I’m delighted that I can finally confirm the programme for November’s Decontamination concert featuring composer and cellist Oliver Coates:
Decontamination #4 – Fantasy & Artificial Landscape
Tuesday 10 November 2015, 8pm
Royal Northern College of Music, Studio Theatre
Trains – Joanne Bailie (cello and soundtrack)
Kottos – Iannis Xenakis (solo cello)
Unreal Estate – Oliver Coates & Lawrence Lek (cello, electronics, soundtrack and projection)
Opus 17a (extract) – Hanne Darboven
You can book tickets here.
The centrepiece of this short concert is Coates’ and Lek’s collaboration from earlier this year. Here Lek uses video game software to imagine a future in which the Royal Academy of Arts in London has been sold off as a privately owned luxury estate accompanied by a soundtrack by virtuoso cellist Oliver Coates and a voiceover of a found text from Russian Tatler magazine, translated into Mandarin by Joni Zhu. You can watch and hear this extraordinary piece of artwork here however the soundtrack and, potentially, the visuals themselves are tailored for each performance.
Joanna Bailie’s 2014 work Trains takes us on a fantastical journey by meticulously blending the her field recordings of trains with sounds from the live cello. As the processing and cello exposes more tangible pitch content the original field recordings are masked and well-known ‘found’ material from the cello cannon is revealed. The result is understated, surprising and ravishing.
Kottos, Xenakis’ 1977 monolith for solo cello, is a piece of immense physical energy . The music evokes the fantastical imagery suggested by the title, Xenakis write in the score ‘Kottos is one of the three Giants (Sons of Ouranos, the Sky, and of Gaia, the Earth). Each one had a hundred arms and fifty heads. They were the allies of Zeus in his fight agains the Titans that were eventually defeated; allusion to the fury and the virtuosity necessary to the performance of this piece.’
German conceptual artist Hanne Darboven’s Opus 17a forms part of her Mathematical Music output. Systematically controlled numerical data, prevalent in her installation work, informs the organisation of this characteristically uncompromising minimal music.