August 3, 2017, Lubiaz. Selective transscript.

Participants: Haruhiko Okabe (JP), Marie Wδrme (DK), Roman Stolyar (RU), Vlad Luchansky (RU), Susanne Escher (CH), Thomas Zimmermann (D), Carl Bergstroem-Nielsen (DK), Anna Jedrzejewska (PL).

Carl (acting as a moderator): please tell me about your artistic experiences of special interest, thoughts and problems, taking a starting-point in what has happened right here...


Roman: I am constantly thinking about the contradiction of having your own voice in improvisation and to be in accordance with the collective will. If you are in a dialogue, you obviously imitate a part of your partners' speech – it's a sort of successful connection and successful dialogue. But how is your personal expression, and how can it be corrolated with the individual expressions of others. Yesterday there was some disagreement about the material I showed, how intuitive music should sound. As soon as you want to express your own voice you have to be ready to face the risk that you will be rejected, not only by the audience, but by some musicians too. A friend of mine said that in the Uinited Kingdom most improvisors are against something – they are all revolutionaries, against pop culture, against the establishment.

Anna: some people are unable to play with everyone. In a workshop I conducted, I prepared two hours of intuitive playing, and they just played the same all the time.

Roman: even some improvisors live in boxes. But on the other hand, if you are flexible in music, is it still your voice, or is it a style you imitate in order to feed the collective?

Anna: I played with an improvisor who said he was an American and liked to have fun, and I couldn't have contact with him.Then I listened and noticed he played a lot of syncopes, and I then found out to have fun with him my way. That was not imitating.

Roman: no, of course not.

Haruhiko: playing both hichiriki and saxophone, I am aware that hichiriki, unlike saxophone, is very different from Western traditions. With all those great sax players that has been, there is almost no blank space for originality.

Roman: talking about saxophone players, there are still, let's say, some black holes. Almost everyone in university departments have passed through John Coltrane's way of playing, but for example Eric Dolphy's manner is almost unknown. One could learn from it about building a phrase, making big steps...

Susanne: I remember a workshop led by Wolfgang Schliemann in which we worked with finding a new sound in your own instrument and also to be very on your own doing it in a group. Just not to think about compromises, listening to others – nothing like that, it was an experiment. Just to go, 13 people, finding a new sound you really never had on your instrument and stay there, developing it and trusting that everyone is doing this. Just listening to everything in the room. This is also a way to go.

Carl: I think Anna's workshop touched on that.

Susanne: Yeah...

Carl: to go ahead and not be scared...


Anna: yes, but there is a contradiction to people who hate this and that, that makes it difficult to meet them, you are almost naked and it can hurt very much if you are rejected. Having played composed music I am new to this field, it's a question of trusting the people you are with. Failure is a way of learning – if you don't fail you don't learn, you don't explore. And of course it is difficult in all kinds of communication – when do you take initiative, when are you going to answer people – I think it will always be a question for improvisors.

Vlad: I had a concert experience with a musician who refused to communicate because he did not enjoy the situation and was showing it off. It was really strange to feel that everyone was communicating, except him. Everybody was building something, and he was like a kid making cheesy sounds beside it. I knew he could do better because he had great experience of playing free music also. It turned out afterwards that he personally disliked the playing of the musician who was invited as a guest star.

Anna: how about our group – do we feel we are playing together, or are we making compromises, or is someone feeling like not to join...?

Roman: I personally did not have difficulties with playing with any of you. If we desire to understand each other, there should'nt be any problem.

Anna: in classical or composed music we have strict rules about what is valuable or not. In improv music there is not such a thing – we can play with amateurs and people who don't even know what to do with the instrument. But they want to join us, and we have to deal with it. Sometimes impro music is not about music and values in art, it's more about being together, feeling together and trust – it's more psychological...

C so this is a conflict?

A yes


Susanne: in the moment I have the problem which I have often in circles like this: when discussing something, how long does it go to hear everyone? Some people need more time to talk or play, others want to listen first. This is really a heart-wish of mine: that everyone takes so much time that you can hear everyone really. Only then you can find your own impulse.

Carl it doesn't take long time to take time. Anna told me after her workshop that the outdoor sime lasted only ten minutes. It's not a matter of having a lot of clock time but of attitude.

Anna: it's always a big problem, we are playing too much. On the stage, people want to act... people also like energetic music

Susanne: I just was talking, and it would be nice if you were waiting, let ting it go to everyone... until you feel that everyone has a part, a possibilit y to go into it, And when there is no one, then you can come if you like yourself.

Carl: I tend to look at it a little like a game of cards, I don't know beforehand whether I'll be bored or taken away by an improvisation. At the last part of our singing before, I really thought there could be no better music, but at other times I don't feel I can connect to what happens – this can be awkward especially on stage. But I may think it's OK when the others just play along. I'm confident that much of the time it will be great to improvise again, but not every time.

Marie: there is a question of responsibility – we have a responsibility like in everyday life to work with these things, it's a matter of what you show the others - showing boredom may create negative energy - otherwise some others maybe perhaps feel responsible to catch up and then you lose the intention.


Haruhiko: Thomas, do you have responsibility to your music?

Thomas: perhaps the responsibility I feel is listening to the others, not reacting but perceiving, trying to find common words – for me the best situation is feeling I don't play my individual voice, but we find a common flow

Haruhiko: good point. This issue is very much one of Western thinking. Once I visited an Indonesian Gamelan orchestra . They are always making new pieces collectively, very far from modern Western art. And now we are talking about how to keep an individual voice – it serves Western logical thinking, I think.This may be behind some people's resistence to copyright also (laughter).

Now Thomas took materials from nature – that transcends the small, individual, logical thinking. Take this stone (pointing to a large stone used in Thomas' workshop) – very common, very much universe. One good friend said he wanted to hear his own voice in the music and I was very surprised. .... I like to just wait and throw something from me out to the audience, not of me – it feels very beautiful. Thomas, how do you relate to this by your sound installation?

Thomas: with these instruments you cannot really improvise in such a way as with classical instruments, its more about perception and deep listening and not about trying new things – it's very easy, simple, what you can do with these stones, and the best to do is simple things, touch thenm and listen and not to invent new things all the time... so it's more a meditation, of deeper listening

Carl: so is this very collective or is is very individual?

Thomas: the instruments are themselves in a way very collective, in the sound, but the way how you do it is still very individual


Thomas: I guess, when you do something public you aim to achieve a result...

Roman: – or not... (laughter)

Thomas do you know this piece by John Cage they say they are going to play for thousand years – they gather once in a year to play one note. You could not say this performance was not so good, next one maybe – it's a totally different point of view you put yourself in. We don't have to think of it the traditional way - audience can be part of the process

Anna: I think this is better, because the audience will not expect the music we are playing They are not coming for improv, they are coming for an experience they never had in their life

Marie: if we are engaged or bored, it's a kind of energy to the audience too. So we have just to keep this energy that we are curious, we are open – playing with it.


Back to INTUITIVA...