Saturday, 3 October 2015

Some Helsinki Evidence

My first gig in Helsinki was an impromptu sit-in with Horst Quartet, a group featuring Hermanni Yli-Tepsa on bass, the man behind organising my 27/9 gig at Krunan Mesta. The gig happened on 21/9 in the student occupation at Helsinki University where massive government cuts to tertiary education have been sparking protests and occupations all supported by university staff whose wages and futures have also been affected by the cuts. 

Me and cellist Sergio Castrillon performing free and liberated improvisations for violin and cello on Nikolai II in Helsinki's shining harbour on a clear night 25/9/2015. Sergio uses every inch of the cello and his voice in performance. 

The following afternoon 26/9/2015 I presented my paper Radically Quiet: An Auto-Ethnographic Reflection from the 21st Century Minimalist Underground. 

Abstract reads like this: 
‘Radically Quiet’ is an autoethnographic reflection on my recent path into minimalist music. Through reflections on my encounters with minimalism, this paper offers new perspectives on the minimalist repertory by exploring the influence of previously unpublished recordings of post-war minimalist music on the development of minimalist practices, such as my own, in the early 21st century. Further, this paper will focus on the minimalism of Black Metal, shedding new light on minimalism in the Nordic region through a discussion of the influential music found in the albums of Nordic Black Metal bands. This mixture of pioneering minimalism with recent minimalist undercurrents is not unique, it has inspired a large section of the 21st century underground. This paper will address these influences – as they manifest in both a stylistic and philosophical fashion – in light of my own experiences as a practitioner within the underground. Lastly, reaching back to the precursors of minimalism, and indeed to the practice of my own instrument, the violin, I will reflect on my experiences studying the Gondze fiddle of Ghana, a profound influence on my practice since encountering it during my time living in Ghana in 2013. By reflecting on my experiences of a distinctly West African musical tradition, I bring the discussion back to the roots of minimalism in Western 20th century composition through the unmistakable influence that West African music had on the genesis of minimalism. This collection of influences on my own work as an improvising violinist with a minimalist approach to my practice, places a mirror up to the wider state of minimalist music in the 21st century, an era where the dominance of “business” makes a minimal approach more radical and meaningful than ever before.

Received positive feedback from the delegates in attendance and from the convener of the session which consisted of several "Composer's Reflections". All in all the Minimalism Unbounded! conference was an interesting experience. More on the conference soon later.

After the conference came my solo performance at Krunan Keikkat in Krunan Mesta, Helsinki, 27/9/2015 as part of the Pixelache Festival. American, Estonian-based sound artist Patrick McGinley aka Murmer also performed, turning the space into an instrument. My performance followed:

From Paris. Adam.

My appearance at the Society for Minimalist Music, Minimalism Unbounded! Conference in Turku and Helsinki, Finland September 2015, was made possible with an ArtStart grant from the Australian Government's art's funding advisory body The Australia Council for the Arts.


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