Hear Dynamons’ NTS Radio mix

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Athens-based Ilias Pitsios (aka Dynamons) is the co-founder of the Greek label Echovolt and Into The Light Records. His DJ sets are rooted in classic and leftfield dance music approaches with a modern twist. Listen to his NTS Radio DJ set below.

Tracklist: 
Chris Spheeris • Paul Voudouris – Prism

Akis – Erotica
Better Days – B3
Vangelis Katoulis – Slipping Beauty LP
Sakamoto – A1
The Igniters on Midnite Spares
Japanese not Japanese track
Experiments with Pain
Late Night with Mortal Coil
Lullaby on Night Land
Space & Time with Deux Filles
Muted Calm Zone
Before Wilson it was Tanner Lotus
Ścierański bass
Wind Dance

Light, body, space, music: An interview with Julien Desprez

Julien Desprez

Julien was born in Paris. He taught himself to play the guitar before joining the E.N.M.D. of Yerres, headed by Manuel and Patricio Villaroel, then later attended the jazz department in Montreuil, led by Mano Vallois. He obtained a D.E.M and received a jazz golden medal. He later embraced a more experimental, abrasive sound, which he’s pursued in numerous projects, such as Acapulco Redux and Brazil Mash-up. He was one of the SHAPE artists performing at Novas Frequências  festival in December 2016.

What have you been up to recently?

My last show was on Saturday night. I play in a band where we make techno with instruments. It is music for the dance floor. I use the guitar and some pedals. The guitar becomes a kind of a controller. We have two guitars, one bass, drums, and electronics. We usually play at around 1 or 2am – techno mood. I’m also working on a new project, which is similar to my solo project, Acapulco Redux. We are working with a choreographer, lights, and a band. We’re also planning to do (video) mapping. Next week we are researching our band set-up, how to disconnect our various sounds, how to use the musician’s body and movement. As for the lights, we’re interested in questioning what you see. The same goes for video. There’s no narrative; it’s about changing the space.

It’s interesting, because you started in jazz.

I started to play the guitar when I was 16. I played Nirvana with my friends. Gradually, I discovered free jazz. My school was focused on traditional jazz. We were studying famous jazz-standards, how to play solos, etc. The other part of the curriculum was focused on improvised music, and I’ve been into that ever since. Subsequently, I discovered noise music. I began my solo project, Acapulco, which was only about sound. I sit down and use the guitar as a controller – I fight the guitar, and play pedals with my feet. That puts my body into action. I’ve played a lot of gigs with this project, and each time I played with it, people kept asking me whether I was a dancer. But the only thing I thought about was sound. We also decided to use light in the same way I use guitar pedals; push the button and control light in the same way I control sound. The choreographer pushed me into a “dancer space” and asked me to do some movements, but that wasn’t exactly my place because I’m not a dancer. We wanted to use the body in a natural way. We discovered that it was fun when the intensity of the music got very high, which put my body into a kind of explosion. The question was more about how to find this moment, where sound gets connected to the body. Acapulco Redux  premiered one year ago and I’ve played it maybe ten or fifteen times since. Today, my vision is completely different. I’ve become more used to using my body and space.

In your performances, you are probably looking for some kind of intensity, aren’t you?

I like really intense music where sound becomes physical. Intensity for me is a thing that allows you to jump over the line between, for instance, music and space. It stays undefined, so you can switch between them.

You also do quite a number of other projects, like Brazil Mashup.

Brazil Mashup is a project that I have with a collective of musicians from Paris called Coax. I’m one of the project’s artistic directors. Each member of the collective has to propose something. We also include video. Three screens and the musicians surround the audience, so it’s an immersive piece. We created a game where each musician has to write a piece for the screen device. The video has to come from the web and must be connected to the hashtag “Brazil”. We chose the hashtag because Brazil is completely crazy and there’s everything in this country. It has a lot of possibilities. For each show, we create a new mashup video, plus the music. It’s a bit like a happening where you have rules, but you also get lost all the time.

Is there a common thread that runs through all of your projects?

There are two ways to practise art: to focus on a concept or to focus on the rules. The position I take is different each time. On the other hand, since I come from the world of improvisation, I really like to improvise in order to meet people, like at Novas Frequencias. I played my solo show a few times, but I also improvised with people from different musical aesthetics. I try to connect with that. I don’t want to play in bands where the focus is on improvisation per se, it’s more about improvisation as some kind of food.

So you can basically play with anyone?

Yes. I’m looking for a space that is undefined, and this space then defines what is done and gives it a meaning.

Do you have a special technique that you developed?

There are many ways to play the guitar. You can play it like a traditional instrument, but you can also play it like a computer. I mix both of these techniques to create a wall of sound. I have a special technique where my arms do something with the guitar and my feet do stuff on the pedals. It’s like an expanding instrument. My technique is closer to that of a drummer than a guitar player; I use my arms, feet, legs. To prepare for my project Acapulco Redux, I watched a lot of tap dance videos to learn how to use the weight of my body and feet. I’m trying to reinvent my technique all the time. I try to follow what I feel.

Do you also play other instruments?

Before – to earn money – I used to be a guitar teacher. I didn’t like it too much, but they also had drums there, so I learned to play drums that way.

Do you have any influences in terms of playing?

I guess my first big influence was Jimi Hendrix, of course. I also like the American guitarist Bill Frisell. He has a huge technique, but he doesn’t use it. It seems really simple, but it’s actually very complex. I’ve never been into guitar tricks too much though.

Lift-off: An interview with Mike Rijnierse

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Mike Rijnierse (1974) is a Dutch artist, performer and educator working in the fields of light, sound and architecture. He is intrigued by sensory experience, whether visual, acoustic, spatial, or cross-sensory and synesthesia, creating installations, performances, public interventions and often collaborating with other disciplines. For over a decade, Rijnierse has developed a meticulous study on the interaction between light, pigment and the retina. He gave a concrete form to his discoveries in installations, projections and light designs with CYMRGB, Lumokinese, and CUBE, which have been widely exhibited in and outside of Europe. His most recent installation RELIEF, based on the principle of echolocation by means of ultrasound, premiered at Novas Frequencias Festival 2016, in Rio de Janeiro. Furthermore Mike Rijnierse is known for his monumental sound installations in public space, such as THX: INT’L (landing strip) (TodaysArt 2007), Station to Station (TodaysArt 2008), KLOK (TodaysArt 2015), 5,4,3,2,1…Lift-Off  (TodaysArt 2015). 

Have you always been interested in both sound and image?

When I started I was looking for something that was more open to any medium. I noticed that, for instance, fine art was still focused on very old media. And I studied at an art school that encouraged interdisciplinary investigation, involving music, theatre, abstract cinema and sound art.

So you never leant towards one specific medium, even as a child?

Never. I grew up with parents that worked very hard and didn’t have much of a cultural background. The next James Bond movie was usually the cultural highlight. In 1984, I saw Wim T. Schippers’ work on primetime TV news. Wim T. Schippers is one of the most prominent Fluxus artists from the Netherlands, whom I’ve admired since then. He directed a theatre play with shepherd dogs (it’s called ‘Going to the dogs’). All the celebrities went to see the play at the City Theater of Amsterdam, including the actress Monique van der Ven whom I adored as a ten year-old kid. When those celebrities came out of the theatre they didn’t know how to respond to the piece. I was so impressed that someone had managed to execute that – that made me decide to become an artist myself. When I was 16 I wanted to become legally separated from my parents – not that I didn’t like my parents – I just wanted to get the hell out of the place I was living in, Epe, a small town in the east of Netherlands. But in retrospect, I’m happy they didn’t allow me to do so.

And then you moved to the Hague?

First I went to Tilburg and started studying journalism. I wanted to make documentary films, and I realised that it was not possible at that university. Then I applied to the film academy in Amsterdam. I was rejected and eventually found the Interfaculty Image and Sound at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, today known as ArtScience Interfaculty.

You now teach at an Art Academy where you also develop instruments.

Yes, I teach Interactive Media Design at ArtEZ, Arnhem. I encourage students to break apart old devices so they start to understand how they are built. They have to modify them and create new interfaces and instruments so they don’t have to spend 30 euros on a new motor, but can grab an old washing machine from the street and use its motor if they need one.

Do you notice any differences between the various generations of students that you teach?

There’s one student in the course that I’m teaching who was home-schooled by his parents. And he excels! He has always done what he wanted to. I noticed people who go to regular schools only start finding their way when they get older.

How did you start doing public installations / interventions?

When I was studying at the conservatory, I attended concerts with quadraphonic setups, which in the 1990s was quite exciting. And then they would put chairs for the audience, which I thought was ridiculous. You make a spatial sound piece, and expect the audience to sit down and listen to it that way. After those experiences I started playing around with other kinds of setup with sound and light. The light work in general doesn’t exist without an architectonic context.

But you prefer an environment outside of the white-cube gallery space?

It depends. I don’t have a preference. When I start working on a piece, the work will demand what it wants. A work for a white cub is another sort of work, you can repeat it. In most public interventions, there’s no sense in copying it to another context.

So you don’t restage interventions in different cities?

If you open up the concept, of course you can adjust it to a different location, but without doing so, it would be just a copy. That wouldn’t make sense in most cases.

As a band, you have the same setlist during a tour.

That is something else. I also collaborate with a music-theatre group, Rosa. We develop performances as an ensemble, a band. When you make live performances, you get better each time you play.

What is the motivation behind these site-specific projects – to engage with the city and the public or test your ideas in such an organic, albeit contingent environment?

We all experience public space differently, but if you look around you realise people should enjoy it more. If you see the possibilities in your environment, you will enjoy it more. My motivation is to make people appreciate it more.

So in your work, you are also interested in improving the environment rather than creating an artwork for its own sake?

Absolutely. I want to share my joy.

Can you talk about the project that you presented at Novas Frequências?

That project derives from another project I was working on in 2005 during TodaysArt Festival in The Hague. It’s a large-scale spatialisation of sound. I was approached to do something on the main street of The Hague. I had the opportunity to play sound for two days in the city centre, from noon to midnight, listening to reflections from different buildings. Afterwards I went to have a beer on the central square and realised that I lost my short-range hearing. I had to adapt back to the human range. I hadn’t been communicating with people during those hours, but only with the city and its architecture. I was on this square and I couldn’t hear the conversations, but I could hear the noise of the crowd reflected on the facade of the building on the other side of the square. I literally could hear the relief of the facades. Then I thought about offering this experience back to an audience. Later I worked with ultrasound speakers. I admire the work of Jan van Schoonhoven, a Dutch artist from the Zero Movement, who made reliefs. So I got inspired by the idea of an audible relief. That is where RELIEF derives from, the project I presented with Rob Bothof at Novas Frequências.

Your landing strip THX: The Hague Int’l project, which transformed the city of Hague into an international airport, was also impressive. 

That was very lucky. It came two years after the echolocation experience in the city centre. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I got approached to do it again, but I didn’t want to repeat the same project, so I suggested to make a landing strip for spacecrafts. I was looking forward to challenge myself to make spacecraft sounds.

When you do installations and projects, do you consider them a commentary or statement?

Fine art can focus a lot on creating objects. But for me, the object is not so important. It’s about the interaction between objects and their architectural context, the experience that if offers to the audience. I’ve actually never sold anything. If it makes the work better, I don’t mind not selling it. I have my view on the world, which is then translated into the work. But this is not done literally.

Could you specify – how does it manifest?

For example, I like the Zero Movement because they tried to open previous situations, Fluxus did it as well. If you want to really make a difference in this world, then art should do that just like an engineering would improve the world. I get very frustrated when people don’t create spaces for each other.

Nowadays, the tendency is to close down spaces – privatise them and remove them from the public realm.

People are absolutely not aware of it. I’ve noticed that a lot of artists are very ignorant about this as well. As long as you have a gallerist, everything is fine. And that’s the wrong direction.

http://mikerijnierse.nl/

Matthias Härtig

»Flow1« by DS-X.org
»Flow 1« is an audiovisual installation based on the music by Dresden-based musician Escape Now! (Jörg Kreutzer). The visuals are generated in real time using the frequency, loudness and dynamic in his music. The visuals show us time in sound, a continued visual flow of sound.

Matthias Härtig
Born in 1977, engineer in the arts, programmer for artistic interactive visual applications, real-time- visual environments, living in Dresden. Initiator of the working cooperative DS-X.org, founding member of the Trans-Media Akademie Hellerau (TMA). He collaborates with Frieder Weiss on many projects to develop interactive visuals especially designed for use with dance, theatre, music and computer arts, based on the video sensing programme Kalypso (developed by Frieder Weiss). Together with Ulf Langheinrich, he is developing a modular toolkit based on MAX and Open GL. Other ongoing collaborations with: Johanna Roggan, shotAG, Phase7 and Waldorfschule Dresden.

Download press photo here. 

Flow 1 from ds-x.org on Vimeo.

Oriole mix for Radio Campus France

Listen to an exclusive SHAPE mix by Latvian beatmaker Oriole, created for the French radio station network Radio Campus. The mix is comprised entirely of Oriole’s own productions.

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Oriole is one of the pioneers of the Dirty Deal Audio collective; a beat-maker and producer with a unique style. He has been making music for more than ten years and is one of the most recognized representatives of this field in Latvia. He marches onto new sonically experimental territories and ideas that often surprise not only the fans and listeners, but the other members of the collective, as well. Oriole has taken part in more than 100 albums and releases as beat-maker, while in the latter years he’s more often seen and heard playing his beats live. He has taken part in many events and festivals in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland and Norway.

Track list:

Are You There? 
Shine
Coins
Siren
Tribal
Prophet
Matrix VS Cats
Unreleased 
Go 
Drastically
Zebra Dance 
Bellyful
Gold Digger
Unreleased
We Don’t Give a Fuck
Selection
Light Child
$$$ (w. Holy Water)
A Long Hot Summer
Dancing In The Moonlight
Unreleased
Flow
Konect
Rip Up The Place (w/ Teacha)
Unreleased
Crazy Oriole Song
Hip Pop
My Green Star
Alive

Oriole has been nominated to the SHAPE platform alongside artist Linda Konone by Skaņu Mežs festival.

Photos: SHAPE @ CTM Festival 2017

The 18th edition of the annual showcase of “adventurous music and art”, CTM Festival, took place between 27 January and 5 February 2017 in Berlin. Gathering a refreshingly diverse array of artists, speakers, researchers and sonic activists under the main theme “Fear, Anger, Love”, CTM Festival hosted a number of events across Berlin. “CTM 2017 Fear Anger Love seeks to present musicians and artists that are working with emotion in various ways to respond to urgent societal issues and conflicts that increasingly seem to be emotionally driven.” Similarly to last year, a number of SHAPE artists – current or alumni – took part at this year’s edition (ordered chronologically): Charlotte Bendiks, Boska, Mr Mitch, Thomas Ankersmit, Stefan Fraunberger, Sky H1, Stine Janvin Motland, Amnesia Scanner, Lorenzo Senni, N.M.O., Stara Rzeka, Toxe. The annual music-making (hacking) workshop, MusicMakers Hacklab, also took place again this year with SHAPE’s support.

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Photos: Stefanie Kulisch, Camille Blake, Andres Bucci, Udo Siegfriedt © CTM Festival

 

 

Chlorys: ‘I believe in professional amateurship’

chlorys 3 - by Larisa Balta

Chlorys is a DJ, visual artist and soon-to-be-cyborg based in Bucharest. After only one year of trekking through the murky & engulfing waters of electronic music, Chlorys became a member of the Queer Night DJ family. During this relatively short time span, she has played alongside Lena Willikens, Borusiade, Khidja, Holy Fix, Utopus, L-Vis 1990 etc. and was part of the Rokolectiv Festival 2016 roster. Her music selection spans electronica, disco, minimal and beyond. She situates herself (or not) everywhere in-between or outside of the genre-formula, letting herself be seized by the limbo currents into undisclosed territories.

Your background is in visual arts and music. Can you talk about it?

To be frank – academically speaking – my musical background is close to 0, but I tend to find that extremely stimulating in a sense that it provides me with endless paths that can be undertaken. I believe in professional amateurship, if you may. I’m still trying to develop a mechanism that might enable me to fuse them in some sort of composite between the visual and the musical. I think Lena Willikens is trying to do something similar with her Phantom Kino Ballet.

Can you talk about your sonic aesthetic and how you craft it? Your mixes have a special atmosphere: mysterious, eerie, hypnotic.

I often spend time questioning why I choose to play certain sounds and what’s the mechanism behind them that immediately draws my attention. I usually play tracks that have a supernatural feel to them, while also trying to convey a more fleshy taste.

Can you talk about the Queer Night event and your involvement in it?

Queer Night is the lovechild of Cosima Opârtan, Ion Dumitrescu (both in Raze de Soare) & Paul Dunca. It came to fruition out of the very urgent need to establish a more coagulated LGBTQIA+ scene here in Bucharest. It aims to provide a sense and place of empowerment for all the outcasts, while parasiting on/hacking various venues around town, one of them being the Guesthouse, a temple of the minimal scene, which sometimes nests misogynistic and homo-antagonistic discourses. My debut gig actually took place at a Queer Night and it provided me with enough exposure to get noticed. I regularly play at their parties, which I find the closest to my inner realms.

“Chlorys emphasizes a multi and interdisciplinary approach to music and is concerned about its socio-political context.” Can you explain? Is politics and a wider socio-political aspect important to your work?

Music has always been political, especially club music. I feel a strong urge to pay respect to that. Our Corp project is an immediate and necessary reaction to that. Especially in a devoutly Christian environment, it’s imperative that we foster awareness when it comes to feminist and queer issues.

Can you talk about the electronic music scene in Bucharest?

The underground electronic scene is pretty alienating and divided. On the one hand we have the (in)famous sacrosanct minimal scene, and on the other, the rest of the electronic topographies, be it house, techno, experimental etc. They scarcely draw the same crowd with a broad understanding of the complexities of music. Paradoxically, that palpable gap renders a nurturing environment for new discourse and ventures.

You are part of corp, a new collective for female musicians and performers. Can you talk about this initiative?

corp. is a project, a platform and a booking agency which encompasses musical and visual endeavours. It aims to represent and showcase female-identified DJ talent in electronic music, while also being dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds, spanning experimental and traditional forms, from the centre, the netherworld and beyond. The project’s main, urgent drive is to open and sustain a studio where women will have the luxury of a space and time which would help them to further develop their skills.
We’re also focusing on developing a go-to accessible archive for podcasts made by female DJs. We already have a mix from Nene Hatun, Borusiade and others will soon follow.

Hear our latest Resonance FM show with Thomas Ankersmit, Stefan Fraunberger and Boska

TA at Lampo, Chicago (photograph by Alex Inglizian)

On this edition of our SHAPE radio show on Resonance 104.4fm, we talked to artists who played at this year’s CTM Festival in Berlin. Their approach to music-making varies from working with infrasound and destroyed church organs, to deconstructing grime and house. Thomas Ankersmit is a musician and composer based in Berlin. His work has been released on labels like Touch and PAN. Ankersmit has long-term collaborations with New York minimalist Phill Niblock and Italian composer Valerio Tricoli. He is interested in acoustic phenomena such as sound reflections, infrasonic vibration, otoacoustic emissions and directional projections of sound. He presented his new site-specific composition “Infra”, which explores the musical and perceptual potential of infrasound, at Berghain as part of CTM Festival on 31 January.

Stefan Fraunberger is an Austrian composer and sound-performer with a distinct interest in transformation. Engaging in an electro-acoustic dialogue with unconventional instruments such as dulcimers or decaying baroque church organs, his music reshapes the liminal conditions of culture and perception, while evoking images of sonic ambiguity. Boska started producing sparse, UK-influenced house in Norway’s infamous techno capital Tromsø. His music balances intuition and inventiveness, channelling ghetto house, ballroom and grime through the time scope of techno.