Commissioned by Ultima contemporary music festival
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Composition & concept: Rolf Wallin
Choreography & concept: Heine Avdal, Yukiko Shinozaki
Co-composed and performed by: Marco Blaauw, Christine Chapman, Bruce Collings, Melvyn Poore
Choreography performed by: Heine Avdal, Michiel Reynaert, Orfee Schuijt, Benjamin Vandewalle
Live electronics: Rolf Wallin, Peiman Khosravi
Light design and technical direction: Hans Meijer
Although best known for his richly detailed scores, Rolf Wallin has time and again ventured into the realm between notation and improvisation. The approach has been different for each piece, tailor-made to the artistic concept and to the individual qualities and skills of the musicians involved. Many of his collaborators come from rock, jazz or folk music.
In the case of The Otheroom, Wallin has developed a unique communication system that fits the demands of this hour-long music theatre piece. The music evolved in a collaborative compositional process together with the double-bell brass quartet players of Ensemble Musikfabrik, Christine Chapman, Marco Blaauw, Bruce Collings, and Melvyn Poore, taking advantage of their instrumental skills and many years experience listening into each other's sound in a multitude of musical situations.
The musicians of the double bell brass quartet sit on rolling pedestals which are incorporated into the choreography by Heine Avdal and Yukiko Shinozaki from Fieldworks. Small screens are mounted on the pedestals to receive real-time communications from Wallin sent through a central computer, which also governs the live electronics. On the screens, small windows open and close, showing the structure of the piece and musical parameters over which the musicians develop their musical materials. The information on the screens can be precise, giving a defined yet changeable aesthetic character, but is still flexible enough for the musicians to react with the flow of the interactive choreography.
Note on the performance space:
The Otheroom was initially conceived for performance in the huge Oslo City Hall, but any large hall or space with an even floor and preferably (but not necessarily) a rich natural reverberance can be used. And, if possible, a space with an interesting appearance – be it a magnificent interior made for public ceremonials or the austere beauty of a disused warehouse.
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