Michael Duch is a bass player, educated as a jazz musician (NTNU) and specialising in free improvisation. He is also a graduate fellow of the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme, and his project was entitled “Free improvisation – Method and Genre”. In this constellation I want to interact musically with his way of improvising and to explore the meeting between my mix of acoustic and electronic sounds and his acoustic sounds and very physical approach towards playing. The working strategy started in the same way as my work with Thomas: no planning, and I brought “optional lyrics”. This was also the strategy for our first studio session and concert. In the second studio session we decided to work further on some of the ideas that came up, and refine them. This was also developed further in a concert: we decided on a form where some of the elements and also roles we had been working with were suggested as possibilities, although they were not very defined and were more like an associative framework. It was essential that we both knew that this plan could be changed if another idea took over intuitively. For now, this seems like one productive way of working together, creating a kind of structural offspring.
Example IV, 10: Åse/Duch “Thhh”, studio session, 2011:
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The first half of this sequence is in some ways similar to the start of “Rave, Raised” with Thomas Strønen (ex. above). I am using some of the same strategies and techniques (natural voice, acoustic voice sounds, pre-recorded sound samples, Hadron loop, real-time “text”, looped “text”) in a mix. Still, I experience it somewhat different, perhaps because of a more frequent use of pitched singer-material. I am deliberately playing with roles and distances/zones:
2.37 to 3.01: even if it is punctuated, I experience this as a kind of singer/speaker role, partly because of the way Michael plays, which leaves plenty of space for me, while at
3.01, the speaker role is changed into the soundsinger role and the loops evolve into the role of the soundmaker, both because of the way I perform (like a flow, with pitch shift, low in amplitude, looped) and because of the way Michael plays (see below). Then, from
3.54 I am the singer throughout the piece, with some soundmaker effects, like the convolution patch at 7.19, some loops from the first section (6.11), and the looping of long notes (7.55).
As stated previously, the categories I am now using as a tool for understanding and describing how I work are not absolute. For example, I notice, especially when listening to the duo constellations, that it is sometimes not obvious what I perceive as being soundsinging and what I perceive as being the singer or speaker. Again, this is because a role is not just defined by the character of the sound, but also by the kind of musical focus it gets in the music that surrounds it, in the same way as a soundmaker sound could be part of a solo. In the duo constellations it seems to be more natural to sometimes work with silence as an important part of the musical scenery. The silence brings every sound that breaks it into focus, so, for instance, a processed “non-word” acquires a far more important role here than in a larger group of sounds. Still, I often think there is a connection between the character of the sound and the role it is assumed to have in the interplay.