPE artists. From “soundscapist” Bocca al Lupo and Stanislav Abraham to Borusiade, DJ Nigga Fox and Low Jack towards the end of the week providing the soundtrack for the dancefloor. Aside from the musical programme, UH Fest also hosted a series of talks focused on various aspects of music – from improvisation to the various ways how to best use an Octatrack.
Photos by: Berta Márton, Bertók Marci and Zólyomi Károly