Karlheinz Stockhausen, Delia Derbyshire, and Daphne Oram showed us that any sound can be considered music. Ambient and found sounds have been assembled and presented as compositions for nearly a century. But what if those sounds were used not primarily as the music itself, but rather as a set of instructions for the seven elements that comprise it: Rhythm, Melody, Harmony, Timbre, Dynamics, Texture, and Form?
What if, when paired with modular synthesizers and other electronic instruments, the sounds of a subway station dictated the rhythm of the piece? Pitch being determined by the doppler of passing cars? Note length being instructed by the sounds of a harbor? The result being something less musique concrète, and more compositionally musical, in the traditional sense.
Themes For Great Cities is a concept involving harvested ambient and industrial sounds to be used as a set of instructions, symbiotically working with musicians, to produce a piece of work that has its very foundation in the city where it's being presented. Unable to be performed exactly the same way twice, every city will offer its own unique list of oblique strategies. Themes for Great Cities will premier at TMW 2021, performed by Jonas Kaarnamets (EE), Jonas Bjerre (DK), Erki Pärnoja (EE), and Alex Maiolo (US), with the goal of taking it to other urban centers, perhaps involving other artists.
- Jonas Kaarnamets is an Estonian musician who has played with Frankie Animal, Erki Pärnoja, and performs solo as jonas.f.k
- Jonas Bjerre is a Danish musician, visual artist, and founding member of the Mew, and Apparatjik
- Erki Pärnoja is an Estonian musician, composer, and member of Ewert and The Two Dragons
- Alex Maiolo is an American musician, music journalist/historian, and member of TRIPLE X SNAXXX