One of the things that definitively makes end of January be awaited anxiously and with excitement is the fact that this is when ICTUS ensemble‘s LiquidRoom often happen (or, at least in my few+ years of experience they do. In Brussels at least. Well… I guess the exact time of their happening, like most of the rest of it, is quite liquid).
And this year was no exception. Still thinking and rethinking, feeling and re-feeling, all that happened to be at this event a two short, or long, weeks ago, some thoughts simply had to be (un)articulately put out there…
A full on emersion in performance based in music and sound took us on a rich all-senses and imagination trip through the Enchanted Forest of Sounding. ‘Cause this is what LIQUID ROOM VIII:PHRASESE was. An Enchanted Forest of Sounding, a place where music goes to live, to be and exist, each piece as a the special creature that it is. This magical music-scriptorium (musicorium should be a word though) where sound itself creates music, and this music creatures create wondrous sensory world.
With the very first step into the Kaaitheater, the mood was set with a hint of magic lingering gently in the hall, as the installation playing excerpt from MANI. Tom de Cock recording+film of Billone’s music (a definitive must check/look/listen!).
One step more, and you were in the mail hall.
You knew and felt that something very special, fairytale (or nightmare-turned-to-fairytale) like will happen – with the “moon” circulating around (in the speed only in an enchanted parallel world we would be able to perceive its movement), shining on all the cranks and corners of the space. All the while the guardian creature, to humans perceivable as a wolf, standing guard on the left wall. As he unnoticeably disappears, the doors into this magical world open by non-other than Lichtenberg Figures #1 (Eva Reiter).
This work, that in its original full performance version offers an experience of being a thought inside of a brain, or being a particle of the mater around the brain observing the process of thinking, of bearable and unbearable thoughts and their succession (depending how one choses to position oneself in experiencing) now offered something completely new. It became a vessel that takes you out of listening this particular piece from your perspective and influenced by what ever you have within you, and into feeling the bare feeling of music itself. And it is in that moment that you have realised – this person, this creature “Lichtenberg Figures #1”, have welcomed us into the Enchanted Forest of Sounding.
Now, “Lichtenberg Figures” are a very special creature. And if for a second you would think, well it was just a new experience of a different version of an already experienced piece… sure. It was. But… intricately intertwined pieces that followed definitely confirmed that we are not to be experiencing each piece as the entity they might be in the “real world”, but experiencing these pieces in their world of music and sound, where they go to live after they have came to existence.
And what better way to make sure we know where we are and what we can(not) expect, than encountering on our very next step further into this wondrous world the “Birkhan Study” (Hoffmann). You would think that bird whistle will undoubtably paint pictures of birds and their thoughts, but… not when you are in the Enchanted Forest of Sounding. And it was exactly in this moment that it became obvious this enchanted place could be a forest. And in this place, “Birkhan Study” is about the symbiosis of nature+nature. The birds AND the trees. The masterful amazing minute gestures of Tom De Cock made this piece not be only about the voice of flying creatures, but about reaching far-high-low beyond limits of all the creatures we can think…. It was like we were seeing through listening, and listening through seeing, the birth, growth and inner stretching of roots into the ground and branches into and through the air of this tree, and its own thoughts and thinking of the birds that he will host and shelter.
The exploring of symbiosis, coexistence and influence then went on from this nature+nature to symbiosis of human(being)+human(thinker/creator/inventor), with Mono (Steen-Anderson) and magnificent Tom Pauwels+Jean-Luc Plouvier where one stopped seeing two performers, but realised there is only one cyborgian creature, a creature of music). And it went on even further with ever so impressive Study for Two Voices (Perini). Enhancing the hearing of the body, amplifying all that is usually overheard, and making the body an instrument of sound beyond the voice… covered in darkness and a few bright spots, the “Study of Two Voices” definitively revels it self as a creature that exposes that murky inner part of every self, that although can be frightening if channeled well can ban be sinisterly beautiful.
From here, one might say the next few steps of the visit into the Enchanted Forest of Sounding were a bit more expected part of the realm. Although very mystical in its own way, and a bit “littleredridinghood”-like in the trip of this listener/observer/perceiver, and though pleasant till its end, “The Cold Trip” (Lang) could have let us “carry on” a bit earlier on, right around the magically exhaled “love… Lost… carry on”. It was the “TileWork” (Johnson) that truly made a shift in the dynamics.. but it was not long before one could start to see its place in this Enchanted Forest of Soundings. With a Teacher Sorcerous giving us the insight into the sound, its shaping into motives and then tiling it all together.
But… fear not, “Mutation” (Kokoras) swiftly brought us back into the centre of magical aural wonderness. “Tombstones” (Pisaro) went on to question the light and dark within us, within existence, ping-ponging and echoing (with Stangl, Downland, Hume, Goodall) the relevance and endurance of this questioning throughout time and space. Especially enhanced in the “My Naked Lady Framed” (Lavendier), offering of an aural aura of daylight floating in and through the darkness.
And then the moment came… we often say how “music is the universal language” but nothing like the the sound poem Vaduz (Heidsieck) to strike you with a though that “everything around us” is everything and around and hence equally belonging. In and on this round sphere of ours, wherever the centre might be, everybody belongs as the round sphere itself is its own whole “centre” and that “il y a… Il y a tout autour de nous… Il y a tout autour de vaduz…” everything and everybody! And the truly truly magnificent performance of Jean-Luc Plouvier who became Vaduz, an overwhelmed magical creature made of sound+words, lets call him a perception elf, that just came back from the “real world” to the Enchanted Forest of Sounding in disbelief of how we can doubt the existence and equality of that that is “everything around us”.
After “And here they do not” (Filidei), “Lied” (Hollier) a mighty warrior of this enchanted land lead us straight to “Body of Unseen Beings” (Broekman). And oh what a magically frightening and joyful being it was! We might have not seen it, but we absolutely “saw” it through listening to all its bubbles and rock. Cause this creature manages to encompass being heavy and present and strong as a rock all the while those rocks are held together by airy breezy bubbles! Welcoming and threatening, it lead us straight back to the keeper of this Enchanted Forest. The “Lichtenberg Figures #2” that opened the door to us and gave us the possibility to feel inside the Enchanted Forest of Soundings was here to give us a farewell back to the real world… With a few warnings and nudges to keep our ears and senses alert, cause although a hidden place, the Enchanted Forest of Sounding might be everywhere and anywhere if we listen closely!
Thanks ICTUS ensemble and Liquid Room for granting a glimpse access to this hidden place, often believed to be just a myth. A glimpse though a pure music-performance-sound induced trip! #liquidroomlove
Read “official” LiquidRoom VIII stuff here.