Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Avatar Orchestra Metaverse at Wien Modern!
Hey there Graphic Scorekeepers, Electronic Conductors and Wagnerian Wienerphiles!
Yes! Finally, the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse have played perhaps their highest profile blockbuster show in RL so far by scoring a gig (pardon the pun) at none other than the ultimate showcase for all those "Modernist" yet still "Contemporary Classical" composers, Wien Modern. I am sure you know that Vienna is musically speaking, the cultural capital of the Western World (not to be confused with merely the Westcoast World). So to be a historical part of this city's most important contemporary music festival is sure a treat...it even beats Darmstadt!
The Orchestra's founder, Maximillian Nakamura was there in Vienna in RL to ensure that everything went along smoothly and on time. Thanks Max! :-)
Here is the official history and mandate of the festival that occurs throughout various cultured sites in Vienna:
"Following an initiative of Claudio Abbado, since 1988 international composers, artists, interpreters and ensembles have been invited to present the wide variety and artistic creativity in the world of sound. Wien Modern is a festival of contemporary music - and also provides a platform for Modern Dance, new visuals, texts and film.
Since 1988 international composers, artists, interpreters and ensembles have been invited here so that all the different artistic facets connected to the world of sound can be experienced. Wien Modern is a festival of contemporary music - and also provides a platform for Modern Dance, new visuals, texts and film."
Oooops! I noticed that Wien Modern quoted itself at least once in that body of official text...oh well, more excuses for me to place some hyperlinks in there but maybe they should rename themselves, Wien Postmodern? ;-)
Anyway, instead of an overture, the Orchestra played full-length versions of 4 original compositions (well 5 if you include the Birthday Encore..ummm..I guess that does not qualify as "original"...does it?). Two of the 4 compositions were World (both SL and RL) Premieres! Here is a quick summary of all them in chronological order...
I - MIULEW TAKAHE - FRAGULA...
Photo by Evo Szuyuan.Just have a look at the pattern on the floor! Wow! Just looking at that pattern reminds me of being at Wien Modern!
Takahe's composition is part of the AOM's standard repetoire and is still extremely fun to play. For this performance, we interacted with Second Front co-member Gazira Babeli's installation called Come Together. After sticking together, we branched out across Virtual Haidplatz like pollen snagged by bees strung out on Viagara!
It really was an epic and sublime sight to see and unless there is a forthcoming video and audio document of it...well...I guess you just HAD to have been there ;-)
II - MAXIMILLIAN NAKAMURA - URSONATA...
Click here to listen to the live audio recording of Ursonata.
The composer Maximillian had two very special HUD interfaces designed. The stripey horizontal bar on the bottom of the screen allowed me to change the fricative sound effects that was triggered by my gun. The tiny square buttons on the right of the screen corresponded to different fricative syllables and drone samples that I could also improvise with.
As I mentioned earlier, Maxi (not to be confused with Maxxo) is the founder of the Avatar Orchestra Metaverse. Without him, we are nothing ;-) Maxi (as his alter-ego Shintaro Miyazaki) lives in Berlin in RL these days so fortunately he was local enough to check out the Wien Modern performance first hand. He was even able to share a coffee break or two with Wien Modern's curator, Berno Odo Polzer. I think it was Berno himself who invited the Orchestra to play. He was also the one who mentioned that the Production Coordinator named Barbara Lebitsch was having her birthday so Maxi and Berno planned a special surprise birthday encore...well, more on that later but lets focus for now on Maxi's 2nd AOM composition and its World(s) premiere.
This piece Ursonata is both an ode to Kurt Schwitter's classic Merz era equivalent to slam poetry and Gazira Babeli's installation of the same name which Second Front (my other group) used for our performance of The Gate at iMAL in Brussels a couple of months ago. Hmmm...now that I think of it, Maxi also used Gaz's mutation script which was used in Second Front's Spawn of the Surreal performance that took place almost a year ago...wow! I guess I was serious when I said that the festival should have really been called Wien Postmodern!
At any rate, it was a very fun piece and it reminds me of the days in RL when I was a music composition student at Uvic. My teacher at the time, Christopher Butterfield is quite well known around the globe for his performance of Ursonate ("Ursonata" in English).
III - WIRXLI FLIMFLAM - RIESENRAD...
Photo by Evo Szuyuan.Here is an overture...er..overview of the ferris wheel.
Click here to listen to the live audio recording of Riesenrad.
Ok, my own composition also had a World(s) Premiere at Wien Modern. I have already blogged about it in the post below this one so you may as well just go there. To summarize, it was a Maximinimalist (cross between Maximalist and Minimalist) ode to all the classic and modern Vienna-based composers and is probably currently getting derided by the critics as being more Fantasia than Fantasia.
Speaking of Vienna-based composers, I sure wish our Orchestral colleague Gumnosphistai Nurmi had his own composition called "Avatars Brew" ready because he certainly has had direct experience with channeling the Greatest Composer Ever To Live in Vienna (well, until Falco).
IV - BINGO ONOMATOPOEIA - WEE NO KRESH (WNK)...
Click here to listen to the live audio recording of Wee No Kresh.
Photo by Digital Randt.
It was Bingo who designed all the custom instruments and HUD interfaces for the Orchestra and it was also Bingo who recorded each composition in realtime while performing, coordinating, giving tech support and yes, even showcasing his own composition.... ALL HAIL TO BINGO!
Bingo's piece WNK is also a classic repetoire piece like Miulew's (Takahe's) Fragula.
Bingo's composition is unique in that it is the only one that you can DANCE to.
Hmmmm...did I mention Wien Postmodern a bit earlier on? ;-) Maybe it is time for a parallel festival.
My buddy Digital Randt (who is also an instrument interface designer) took some kewl photos so I figured I had better at least show another one he took of WNK....
Photo by Digital Randt.
V- HUMMING PERRA AND THE AOM - FRAGGY BIRTHDAY CELLO CONCERTO Op. 1 "Barbara"...
Click here to listen to the live audio recording of the Birthday Concerto.
Click here to download and watch the video of this Birthday Surprise in Vienna (RL).
Well, Humming Perra did an awesome job playing Happy Birthday on the laggy Hypercello designed by Robbie Dingo (not to be confused with Bingo). As a Modern form of accompaniment, Miulew conducted the Orchestra players and instructed us to improvise using the gear that Bingo designed for Fragula. All in all, it was a great time where the red wine was flowing the snow was blowing...er....maybe I should save all this talk about the snow blowing that occured during an backstage interview with me for the next blog... SNIFF! SNORT!