Spencer Yeh's voice is in stark contrast to Chang. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yeh moved to The United States when he was a child, and started his musical activities while growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio. The cassette MTR he stumbled upon in high school became the starting point for his interests in experimental film and to deepen his interests in "recording and editing.
He is now based in Brooklyn, New York where he interacts with the local avant-garde jazz scene and actively participates in sessions, freewheeling his noisy violin. Parallel to these are his unique voice performances that can be heard in his solo album "Solo Voice I-X" Another inspirational encounter he had during his formative years was Japanoise. After experiencing the unconventional usage of voice by Masona and Ai Yamatsuka, he started his own explorations in the possibilities of the voice.
His usage of voice focuses towards the material and sound media. Perhaps this is also filtered through his interests in "recording and editing. Sounds evocative of harsh electronic noises are produced by the tongue, teeth, palate, lips, or any part of the mouth and captured by the microphone to be processed and transposed in real-time.
Yeh's voice also has a non-meaning materiality. Although his process of sampling and cutting up makes the sounds unrecognizable, it still stands upon the fact that these sounds originate from the voice. The selection of the material seems to be crucial for his performances. This is probably the reason why he does not use his voice while he plays the violin and why he doesn't play the violin while he is using his voice. His action of rapidly moving his face left and right in front of the microphone to produce an intense beating sound is as if though he is wielding an extension of his mouth.
If Chang sees the microphone as another space to work with to transform the venue with a voice coming deep down her throat, then Yeh is embodying the microphone as his second oral cavity and creating a new musical world through recording and editing acoustics carved out by the shape of his mouth. We cannot pinpoint a localism on Yeh who immigrated to The United States at a young age but the "calling" that is reconstructed through his voice becomes itself a location where we can find the origin of his music.
One of the goals of AMF since the beginning is "to explore new collaboration models for new musical possibilities together with artist coming from various different backgrounds. AMF has utilized not only music venues but also museums and elementary schools for their concerts.
The presentation format has also varied: small groups of three to four players, overlapping array of musicians playing one after another, playing in a large circle facing each other, and scattered around in a large space moving freely around. They have presented numerous ways to work that are specific to each location but at the core is always trying to find a method where musicians from different backgrounds can make music happen through improvisation. Why improvisation?
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One reason is perhaps because they were trying to create a way to play together without a center. The performance of a composition, whether the composer actually exists or not, will always move towards a privileged center. With improvisation the performers are always at the center and each performer becomes responsible for creating multiple centers. There are various ways to improvise, but if it leans towards a specific genre of music then that musical style becomes the center and artists from different backgrounds cannot establish an equal relationship.
In order to be equal there cannot be any tendency towards a specific genre and a free improvisation must take place. Conventionally, for free improvisation, there needed to be an intention and an active participation to the performance from each musician. However, we must question if free improvisation can just be an active act. Compared to the performance of composed music, which is more of a passive act of playing sounds that were predetermined by the composer, improvisation could be considered more active because the performer has to decide each of the sounds that will be played.
But what if we compare this to the act of composing? Sounds are actively controlled in composition. Every sound written on the score has a meaning, and is placed by the will of the composer. Does that mean that if we want to truly improvise freely we must possess an even stronger will to this passiveness?
Let's draw out another line. While untangling the history of the voice of a verb, philosopher Koichiro Kokubun writes the following in The World of Middle Voice. The "middle voice" is not defined by being in between active and passive.
The middle voice, which is in opposition to this, describes a process where the subject becomes a placeholder for the verb. Therefore the subject is within the process. Composition and improvisation are the same act but with a different voice. One cannot measure freedom based on the existence of a will to "perform or acted upon.
The contrast between a and a is interesting. Appl Acoust , 12— During his performance at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum he also collected sounds from metal plates connected to a contact microphone and the source were not exclusively from the bass. Crocker EC: Flavor. Most characteristically, iu is used to indicate or imply certain sounds by "quoting" them with the use of words known as gioNgo "sound-mimicking words. May where support for Latin scripts or left-to-right-top-to-bottom scripts only is required Shall where support for any non left-to-right-top-to-bottom script is required. I never intend to comment on whether his methods of learning a language is valid, because I did not continue to read the article.
Therefore we must reconsider what is "free" in improvisation that is based on the notion of a will that is "acting upon. However, as we see a new grammar called "non-idiomatic improvisation" born out this history, we realize that this was just another attempt to work together by sharing a common language. One cannot deny that these were a revival of modernism and at the end of pursuing "non-idiomatic improvisation" there was a standstill between nothingness and complete randomness.
Let us draw yet another line. If a word can connect with any word then "it will not be able to retain a separate singular meaning. Chiba finds "pleasurable particularities " in "traces of incidental and strong encounters" as an opportunity to cut off the "multiplicity of environments. Therefore this is what I propose. First we must become aware of the "idiom" that we stand upon.
Then to remove it. However, not removing everything, but to be aware that we always have to depend on some kind of "idiom. AMF made possible a collaboration that could only be recognized after the fact, where artists come together to play and pursue an "experimental" process of violating and deviating from each of their local musical backgrounds. This was an equal collaboration that doesn't deny any "idiom" nor try to unite to one, and that moves between multiple "idioms" based on a local "experimentalism.
This was at the core of the various formations of group improvisation that was put into practice and what AMF aspired as a new "collaboration model. Ethnomusicologist Curt Sachs wrote; "the fundamental notion between vocal music and instrumental music is completely different. Sachs referred to the later to be made possible through "virtuosic movements of the hand", and Derek Bailey referencing Sachs called the instrument "something to create an impulse as well as to receive it" and placed it as the most important origin for a musician.
It does not start as an extension of the body but rather an attempt to "directly" realize the composer's mind - perhaps better described as an extension of the cranial nervous system. An electronic music work can complete itself without the intervention of the performer. There is a fundamental break from the body. What meaning is there to perform electronic music in a live situation that exposes the body? One of the pioneers Henri Pousseur described live electronics in the United States after John Cage as; "an reaction to rationalism and against the excessive trust on methods of calculation, conceptualization, abstraction that further distances itself from the reality of practice and intuition.
We can find a body that is unique to the live performance within the textures of sounds that are collected or the movements that manipulate the sounds. A new world opens by activating the cranial nervous system through "virtuosic movements of the hand. Born in the former capital of Myanmar, Yangon, Musica Htet is a double bass and electronic musician who is developing a unique practice.
His reasoning to study abroad was to learn about recording and audio technology but as a result this became his path towards "experimental" music.
Studying under Brian O'Reilly of Black Zenith, his interests moved towards music that emphasizes on textures and producing musique concrete-inspired electronic music. He returned to Yangon in , and two years later he initiated "Noise in Yangon" 5 emerging as a leading figure in the scene.
This community was started through organizing live concerts, and for Htet, electronic music is not only something fixed in a recording but something to actively explore its possibilities through live performances. As he showed us at AMF, his sounds are collected from his playing of the base and processed on his laptop to create an abstract drone that is densely layered like an oil painting, gently drifting and folding over each other. With such an abstracted sound, the necessity of the bass in his practice may seem negligible. During his performance at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum he also collected sounds from metal plates connected to a contact microphone and the source were not exclusively from the bass.
However, if you listen to the sounds before they are processed you will understand that he is fully exploiting the rich resonance of the bass. At many moments he will use arco bowing techniques and carefully determine where and how to place his bow in angel and speed.
He sometimes prepares the bass with objects or hits it with a stick to create sounds with similar textures to electronic sounds. He carefully observes whomever he is playing together with and applies the appropriate real-time processing to the sounds. The performing body is encoded in to the resonance of the sound at a microscopic level.
According to Htet, the bass is his "path" to music, and is a starting point for everything he does. It is the origin of his music that creates an impulse as well as to receive it. His interests in recording and audio technology set him on an "experimental" path, and has led him to develop a unique musical identity that explores a new direction in using the bass to encode the body within the electronic processing of sound. Compared to Htet's live electronics, Caliph8's body is more in the manipulation of the source material.
However, at the center of his art is always hip hop and sampling.
Growing up in the West Coast of The United State during his formative years where gangsta rap was at its peak, Caliph8 emphasizes that his roots in hip hop are in Manila before he left for the States. Already in the 80's hip hop was popular in Manila, and he would listen to sounds that blasted from his neighbor's room who was a hip hop DJ.
That experience alone is quintessentially hip hop. Regardless of the original musical context and treating each sound equally as a source material, hip hop's sampling culture places pop music, jazz, noise, classical music all next to each other. What Caliph8 describes as "storytelling", he emphasizes on the process of placing sounds into a new environment that will shine light on works of the past from new angle and context.
After returning to Manila, Caliph8 has led the underground music scene as the "storyteller" through his various outputs.