četvrtak, 9. listopada 2014.

Neil Leonard - For Kounellis (2014)


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Meditative, evocative electronic music created for a performance on Mount Vesuvius, Naples featuring samples from Jannis Kounellis' sculpture, local voices and soprano saxophone.


The music on this recording was initiated when Grazia and Gianni Bolongaro, owners of La Marrana di Montemarcello asked me to record the sounds of Jannis Kounellis’ installation and make a piece in response. Kounellis’ untitled installation comprises 23 large church bells that appear to spiral out from a cylindrical chamber rooted in the Earth’s core. I was struck by the intensity of this chorus of silent tongues, facing the sky and projecting a colossal resonance that is felt but is not heard. Once convinced that structure could endure my pounding, I began to play and record source material.
Later the same month, I created sound for Gabriella Riccio’s dance performance “Echoes, Resonance & Memory” premiered in Naples. This work combined the Kounellis bells with my recordings of local heavy metal diva Alessia de Capua. The piece was premiered on Mount Vesuvius, a now silent tongue that was reportedly heard as far away as Rome when it erupted. Like Kounellis’ inverted bells on the hillside of La Marrana, Vesuvius’ mouth is a sonic hallmark of local history. Both face the sky, and suggest a tremendous capacity to transform the environment and civilization. The Mount Vesuvius performance began with a sounding of Kounellis’ bells followed by saxophone and live electronics.
I first used the Kounellis recordings in May, 2008 for Rondò da Passeggio (Rondeau to Go), a 400-meter, 60-speaker collective sound installation, under the porticos in the heart of the medieval city Padua. My site, titled “uscir ad ascoltar le stelle... (to go out and hear the stars)” was a play on the last line of Dante’s Inferno (34.139), in collaboration with Maura Capuzzo. Our piece, a 3 speaker audio triptych, was located at the door of Santa Maria dei Servi Church and consisted of 10 hours of non-repeating sound. Kounellis’ bells combined with recordings of calls to worship from around the globe formed a tapestry of sound that established the sonic language explored in For Kounellis.
For Kounellis is the culmination of my work with Kounellis’ sculpture. The music was performed at Music Acoustica in Beijing, China; Nuits Sonores Festival in Lyon, France; and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Havana, Cuba before this studio realization. The work is dedicated to Grazia and Gianni Bolongaro whose generosity, imagination and friendship inspired many artists.

- www.cdbaby.com/cd/neilleonard3

Neil Leonard: soprano saxophone, sound design, composition; Alessia De Capua: voice
It is heartwarming to find out that the small town of Montemarcello, Liguria, was the origin of this work’s sonic nucleus. As a matter of fact, that region’s area at the borders with Tuscany identifies an indefinite quantity of personal juvenile recollections from unforgettable summers. Leonard recorded there the sound of a sculpture by Jannis Kounellis, made of 23 church bells spiraling out of a cylindrical chamber in an environmental park. Their stretched reverberation gave birth to the fundamental substance of this piece, on which the composer worked for years before premiering it in a live performance on Mount Vesuvius, Naples’ volcanic icon. By adding De Capua’s ethereal vocalism and his own reed evolutions, Leonard managed to create a haunting environment where relatively adynamic components and shimmering vibrations contribute to a feeling of quiet enchantment not deprived of mysterious attractiveness. In general, a proper balance between the understandability of the overall design and a slight acoustic uneasiness – symbolized by the vacillating traits of the layered voices – was definitely achieved. Even without having attended the set I can state with a degree of certainty that For Kounellis constitutes the testimony of a riveting event that must have sprayed the audience’s members with unique energies. - Massimo Ricci

Neil Leonard & Oren Fader | Mil Maneras

Neil Leonard and Oren Fader, Mil Maneras (2014)

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Hypnotic grooves, ethereal electronic sounds, celestial poetry and virtuoso guitar performances by Oren Fader.

This recording documents my through-composed works for guitar. The instrument’s intimate sound was combined with electronics and spoken text and was used in site-specific installa-tions. The CD revisits this music, featuring new performances by Oren Fader.
The first pieces presented are the result of ongoing collaboration with artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons. Our multimedia installation Mil Maneras was featured by the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, Norway (2003). That material was expanded and exhibited as Threads of Memory at the Dak’Art Biennale de L’Art Africain Contemporain, Senegal (2004). In Dakar, multiple video projections and sound were installed among machinery left dormant in an abandoned textile factory. Initially, the piece resonates within the ambience of the space and then it alludes to perpetual rhythms once heard in the textile shop. This installation and Campos-Pons’ artist-lecture at the factory inspired the local community to convert the abandoned space into an art center.
Interiorità o Luna Sulla Collina (Interiority or Hillsided Moon) (2003) is a permanent outdoor installation commissioned by La Marrana di Montemarcello, La Spezia, Italy. The work comprises a nocturnal experience in which visitors encounter a constellation on orbs displaying video imagery, projecting sound and revealing illuminated inscriptions of a text by Peruvian poet César Vallejo. The work is nested in a bucolic enclave facing the marble caves of Carrara, visible across the Ligurian valley. Prior to creating this piece, commissioner Gianni Bolongaro took us to see the tomb paintings in the Etruscan necropolis in Tarquinia.
The music is suggestive of the lyre player and dancer frescos depicting the Etruscan vision of the afterlife, portrayed in some panels as a vibrant and seductive continuation of our present existence.
Vitrales (1999/2003) is the earliest composition in the present series and is the piece that opened the way to a new relationship with the guitar. It incorporates timba rhythms I heard in Cuba with algorithmic processes and expanded ideas from the jazz language introduced to me by composers George Russell and Bob Brookmeyer. Parts of the piece were drafted using computer software I designed but the final version was made by hand, often with the guitar in my lap to feel how fingers dance in what for me is a new musical world.I am extremely grateful to Oren Fader, my collaborator for these recordings. Oren’s artistic brilliance and dedication made the experience of revisiting these works a pleasure and process of discovery.
Neil Leonard, 2014

My CD, Marcel's Window (2011) is available on CDBaby and on iTunes. The band is stellar and the compositions were written for premieres in the Paul Robeson Home and the Philadelphia Art Museum. 
"Leonard's playing and composing have clarity and insight aplenty. Don't miss Marcel's Window."
Frank Hadley, Downbeat Critic
Neil Leonard - woodwinds/compositions
Tom Lawton - piano (Dave Douglas, Don Byron)
Lee Smith - bass (Mongo Santamaria, Cedar Walton, Roberta Flack)
Craig McIver - drums (Max Roach M-Boom, Odean Pope)
Timaeus (2001) is available at cdbaby and on iTunes
"If anyone can 'in-soulmate' the computer in a manner which integrates it beautifully and subtly with the heart and soul of the human artist, that person is Neil Leonard, and this CD is the realization of this worthy goal." 
George Russell
"Every now and again, an individual comes along with a new and improved idea to keep the genre of jazz fresh and to the point. Meet Neil Leonard ... who takes music of his own design and carries it beyond the realm of normal creativity. Leonard uses 'Timaeus' to extend the limits of the alto, soprano and tenor saxophone to a level often sought by Ornette Coleman."
Sheldon Nunn, Jazz Review
The double CD nothing works as planned (2007) documents two concerts of new music presented at the Tel Aviv Biennale of New Music at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and the Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, New York. The CD features work by nine composers and is available from Interval Recordings.

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