THE BODY IMITATES THE LANDSCAPE
For tape, transducer speakers and ensemble.
In memory of Robert Ashley (1930-2014).
The music on this album originates in the interactive sound installation
by artist Adi Hollander: she designed a collection of ergonomic objects that are meant to transform music into vibrations felt through the entire body. Hollander was inspired by the Japanese book The Body Imitates the Landscape Karada by Michitaro Tada about the ‘school of the body’. Hollander and Claudio F. Baroni made a live version of the installation where Baroni's music, performed by Maze, was experienced live by the public. As it was channeled through the objects, the public could at once hear the music in the space and feel it in their bodies.
This album features 11 pieces, each, as in the book
Karada, dedicated to a part of the body. Baroni has written those 11 pieces for the MAZE Ensemble around recorded whispered voices. This is Baroni's third collaboration with Unsounds. It comes with liner notes by Reinaldo Laddaga ( , Things That A Mutant Needs To Know ). The Men From Russia
This album is a CD and Digital release.
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Anne La Berge - alto flute
Gareth Davis - bass clarinet
Reinier van Houdt - keyboards
Wiek Hijmans - electric guitar
Dario Calderone - double bass
with Enric Monfort - percussion
Claudio F. Baroni - live electronics
Liner notes by Reinaldo Laddaga:
While listening for the first time to the piece that Claudio F. Baroni composed on the basis of a collection of phrases taken from Karada, an essay by Michitaro Tada about the figures of the body in the Japanese tradition, I thought of a different text, a poem by Henri Michaux: "Le timbre décolle des voix / Les façades ne coïncident plus avec les édifices / La langue aussi a plongé. Mots en attente de sens / Simultanément ampleur / Ampleur est venue." "The timbre comes off the voices / The facades no longer coincide with the buildings / Also the language has fallen. Words waiting for meaning / Simultaneously amplitude / Amplitude has arrived "("Glissement," "Sliding" is the title). I suppose I thought about Michaux's fragment because the relationship between the voices and the instruments in The Body Imitates the Landscape evokes the relationship between masks and the faces they cover, which is analogous to that between façades and buildings. Masks or façades are the phrases uttered by voices which seem to have been carved and hollowed: filters eroded their volume so that they could be crossed by a procession of instrumental figures.
Soon I stopped imagining masks in their usual, vertical position. I let them turn in my mind and direct the holes of their eyes upwards, each of them becoming a vault. "Simultaneously amplitude": amplitude –I thought– has arrived, and, under the vaults made of phrases, a band of performers congregate. They assemble to interpret the messages that rain over them, to gather the dust that results from the crumbling of the voices. They propose tentative chords that don’t fully form or we hear as they disperse –in the manner, perhaps, of Morton Feldman. “The timbre comes off the voices,” which, as they continue their procession, leave sonic trails not unlike the foamy stelae that mark the passing of a boat.
Listening to the piece is like observing a façade after another façade in an unfamiliar street, a mask after another mask in the vitrines of a gallery, a tattoo after another tattoo in a body that lies on the ground, imitating landscape. We may be excused if we often feel like we’re walking in circles: we come back and again to the same phrases. But we soon notice that in each repetition the arpeggios and quasi-chords animate them with a different spirit: the tattoos mutate by the movement of muscles and tendons. As we move from section to section, the instrumental figures acquire the quality of shadows that the fragments of vacant speech project on a variable canvas. But they are perverse, treasonous shadows who become independent of their masters and set out to follow their own peculiar paths, leaving the words abandoned by their meaning and waiting for a new one as a mask awaits a face to cover, or a patch of skin a portion of flesh to wrap. Other times, the timbres that come off the voices behave like streams of blood that come out of an injured organism, forming random rivulets and pools. The body from where they flow doesn't merely imitate the landscape: it plunges in its amplitude to discover new gestures, a new dance.
Reinaldo Laddaga, New York 2019.
Live performance of
The Body Imitates The Landscape, May 2019.
A book of the original texts, translated from Japanese to English for this project accompanies the performance.