Relevance to Symposium Theme
This video does address the theme and I like the simplicity and clarity of approach. Each improvisation starts off from one minimal idea and using that as a springboard for creativity. The scores of the ideas is overlaid on the performance as a visual reminder of the starting point. While the text claims that each improvisation draws upon a limited set of techniques, these do appear to become broader as the pieces progress, making it not always clear what the restrictions are.
How Well the Piece Works
The score of the original cell which is being improvised around does add another dimension of interest to the video. The audience are able to reference the music being produced with this and reflect on/imagine how the player reached that point. In this respect, some of the pieces are more successful at achieving this than others. Structuring of the performance around the originating cells holds interest for the audience as does the different approach to each theme.
“Bad Habits” sounds like a musical style exercise, much in the way free jazz sounds to me (who understand very little of this improvisational music genre). It leads me more to the performativity of the musician (who seems to know the instrument extremely well) rather than to the music itself.
Regarding the issue of relevance to the symposium theme: maybe if the departure point of these improvisations were clearer to me (the “originating cells” mentioned in the text), then the articulation between restrictions and affordances could also become more evident. If I can make any sense of what I heard in these “Bad Habits” (and I heard them many times…), I would risk saying that the performer focused more on the affordances triggered by the musical text/score on the bottom of the right side.
How well does this work explore and stimulate ideas about how sound art is created and communicated? Does it speak to the theme? Does it challenge the audience to think about the theme in a particular way? Maybe the answer to these three questions is “yes”- I definitely “thought” about the theme. Too much, I think…(here I go again). However… being aware of my personal aesthetic beliefs, I think these pieces rest upon a significant part of music creation – improvisation and technique – but other than that, they fail in eloquence and persuasiveness, as well as emotion (which music involves as well).