Now in its fifteenth year, this festival has seen bicycles played as instruments, pieces composed using flowers as scores, a four-hour piece for solo piano that had neither rhythm nor melody… Audio art has evolved as a catch-all term for music that otherwise defies categorization, and thus by its very nature it is always one step ahead ? or to the side ? of the current musical culture.
A glimpse at the schedule of this international event confirms the above. The 20:00 show on Nov. 16, for example, features performances which are almost all labeled “interactive” or “installation” ? or both. Perhaps the most outlandish of these will be Christina Kubisch’s (Berlin) “Electric Walk Krakow,” which will allow audience members/participants stroll through the old town and listen to the “music” of the city’s electromagnetic fields.
On Nov. 18 at 18:00 we have, for example, Israeli electronics wizard Eran Sachs, a classically-trained Death Metal, Grind Core and Noise enthusiast who has since moved on to electronic and experimental music, and who plays his own self-made “system,” known as the “No-Input-Mixer.” He has played with John Zorn’s legendary Cobra group, and “tends to fuse the sonic with the political.” The same evening brings us the Qfwfwq Duo from Boston, with their interactive performance that “uses live sound-image interaction and the use of movement to articulate complex sounds and digital visual material.” Lots of sensors and motion-tracking devices guaranteed.
Over at the Music Academy, Zhang Xiaofu (China) will be playing a blend of traditional Chinese instruments and electronics on Nov. 23 (18:00).
The following day at the same time will see the Copenhagen-based Piano and Poetry ensemble perform on piano, toys, percussion and electric bass.
Their music has elements of blues and free-jazz while succumbing fully to neither, with some other elements thrown in that some would call “playful,” and others “goofball.” Martin Klapper is the “electronics and musical toys specialist,” so you know what you’re in for.
By the time the festival closes with some much-touted ensembles from Lisbon and Brno, you will probably be ready to rediscover some traditional qualities in music, such as harmony, melody etc., but time spent at the Audio Art Festival is seldom regretted.