MUTEK’s SHAPE showcase revealed

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You probably remember us announcing a large SHAPE event last month – we boasted that, this June, a special showcase will be organized at the 17th edition of MUTEK Canada. Now we’re coming back to you with pleasant news – indeed, no less than 10 SHAPE acts will be performing at the festival, and the first nine of them have been confirmed.

MUTEK, one of North America’s largest festivals for electronic music and digital arts, has announced the second wave of artists of its upcoming edition, and this announcement highlights the collaboration with SHAPE, naming the first 9 acts that represent our platform and, in a wider sense, the current experimental and avant-garde electronic music and art scenes of Europe.

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Seven of these acts come from the 2016 roster of SHAPE artists. Swedish electronic producer Peder Mannerfelt, also known as The Subliminal Kid and one half of analog electronics duo Roll the Dice, introduces us to his range of groove-conscious minimal techno, precise cinematic compositions and exploratory sound. Brussels-based Belgian producer Laurent Baudoux, also known as Sun OK Papi K.O. and in Electrosold Collectif (with Mouse on Mars’ Jan St. Werner) comes to MUTEK as Lawrence Le Doux, playing his wobbly deep and tech house styles on Sunday night. Paris-based producer and Warp Records artist Jackson shows us what his tailor made instruments can do in experimental sound and light performance, Light Metal Music.

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French-Japanese duo Nonotak return to the festival with Shiro, a four screen audiovisual performance of experimental techno meshed with interplaying shadow and light. Prague-based Mexican producer, musician and multimedia artist Laura Luna experiments in emotive minimalist compositions where lo fi meets high tech electro. Polish group T’ien Lai, led by Jakub Ziołek, mixes live percussion, electronics and a chaos of musical styles into a controlled rhythmic entity. Finally, Spatial is an electronic musician and multimedia artist from London exploring low frequency vibration with physical intervention through DJ sets & live performance and via recorded media.

Two SHAPE alumni have also been confirmed for the showcase: the Italian producer, musician and composer Lorenzo Senni, who deconstructs trance into abstract compositional electro and experimental, fractured sound, and Swiss-born Nepalese-Indian artist Aïsha Devi, who takes pages from Bangladeshi poetry, physics and bass music to make provocative metaphysical intercultural dance music.

Get familiar with some of the aforementioned artists as well as other acts of the second wave of Mutek 2016 by checking out this sampler mix:

MUTEK 2016 will happen at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MAC), as well as at several other select venues in the downtown Montréal area, 1 – 5 June.

The SHAPE platform is supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Photos – press pictures of Jackson and Nonotak

ANTIVJ

ANTIVJ
ANTIVJ is a European visual label representing, producing and promoting the work of digital/media artists working at the intersection of art & technology. Their practice as artists and technologists spans from installation to performance work, large-scale to intimate, often as a response to place & space, to light & architecture, code & motion. Focused on exploring new formats of experience and experimenting with new forms of narrative, the label has been recogniSed for developing and delivering projects that don’t exist. Artists on the ANTIVJ label have had work commissioned and presented at Centre Pompidou Metz, Sundance festival, Némo Biennial Paris, CMoDA Beijing , Taiwan museum of fine arts or Rome’s Macro.

Mécaniques Discursives
An installation project by Fred Penelle & Yannick Jacquet
While the passage of time seems to accelerate every day, Fred Penelle and Yannick Jacquet offer a pause, a suspension, a breath. A strange mechanism stretches across the wall, populated with shadowy chimeras. They are mysterious and yet somehow familiar. Is this a laboratory experiment or the plan for a future network? Minutely constructed like a fine clock, it traces connections, routes, genuinely-false, looping itineraries, inviting escape, inviting dreams. The narrative is deconstructed like a thousand-storied film script. Every effort is made to lead astray, to turn around, to forge ahead. Time is shredded, decomposed, lost…and yet everything references it. Mécaniques Discursives is like a parenthesis between two epochs: Gutenberg’s and Big Data’s. By contrasting the oldest form of image reproduction (woodcutting) with the most recent digital technologies, the installation straddles centuries and contracts time.

Remote Memories
An installation project by Yannick Jacquet
Music by Laurent Delforge 
The installation Remote Memories is the fruit of a collaboration between the video artist Yannick Jacquet and the musician Laurent Delforge. It is a polyptych in a panoramic format, a large canvas of video and sound. This highly pictorial work resists immediate apprehension: rather it needs to be observed for a moment, contemplated in order to grasp its minor details. Textures are superimposed and interlaced, creating atmospheres that vibrate with neither line nor contour – a sort of “sfumato video”. The image that seems fixed is criss-crossed by almost imperceptible waves, like a brownian movement that shakes gas particles. Glimmers, colours, shapes unknown or anxious to emerge and disappear as if glimpsed through thick fog.

Listen to the March episode of SHAPE radio

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Listen to the latest episode of SHAPE platform’s monthly radio show on London’s Resonance FM, hosted by Lucia Udvardyova. This episode features interviews with such SHAPE artists as Stine Janvin Motland, BAKK, Julien Bayle and Laura Luna.

The March edition of SHAPE Radio on Resonance 104.4 FM presents artists and projects associated with the  SHAPE platform, further exploring the 2016 list of acts. BAKK is a multifacetted collective based in The Hague, Netherlands. It includes a record label, a party series and a radio show run collectively by Steve Motto, Handsome Thomas and The Social Lover. Inspired by the city’s squat scene as well as the legendary Bunker Records imprint, BAKK remain faithful to their DIY aesthetic.  Stine Janvin Motland is a Norwegian vocalist and sound artist who works with experimental music, sound and audiovisual performance.  Her works include the Lasse Marhaug-produced album In Labour (2014) as well as a live show that based upon it, the collaborative performance installation The Subjective Frequency Transducer (2015), field recording adaptations duo Native Instrument (2015) and a beat based solo project.  Julien Bayle merges visual art, music composition and a physical approach of sound art and data visualization. His background is in the IT field, and his current work is based around experimentation and programming. Laura Luna is a Mexican multimedia artist based in Prague. While working with photography, video and film, she began to experiment with sound. Repetition and memory are two elements which resurface in her sonic works. In 2014, she released her debut album Isolarios.

Photo – Laura Luna

 

Charlotte Bendiks SHAPE mix for NTS Live

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Stream a new SHAPE mix by Norwegian DJ Charlotte Bendiks, produced for the London-based radio station NTS Live. The mix was created to promote Bendiks’ upcoming performance at Rokolectiv festival in Bucharest (April 21-23).

Growing up in Tromsø, the techno capital of Norway, it is not strange that Charlotte Bendiks got interested in electronic music at a young age. She started DJing in her early twenties, developing into a highly respected and sought-out artist over the years.

Her DJ sets focus on sexy dance and body music. Although her main genre is classic house, her sets are inspired and influenced by music ranging from disco to African groove and Latin beats. She is widely known for creating euphoric, hot and sweaty dance floors. Doing live vocals and percussion as well as integrating other musicians has become somewhat of a trademark for this girl – transforming the whole performance more into a happening instead of just a simple DJ set.

Tracklist:

Mental Overdrive – Dekadin (Pavel and Misha adriaticisnewbalearicmix)
Clara Mondshine – Die drachentrommler (Pilooski edit)
Ismael Pinkler – Cuatro Minutos
Helen – Zanzibar (Afro side by R.Lodola)
Borracho Vengo (Dany F edit)
M’du – Swing Mix
Jumping Back Slash – Ibithi ten
Goofy Man – Victory Rock
Dissmentado – Consider (Tromsø version)
Soft Rocks – Little lights (Cos Mes remix)
Mari Boine – It ain’t necessarily evil (Mungolian Jet Set remix)

For previous SHAPE-related mixes on NTS, click here.

Julien Bayle’s new EP “inner” is out now

French audiovisual artist Julien Bayle has recently released his second EP inner. It has been published on Bordille Records, which he co-runs with Francois Larini, and is available via the label’s bandcamp page.

The concept of the recording is built on the legendary story of American composer John Cage visiting an anechoic chamber at Harvard University, where, surprisingly, instead of hearing silence, he was able to hear his own heartbeat as well as the humming of his central nervous system. inner is about otoacoustic emissions, perception and reverberation.

“Starting from a blank patch, the building process is moving both towards the Other and into one’s ever changing body,” François Larini says in the liner notes for inner. “It is an echoing image, engaging with the whole sensorium.”

The video below is based on the second track of the EP.

Julien Bayle merges visual art, music composition and a physical approach of sound art and data visualisation by creating advanced programmed installations and audio/visual live performances. He attemps to address the question of disrupted continuum, interference and representation of concepts by using the physics of sound. His work is based on both experimentation and programming, employing concepts of complexity and chaos as guides. Read his recent interview for the SHAPE platform website here.

For more information on Bordille Records, visit their official website.

 

 

Julien Bayle: ‘We have to be less connected’

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Julien Bayle is an independent artist based in France. He merges visual art, music composition and a physical approach to sound art and data visualisation by creating advanced programmed installations and audiovisual live performances. He tries to address the question of disrupted continuum, interference and representation of concepts by using the physics of sound. Based on both experimentation and programming his work employs concepts of complexity and chaos as guidelines. Bayle has been invited as a guest art teacher by diverse European art schools, where he provides very advanced technical courses about technology’s place in new media creation. He was nominated for SHAPE by Arcadi Némo.

You’ve had an interesting career path – from working in the IT sector, to being an artist and teaching as well, which probably gave you a very diverse perspective on technology and art.

My approach is related to technology because technology informs my art. I’m both inspired by technology and also I’m using it to create. I think it is like a dialogue between myself and my tools. I’m interested in designing my own tools in order to go further. It’s not only about the usefulness of a certain tool, rather I consider technology as a partner.

I guess this also gives you an advantage over those artists who cannot create their own tools and have to use proprietary/ready-made ones.

I think by designing our own tools we can go further. Maybe we can try to create a new tool inspired by an already existing one. We can try to explore things more deeply. For instance, I’m frequently using my modular system, which is like a big framework. I used to do the same with my computer. I take a blank page and try to build networks of signals and networks of networks. I’m trying to connect each part of these routes together to see what could emerge. When we know how to programme or patch, it’s an asset. We can work autonomously and faster.

You used to be an IT security architect. When was that?

I was working in telecommunications during my university studies here in Marseille. I was interested in the communication of various entities like emitters and receivers, and this still inspires me today when I work with my modular synthesizer. It’s all about signals and their interferences.

The disruptions between these various signals and the chaos that ensues are also of interest to you.

I’m really interested in the interference between signals but also between people. This is a way with which to represent some part of the world and society, with all the interactions and a lot of saturation on each communication channel. It is quite interesting to build a small patch with my modular synth which can behave in a linear way and at some point when you change just a single value, everything turns into chaos. It is easy to get lost in this kind of structure. And maybe I like being at this threshold, just before getting lost.

So it is controlled chaos.

I used to want to control everything on my computer or machines. But we cannot control everything. I’m trying to have a stable patch with a high level of stability and then I try to disrupt it and change it progressively to reach the limit just before chaos.

Do you think we are still in control of technology, or have we reached the point when technology controls us?

I think we are already controlled by technology. I see a lot of people controlled by their notifications. This is the obvious paradox of being connected all the time but the real connections between humans are missing. Maybe we have to become a bit less connected.

The whole security issue became a big topic. As a former IT security expert, you probably know it better anyway.

I like to work in a less connected manner. This might be the reason why I like to work with my hardware.

Is this a natural step away from computers and software?

I’m not sure about that, but maybe I feel freer away from my computer. I feel very comfortable working with my modular system. I have a lot of freedom to create with it.

What was the main motivation behind switching to the physical, the modular.

On my computer processes intrigued me, and because I was able to save and record all of my patches and steps, I got too far from the sound itself. I was more interested in recording parameters than sounds. With the modular synth, the process is not digital and not something that we can save. If I want to keep a trace of a moment or behaviour of the machines I have to record the sounds, which is very basic. Since I started working with machines again I have been more focused on the sound itself, which was my original motivation.

In your biography, it is mentioned that you depict “a world saturated by meaningless information and societal complexities through a positive-nihilist kind of deconstruction of processes, structures and results.”

It comes from my approach of trying to understand each element of each process. I’m obsessed with details. Maybe this is not only about understanding things but also inverting some parts and changing them from the inside. This is another way to understand the world. We can work globally but we can also work by zooming and seeing a lot of details. When I work on a track, I like to see how each detail interferes with other details.

A structuralist way?

I consider all of these patches and resulting sounds as a building, a construction. This is maybe an approach of exploring everything, seeing how things can interfere with each other, and maybe trying to rebuild things.

You also visualise data.

I like to make sounds even more tangible. I’m working on visualisation systems. I’m trying to extract certain sound descriptors and with all these parameters – like volume, frequency, noisiness, other less usual parameters, etc – I can create various visuals – shapes. I’m using a lot of sound parameters and descriptors as the input of my visualisation systems.

Do you also work in the other way – sonifying visuals?

I’ve already tried to do that but this is another “science”, I would say. I’m more interested in sound as an input.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on a large project with my modular synthesizer – I’d like to make a taxonomy of each module and maybe try to find a way to write processes inside modular synthesizers. It could be a nice way to further explore all these possibilities in a more scientific way. I like experimenting without a plan, but at this moment I need a specific method, which I’m currently trying to design. Each of my future releases will be related to this bigger, core project. The idea is to be exhaustive and to try to test each possibility, which of course is absolutely impossible.

http://julienbayle.net

(Photo: Malo Lacroix)

Lawrence Le Doux

For nearly two decades now, Belgium’s Laurent Baudoux has been a pivotal figure in his country’s underground electronic music scene; he has been active as a member of groups such as Electrosold Collectif (alongside Mouse on Mars’ Jan St Werner) and working solo under a wide range of pseudonyms such as Sun OK Papi K.O. and Baleine 3000. Currently working under the name Lawrence Le Doux, Baudoux’s most recent releases for Brussels’ VLEK label have thrust him back into the international spotlight, receiving praise from the likes of Resident Advisor and Thump for his uniquely uplifting take on house and techno.

On releases such as the ‘Terrestre’ and ‘Pollution’ 12”s, Baudoux’s knack for creating otherworldly, dreamlike textures underpinned by pulsating, sun-soaked rhythms has marked him as one of electronic music’s true originals. And if Baudoux’s music mesmerises on record, the effect is even more pronounced live, where his utopian electronics are further bolstered by live guitar and bass to dazzling effect.

Download a press photo here. 

The voice of Stine Janvin Motland

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Stavanger born, Berlin based vocalist Stine Janvin Motland works with experimental music, sound and audiovisual performance. Through a diversity of projects such as the live radio play In Labour (2014), the collaborative performance installation The Subjective Frequency Transducer (2015), field recording adaptations duo Native Instrument (2015) and her most recent beat based solo project Stine II, she explores and challenges the physical features of the voice, the acoustics of her surroundings and new performance strategies.

Where are you at the moment?

I’m in Bergen for Borealis Festival. I’m here to do an installation called Incorporate with filmmaker Greg Pope and musician Lasse Marhaug.

Is it a new project?

It’s a commission from Borealis, but the initial idea came when Lasse and I were making my solo record In Labour, which was recorded in different sonic environments. This work with the voice and external surroundings made us interested in what is going on inside the body, and how this could be used as an accompaniment to the voice. We got Greg Pope to join us with the video and in the end the installation became a spatial audio visual construction of eight soaring speakers, cables and 42 spinning projector shutters.


You basically have these more permanent projects like Native Instrument that operate on a band sort of basis and new projects/commissions.

Native Instrument is definitely a band. That’s my ongoing collaboration with Felicity Mangan. There is also the performance installation The Subjective Frequency Transducer and my solo projects In Labour and the more beat based Stine II. I also perform other people’s music.

Were you always interested in working with the voice?

I´ve been singing most of my life and later on I got formal music and vocal education. However, I think I’ve always been interested in experimenting with sound, and when I was around 17 I got into the idea of using my voice in more unconventional ways.

Did it come from a need to deconstruct this traditional vocal training and delivery? The way you use your voice it becomes something unrecognisable, it’s an instrument.

My main interest in the voice is that it could sound like something else. I was hearing instrumentalists playing with what you call an extended technique exploring their instruments and I thought maybe I could do the same with my voice. I got interested in how to work with the voice as an instrument and a tool for improvisation, that was the start. Eventually I got more and more interested in performance and how to experiment with the performance format and communicate music. I was always aware about how to present music and I got increasingly interested in it in recent years. I’ve been working more with the performance format rather than conventional concert setting where the performer is on stage, directly communicating with the audience.

You’ve also played hidden, behind a curtain.

That’s my In Labour concert which is a live version of the record that I released in 2014. I wanted to see if it was possible to have a concert without a performer – a live performance with nothing to look at on stage, a pure listening experience. Sometimes it can also be a kind of a social experiment because people seem to be confused as they don’t know where to look. Their normal concert behaviour is challenged, which is basically what I wanted to do, to open up new ways of how to perform – for both me and the audience. But like the record, I´m moving through different rooms during the performance, transmitting the sound with a wireless microphone so I´m not just hiding behind the curtain.

A lot of people associate the voice with something soothing – as a baby you hear your mother’s voice and it calms you. In your performances, the voice can sometimes become scary.

I never intended it to be scary or provoke those kinds of feelings. I just work with the voice in an abstract way. Maybe it’s been a sort of dogma that I didn’t want go too far into these emotional provocative sounds that we associate with pain, joy or crying. Now I’m even more interested in working with this ambiguous aspect of sound and the idea of making sounds with my voice that sound electronic or mechanical. You can make sounds with a computer that sound like a voice, and vice versa.

Do you also work in the opposite way – creating synthetic voices?

I have been imitating a lot. I try to find ways where my voice can sound less like a voice. I also like to work with electronic sounds. But I don’t create sounds myself. I use recordings of the voice and I modify it with simple effects and filters to make it sound even more strange.

Are you inspired by any vocal traditions?

I’ve been listening to Siberian singers a lot. I’m also fascinated by Norwegian folk music and Sami traditions. I’ve been twice to Tuva in Siberia where I took some classes and attended a throat singing festival. I also like yodelling and techniques that are part of expanding the vocal potential. There’re so many things that you can do, but the Western classical vocal tradition is so limited. I try to experiment with all kinds of things and traditions and strange concepts.

You are planning a new record with Lasse Marhaug.

We are currently trying to gather the material. Hopefully it will be out by the end of this year.

Will it also include a performance aspect?

I am definitely working with the material with a live perspective.

How does a project translate into a performance?

It works in parallel. I’m thinking about it as a whole all the time. When I get one idea I see this could be great on a record and as a live performance, too. At the same time, I see the record as a piece on its own which will be finished when it´s printed and released. A performance can always be developed.

Can you talk about your piece The Subjective Frequency Transducer?

This is also a continuation of the In Labour project. After using all these external surroundings – outside my own body, in different rooms – I became interested in exploring the potential of combining the voice with my internal environment. When I started the research I also found a lot of theories and practices of these esoteric scientists who claimed that you can heal your body by playing certain frequencies, for example to your liver or heart. There are treatment methods called sound therapy and sound healing. I found this quite fascinating.

My first thought was to make something really clinical, almost medicinal. I wanted to see if it was possible to measure what sort of frequencies the body responded to and whether there was a sound inside us. But then I realised in order to do that you have to add information to find new information. So that’s how it became The Subjective Frequency Transducer because you can’t gather this kind of information objectively. I wanted to see if my voice could be accompanied by frequencies that I found in my body. With the help from artists Fredrik Olofsson and Marianne Vierø, I built an instrument that measures and regenerates body resonance. The live performance is interactive, and ends up inviting the audience to have their own body measured and the sound of it played back as a chord.

As we age, our voice changes too. Do you take this into consideration?

I was thinking about this the other day because I played a show and I was feeling tired in a different way than before. It will definitely change. But as with any instrument, you have to keep practising regularly to keep the voice in good shape. It’s like working out.

Marianne Faithfull’s voice famously changed due to her lifestyle.

It happened to lots of people, like Billie Holiday, who obviously lived a rough life. When you compare her early recordings with her later ones, it’s a very different sound. My interest in the voice has also changed – I used to do really pure, acoustic, vocal performances, with quite extreme sounds and techniques. A few years ago I got a little tired of this, and wanted to work more conceptually and minimally with my voice. At this point I think it´s time to combine these two approaches.

Do you think you’ll ever go back to this more traditional way of singing?

I’m interested in ambiguity. Something that could be many things. I like this idea, especially with the voice. Because usually it’s such a recognisable sound. Even within a wall of white noise, you can recognise it.

(photo: Camille Blake)

Special Resonance FM show on Susanna Gartmayer

Stream this one-hour special on Viennese bass clarinet player and composer Susanna Gartmayer, broadcast by Resonance FM as part of our collaborative series SHAPE artist hour.

Susanna Gartmayer is a Viennese musician, active in a number of projects. She studied painting and printmaking and is self trained in bass clarinet and composition. She is part of many ensembles of elusive musical genres, for example the experimental rock band Broken.Heart.Collector or The Vegetable Orchestra (music for instruments made of out of vegetables). She is participating in the SHAPE platform with three different projects – solo (based on her recording AOUI), Möström (with Tamara Wilhelm and Elise Mory) and a duo with filmmaker and electronic musician Brigitta Bödenauer. In this special sonic overview, she describes her work (solo and collaborations) and talks about her background.

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This October, Gartmayer will be performing at the 2016 edition of the musikprotokoll festival in Graz.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin

Raze de Soare mix for Radio Campus France

Stream a new mix by Romanian duo Raze de Soare, produced as part of SHAPE platform’s collaboration with radio network Radio Campus France and its weekly broadcast series Campus Club.

Ion Dumitrescu and Cosima Opartan established Raze de Soare as an homage to Romania’s much maligned music genre called manele, or proto-manele in their case, to be precise.  They recontextualised the hits of the genre’s foremost band Albatros and even released an EP named after the band.

This special mix is – in their words – “A pseudo-chronological journey through Romania’s wedding music and beyond, starting in the nineties. From proto-manele to R&B manele, sprinkled with some Egyptian classics and other Bulgarian and Albanian treats. Reaching contemporary (post-2010) manele and outernational electric-oriental.”