AMN Reviews: Mari Kimura – “Voyage Apollonian” [Innova 958]

kimura-coverComposer/performer Mari Kimura is a violinist that has earned international acclaim in both standard and contemporary repertoire. She is one of contemporary musics finest interactive computer music specialists and has premiered many new interactive works from composers such as Jean Claude Risset and Robert Rowe. Her latest effort “Voyage Apollonian” is a compilation of her recent work featuring six original compositions and arrangements of pieces by Brazilian composers Egberto Gismonti, Joao Bosco and Hermeto Pascoal.

Kimura’s current work makes use of her many years of research and collaboration with leading institutions such as IRCAM, into the use of new technology for interactive computer music and technological extension or augmentation of the violin. Working with IRCAM and Liubo Borissov, Kimura has developed a glove that uses various motion sensors to transmit the motion of the bow into the computer via WiFi. The motion sensing technology is able to detect gestures such as pizzicato and various types of bowing. This motion or gestural control is then used to interact with custom software. Kimura uses this ability to communicate to the computer her expressive intentions in real time. This allows her to control the real time signal processing of her violin as well as the ability to use gestures as cues or triggers that interact with the computers software.

The title track “Voyage Apollonian” has kind of an impressionistic or spectral feel to it as it alternates between various pizzicato and bowed phrases in a kind of call and response. This alternation develops as a kind of interplay between phrases and their articulations. By using the gestural control of the glove/bow, Kimura is able to choose in real time which software signal processing techniques – doubling, reverb, echo, harmonization, etc. she wishes to apply to the phrase she is playing as she is playing it. But this gestural interaction is not just limited to signal processing. On her arrangement of Hermeto Pascoal’s  “Bebe” Kimura uses the sensor technology to cue the virtual pianist as it plays a vamp for her to solo on. This allows her to dynamically control the length of the accompaniment for her improvised solo.

In addition to her inventive use of technology, Kimura’s compositions also bring her own unique twists to familiar forms. For example in “Bruer Vivant” Kimura paints a passacaglia with bits of “Romanticism” mixed with dazzling contemporary electronics. “Canon Elastique” is a two voice canon where the glove/bow gestural control is used to modify material she has played after it has been delayed by software forming a second canonic voice. However the result is not a simple echo or a minimalist texture. The technology allows Kimura to change her musical past in real time by the way in which she articulates the first voice.

Mari Kimura’s sonic explorations are not just limited to using technology with the violin but extends to discovering and perfecting new acoustic techniques. She has developed an innovative extended bowing technique that is able to produce subharmonic pitches that sound up to an octave below the violins lowest string without re-tuning the instrument. While she uses this technique throughout the works on this disc it is prominently featured on the only unaccompanied acoustic piece on this CD “JanMaricana”.

“Voyage Apollonian” covers a great deal of territory; from Brazilian sambas and jazz to unaccompanied violin with subharmonics to new musical interfaces with interactive computer technology. Despite the use of cutting edge technology and new innovative acoustic techniques the music on this disc does not sound very “technical”. The use of technology is at the service of the performer and has been carefully designed to be flexible and expressive. In Kimura’s hands the results are a highly expressive music that is warm and organic, rich in color and nuance. Highly recommended.

Chris DeChiara

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San Francisco Scene: May 26- June 2, 2017

From the Bay Improviser Calendar.

Friday, May 26

Fri 5/26 6:00 PM Presidio Officer’s Club [50 Moraga Ave SF]
Rova Saxophone Quartet

Fri 5/26 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Kyle Motl: Transmogrifications – Solo Contrabass

Fri 5/26 8:00 PM Temescal Arts Center [511 48th Street, Oakland]
Temescal Arts Center Presents 8:30 pm DunkelpeK: Jakob Pek, guitar; Nava Dunkelman, percussion 9:30 pm Trevor Dunn, bass; Phillip Greenlief, reeds

Fri 5/26 7:30 PM Bing Concert Hall Studio Space [327 Lasuen St Stanford CA 94305]
Please join us as CCRMA presents 2 evenings of immersive spatial multichannel music at the Bing Concert Hall Studio Space on Friday/Saturday May 26th/27th at 7.30PM. We will deploy the CCRMA GRAIL – The Giant Radial Array for Immersive Listening – our full 3D surround speaker array for these events… Not to be missed by you or your ears!
Music by:
Natasha Barrett
Ake Parmerud
Fernando Lopez-Lezcano
Hans Tutscku
Constantin Basica
Bill Schottstaedt
Alex Chechile
Christopher Jette

Saturday, May 27

Sat 5/27 7:00 PM Octopus Literary Salon [2101 Webster St. #170 Oakland]
Helen Newby & Anne Rainwater plus Ali Dineen & Hannah Sassoon (NYC)

Sat 5/27 7:30 PM Bing Concert Hall Studio Space [327 Lasuen Street Stanford CA 94305]
Please join us as CCRMA presents 2 evenings of immersive spatial multichannel music at the Bing Concert Hall Studio Space on Friday/Saturday May 26th/27th at 7.30PM. We will deploy the CCRMA GRAIL – The Giant Radial Array for Immersive Listening – our full 3D surround speaker array for these events… Not to be missed by you or your ears!
Music by:
Natasha Barrett
Ake Parmerud
Fernando Lopez-Lezcano
Hans Tutscku
Constantin Basica
Bill Schottstaedt
Alex Chechile
Christopher Jette

Sat 5/27 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
The Opus Project Presents Opus 53: Essential Existential

Sat 5/27 8:00 PM California Jazz Conservatory [2087 Addison Street Berkeley]
Grex Plays A Love Supreme, featuring Song & Dance Trio
Grex: Karl Evangelista-guitar, Rei Scampavia-keys, Robert Lopez-drums, w/Dan Clucas-trumpet
Song & Dance Trio: Karl Evangelista-guitar, Jordan Glenn-drums, Cory Wright-baritone sax
Oakland art rock trio Grex and LA trumpeter Dan Clucas perform a powerful, drastic reworking of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, refracting the mighty saxophonist’s suite through a gauntlet of noise rock, alternative hip-hop, and other latter day musics. Karl Evangelista’s longstanding Song & Dance Trio–a bass-less blend of modern jazz textures and roving, garage-y energy–opens the evening.

Sat 5/27 9:00 PM The Chapel [777 Valencia St San Francisco]
Due to extraordinary popular demand! (((folkYEAH!))) presents
A special encore performance of John Coltrane’s masterpiece “A Love Supreme” by The Mattson 2

Sunday, May 28
Sun 5/28 7:00 PM Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture – Gallery 308 [2 Marina Blvd SF]
Moe! Staiano Ensemble

Wednesday, May 31

Wed 5/31 8:00 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Phil Pierick, saxophone: memories in gray M

Thursday, June 1

Thu 6/01 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
8pm: Person L (Dania Luck – electronics)
9pm: John Davis (electronics, acoustics)

Friday, June 2

Fri 6/02 7:00 PM Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture – Gallery 308 [2 Marina Blvd SF]
San Francisco International Arts Festival presents Edward Schocker and the Crossing Ensemble and Shih Yang Lee
The Crossing is a long-term project lead by Edward Schocker that creates a new form of ecstatic group improvisation through investigating ancient Asian musical genres, such as Japanese Gagaku and Korean shamanist ritual music, with the goal reaching a state of communication with spirit world.

Fri 6/02 7:00 PM Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture – Gallery 308 [2 Marina Blvd SF]
Shih Yang Lee (Taipei) Improvised Solo Piano
Composer, pianist and improviser Shih Yang Lee, who last appeared at the Festival in 2015 with performances with Horse Dance Theatre and Melody of China, returns to share an experimental concert with some of the Bay Area’s finest improvisers and experimental musicians.

Fri 6/02 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
A Woman’s Place is at the Piano

Interview with Vince Welch of Bent Knee

Source: 15 questions.

In Bent Knee, music is always written with the knowledge that this music will be recorded. That means that we’re able to, both consciously and unconsciously, plan the music so that it will work on recording. So in this way the technology is already playing a big role, right at the genesis of the music.

But in the less abstract sense, all of us except the drummer Gavin are using electrical instruments. So again technology is right there playing a role at the songs’ beginnings. In the case of Chris and I, we’re both using laptops, so basically we’re doing something that would have been more or less impossible to do 20 years ago.

Read our review of Bent Knee’s previous album, Say So.

Jazz in NYC This Week

English: Tyshawn Sorey at moers festival 2010

Source: The New York Times.

YUKA C. HONDA at National Sawdust (May 28, 4 p.m.). In the 1990s, Ms. Honda made hip, surreal party music as one half of the Japanese-expatriate duo Cibo Matto. More recently, she has worked closely with Yoko Ono and delved further into artistic experimentation of her own, with thrilling results. At this afternoon show at National Sawdust, the Williamsburg nonprofit space where she’s an artist in residence, Ms. Honda will play electronic music along with a percussionist and a pair of tap dancers.
646-779-8455, nationalsawdust.org

VISION FESTIVAL 22 at Judson Memorial Church (May 28 through June 3). The Vision Festival, New York’s annual gathering of the improvising avant-garde, is a locus for some of the country’s most unbounded musicians. The alto saxophonist Darius Jones; Artifacts Trio (Nicole Mitchell, Tomeka Reid and Mike Reed); the tenor saxophonist David Murray; and Trio 3 (Oliver Lake, Reggie Workman and Andrew Cyrille) are all on the bill. And it’s a multimedia affair, with a reading by the esteemed poet Fred Moten; dance performances; and film screenings on the Black Panther Party and the musician Cooper-Moore, who is this year’s honoree. The festival will take place mostly at Judson Memorial Church in Greenwich Village, but some of the events, including midnight performances, are at Anthology Film Archive and Nublu.
212-254-5420, artsforart.org

JOHN ZORN at the Village Vanguard (May 28, 3 p.m.). Every once in a while Mr. Zorn, the alto saxophonist and experimental music figurehead, infiltrates the Vanguard, straight-ahead jazz’s temple, for a one-off matinee show. In November he convened a trio featuring the bassist Christian McBride and the drummer Milford Graves; the gig was an unqualified success — a shot of freak-jazz purgation just days after a bewildering presidential election. This Sunday he appears with Mr. McBride and a different drummer, Tyshawn Sorey. Bold and complex but disarmingly humane, Mr. Sorey recently spent a charmed week at the Vanguard, playing brilliantly with the Vijay Iyer Trio. His approach tends to create a big web of crosshatching; he and Mr. McBride may bring out something special in each other.
212-255-4037, villagevanguard.com

Classical Music in NYC This Week

Source: The New York Times.

LOS ANGELES PERCUSSION QUARTET at National Sawdust (June 1, 7 p.m.).
One of several superb percussion quartets currently at work, and another heralded West Coast group, this group celebrates a coming album, “Beyond,” by making its New York debut with works by Ellen Reid, Anna Thorvaldsdottir and Andrew McIntosh, as well as a virtual reality performance of music by Christopher Cerrone.
646 -779-8455, nationalsawdust.org

NEW YORK YOUTH SYMPHONY at Carnegie Hall (May 28, 2 p.m.). Joshua Gersen conducts these committed young players in a premiere from the composer Daniel Silliman, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1 (Brook Speltz is the soloist) and Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 5.
212-247-7800, carnegiehall.org

PARKER QUARTET at National Sawdust (May 28, 7 p.m.). Joined for this program by guests including the violist Roger Tapping and the soprano Tony Arnold, this intriguing young quartet presents Steve Reich’s “Different Trains,” Wagner’s “Wesendonck Lieder” and two works by Erwin Schulhoff, including his self-explanatory “Sonata Erotica” of 1919.
646-779-8455, nationalsawdust.org