The continuing intensity of environmental, social, political and economic crises re-interrogate our ways of sharing and of being together. In the current health context and when it’s particularly important to bring out new stories and possible futures, Maintenant festival is launching a new online format of listening. ensemble is a one-hour podcast series that allow artists to propose something else about what they are experiencing.
With ensemble, artists takes a look at the state of the world and bears witness to the changes in our contemporary society.
Produced by Maintenant Festival, FR
ENSEMBLE 013 - Noémi Büchi : Le réel à l'état brut
Art, directly or indirectly, is the expression of a conscious or unconscious metaphysical concern, and this is what makes it both valuable and depreciable, indispensable and superfluous. Its content is in this sense unclassifiable - whereas in today's world everything is classified, evaluated and rated. We live in paradoxical societies, of anxiety, of occult forces and at the same time of ingenuity and aesthetic brilliance. In parallel with societal movements that refuse or question classical models, such as those of gender, patriarchy and social categories, art today is retreating from normative ideas and feeding on a new rational and moral freshness.
The subtle influence of these societal transformations engages contemporary musical research towards a dissolution of fixed models, while at the same time drawing inspiration from them. The beauty and strength of new ideas is to use the richness of possibilities and at the same time to escape from them. By amplifying reality through non-utilitarian works and activity, music makes us not understand it, but touch it. It is the profound expression of the mystery that defines our human condition and not a commodity to be bought and sold in the sense of the world of evaluation and classification. The pieces and interview excerpts chosen for this podcast reflect this paradoxical world that is both disturbing and exhilarating. They echo the density of the world with its violence, its decay, its fragility, but also its power, its ingenuity and its beauty. The overcoming of genres as well as the reappropriation of heterogeneous elements from classical music, jazz, film music, folk music, recall the complex thickness of the world through musical reminiscences belonging to the collective memory that awaken strange connections. A musical universe that touches the real in its raw state.
🇫🇷 ‣ https://bit.ly/ENSEMBLE013🇬🇧 ‣ https://bit.ly/ENSEMBLE013-EN
ENSEMBLE 012 - Emmanuelle Parrenin : La maison intérieure
The inner home is a reflection of our inner world. It’s a repository, a sanctuary, a safe place that needs neither windows, nor walls, or doors. A place to take shelter when needing to keep one’s integrity in the midst of the injunctions of this world. It’s also a space that vibrates, that resonates, and that seeks out what knows within us.
The resonance of my childhood home has left a deep impact on me, and it has always been part of me. I heard my father's string quartet rehearse tirelessly all day. Through the interpretation and the energy of the musicians, I could already perceive the intentions and the general mood, and also the notes, the phrasings in color by synesthesia. This created a constant sense of wonder in me.
The trials of life have led me to practice care, guidance and listening, to perceive how someone's home resonates, to enter into its resonance as one enters into the dance. With my instruments, I put myself on the same frequency to amplify the voices, to assess whether it’s necessary to clean up, to help vibrate what needs to emerge and grow. This practice gradually led me to create my own music therapy tool: maïeuphonie*.
*a therapeutic approach invented by Emmanuelle Parrenin, allowing her to give birth to all the voices that inhabit us and to seek the ones who have never had the right to speak.
ENSEMBLE 011 - Aho Ssan : Hors temps
Temporality takes root everywhere: in our words, our feelings, everyday objects. It is all around us when we pay attention to it. Many people think time is our enemy, because we give it too much importance.
I would have preferred not to give this creation a name, but I decided to call it “Hors temps” (out of time). This mix aims to move us away from the grip of time, to feel a new mental space and to question our achievements. Music is a fundamental tool to experience different states to come: meditative state, auditory trance, space of escape… so many names, so many forms.
Since my first experience ‘out of time’, I tirelessly try to come back to it. I still remember in high school listening to “I Wonder” by Kanye West in my bedroom and being propelled into a whirlwind of totally unknown emotions. Was it a second, a minute or maybe an hour? Then again with “Getting There” by Flying Lotus, photography by Khalil Joseph, movements by Storyboard P, voice by Niki Randa. How is it possible ? The last work that propelled me out of time was the movie “Elephant still sitting”. Incredible experience of more than 4 hours carried out by Ho Bu, student of Béla Tarr, another director who tries to erase temporality. The intertwined destinies and complex links between different characters that are developed there, are themes that are also found in my work. This podcast is dedicated to Ho Bu
ENSEMBLE 010 - Marina Herlop : Cuando c**o se dice ole
The nature of our current time, amplified by social media and pop culture, has generated a concept of the artist as a winner or idol. In order to legitimize themselves, musicians are exhorted to follow ‘celebrity canons’: having a flashy image or making flashy music, being charismatic, being successful. The creative process is often seen as esoteric and associated with cryptic and vague concepts such as ‘inspiration’, ’talent’, ‘expression’ or ‘freedom’, so it seems music is created magically, in a spontaneous way.
As a reaction to this phenomenon, the interview excerpts in this podcast come to remind us that the music profession still consists for a lot of us on a profound devotion. The stress is not on the subject but on the sonic object they generate through constant dedication, a nerd and perseverant investigation, many times in loneliness, where frustration, failure and alienation take place. The compositor or interpreter is not anything but a mere channel of expression of something much bigger than their own persona.
Parallelly, the tracks chosen for this podcast also resonate with this idea. This music arouses admiration and interest precisely because it doesn’t look like a desperate claim for attention but a beautiful consequence of this commitment with something pure that comes from a superior order. The popularity or circumstance in which the artist lives is something absurd in comparison to what is laying in the realm they can enter when they make music.
ENSEMBLE 009 - Sofie Birch : Cycle of Metamorphosis
“It feels like certain patterns of movement exist both on big societal scales and in the smallest everyday life. Something might break or crystalize, something might force you to adapt or inspire you to change shape, morph into something new.
I have always been interested in transformation. Sometimes I got caught in the thought that I had to change myself for the better. But I found that it is not about changing, but about existing in a constantly changing flow of polarities, ups and downs.
With this sound piece I have worked with eight different steps of a cyclic pathway that can go on forever in a loop. There is no right or wrong place to begin or end the loop. Every step of the path will come eventually and lead to the next step. Flow. Friction. Shatter. Zoom. Ray. Morph. Entity. Space… Flow.
The cycle of metamorphosis moves between elements of struggle, puzzles, alteration, and revelation. As an alternative to the theories of new beginnings on clean slates, ground zeros or linearly progresses, this cycle plays with the repetition of time. New worlds are built from old ones, new life springs from former life. We are all part of cycles: ecological, historical and spiritual. We can learn how to be present and patient knowing that everything moves and changes again.”
ENSEMBLE 008 - Jiska Huizing & Rudi Valdersnes : Voicing a Landscape
"Outside environments suddenly came more into focus because of Covid-19, which forced us to shift our attention to our close surroundings and even as close to us as our bodies. Because of this, there has been a renewal of appreciation for the outside environments that are available to us and hopefully, this appreciation and caring attention will be remembered while the world opens up and afterwards, and extended to more and more places. The podcast focuses on a selection of tracks that show different ways of paying careful attention to a surrounding or place. For example, through the amount of time spend in a certain place to record or create it, or through the way the piece gives a voice to a place or landscape, shows hidden sights and lets it take up space. All the tracks are made in Norway and together they offer a kaleidoscopic view of different landscapes and places in this country, and the caring presence humans can have in our surroundings."