Stefan Thut composed 'about' in 2017 for a sextet as a part of the first concert series of the art and music project ame, commissioned by Ryoko Akama, a UK-based sound artist/composer/performer and a co-curator of ame. Akama gathered four fellow musicians who were empathetic with Thut's aesthetics to perform and record the piece. The ensemble consisted of Akama (electronics), Stephen Chase (guitar), Eleanor Cully (piano), Patrick Farmer (metal percussion), lo wie (tingsha), and Thut (cello), who have diverse backgrounds in music, poetry and literature, and comprised a multilingual group.
Thut integrated both musical elements and non-musical elements in his piece 'about'. His score instructs three performers to make percussive, ringing, and electronic sounds while three other performers play short high register pitches on their musical instruments according to written scores, particularly paying attention to the decay of sound in the subsequent silence. It also instructs parallel activities in between playing the sounds; walking around the space, and uttering monosyllabic words quietly in their own languages. (The title 'about' derived from a sentence 'walking about'.)
By going back and forth between these two activities - one with playing the sounds as a group, and the other with individual activities of their own - standing up, making a few steps, and saying a word, the ensemble created a unique openness in the music while each keeping their own contemplative individual experience as a component. Through this piece, Thut also demonstrated the idea that "something vanishing creates a state of pure attentiveness,” letting the performers and the listeners experience how the short sounds like hit, plucked, ringing or bowed sounds attribute a meaning to the silences before and after. These silences are soon getting replaced by something else - by the sounds from before, by the sounds in expectation, or by thoughts.
(Release date: October 10, 2018)
FACTS / TRACKLIST / CREDITS
Swiss composer and cellist Stefan Thut is interested in processes and scores that invite both the performers and the listeners to delve into a world. He studied music at the Lucerne Conservatory and at Boston University School of Music. After experiences with new and experimental music, improvisation and noise, Thut started writing scores. Through his compositions he provides relatively determined systems in order to develop a praxis. In addition to instruments used in traditional ways, he also uses everyday materials as components in his work. As an interpreter he has performed a lot of music for solo cello written by his fellow and affiliated composers of the Edition Wandelweiser. Stations of his recent activities included Bilbao, Düsseldorf, London, Reykjavik, Saint Petersburg, Tokyo and Zurich among other towns. He has released albums as a composer, performer and cellist from Edition Wandelweiser and other international labels.
Ryoko Akama is a UK-based composer and performer whose work, ranging from text compositions to sound installations, pursues minimal, reductive, cumulative, and contemplative experiences. Her work aims to offer quiet temporal/spatial experiences, and is connected to literature, fine art and mixed media (technology). She employs small and fragile objects such as paper balloons and glass bottles in order to create tiny aural and visual occurrences that embody ‘almost nothing’ aesthetics. She composes text scores and performs a diversity of alternative scores in collaboration with international artists. She directs the melange edition label and is co-editor of the independent publisher mumei.
ame (art / music / experimental), based in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, is an international creative hub that supports experimental music and art, commissioning works from both emerging and established composers and sound artists. It provides concerts, installations, educational projects and artists-in-residence programs, working together with local venues and organizations.
Stefan Thut - about (2017) 58:44
Ryoko Akama - electronics
Stephen Chase - guitar
Eleanor Cully - piano
Patrick Farmer - metal percussion
lo wie - tingsha
Stefan Thut - cello
composition by Stefan Thut
project initiated by Ryoko Akama
recorded by Simon Reynell at Phipps Hall,
University of Huddersfield on September 30, 2017
mixed and premastered by Simon Reynell and Stefan Thut
mastered by Taku Unami
design and photography by Yuko Zama
text by Stefan Thut
produced by Yuko Zama
thanks to: University of Huddersfield and ame
p+c 2018 elsewhere music