Er óslegin vísa með marhnút í laufarbrauð á hnetti vonargrauts. Þvílíkt biður andlitshnekki um að koma af sósíalnum í foregi og stofna afturliðs herforynju sem segjir stokki úr hræsni málarans flemmings sem möðvar har á grauti afturgaungsins ljúfa tungl í myrkfælni hugans. Líta darmsheiðardýrðir vonarvölin ljúf við endaströnd öræðis, nautnaþráin fersk af yndis volæðis hrammi sínum bjórsveppager í þurrausnu silkirúm skonnorta brotin þvæld og farin.
Þegar þaut í þúfu engis var örvar víf og drengis sprettur spotti af höri narðar við ljá harðar líkt og bjúga af rosknu antipatti gripi rífsdula sæng. Engi fangi í hor sleitur sem gröf – nötn sem vara langar seljar, dun – illan draga gang – á fremri vornætur gangur ljúfur sem réttlæti sóllætis þegar aftur gengur humar í humátt að eftirhermu með sleitarbyssu sem skemmtiveitu fyrir framúrsérgenginn torfærujeppa á snjóhvítri hermisæng marhnúts gæfa þornar á ströndu beinþynningar ekki láta þig detta neitt um hug né strönd. Lík og von logast eins og horn í strönd. Getur verið að þig gráti tómar – listir eins og spönd í vonarvöl gróttufall gærdags reikur og lekur með allar vonir út í rönd á ægi fallinni gjótu. Gautan tung í hugum lorkna spant með haur á flöskum storna með voð í nýtum hörkulnunar merkurum sólargangs himintungla. Hlaut flaskan að muna eftir réttlæti vonarvísu – fallinn í helli afturgangna spör við léttölsbjúga lor á engi sem lengi kann að breyta þreytu í eftirsjá og spöngur í göngur hörar og magrar, margar og fagrar, dægra og frægra unaðsljóma hringadrottna lykkjusveins láði.
Gaustu naut á hellu þegar þykkjuþung burðardýr klifu barkann niður að Einarsströnd alveg ofan í bæ. Brettu brún í meyjarföngnu ufsiloni með ufsalýsi og hrágrýti skolað upp á stöngu – við sæinn, bítur í dreggjarnar. Þar lengi lá einn með fúlgu marvaðans – saurtöng með líkamshor blá og marin. Aldrei hafði kattarlíki séð slíka fúlgu í flaumi næturlæti skotin beinum spjótum að afturverki harvaðans. Skotinn beindust að spjótunum sem í eftirdragi heyrðust í hlemmsárum spjótunum á öldum marvaðans. Margt er misjafnt nú um tíð en ekki eins og döggin hverfir sólinu fyrir hornströnd í tunglmyrkvi næturgalans þessa stundina. Þöndin bogin og breytast burt úr franskri ostasósu hleyptri framan úr ostrubelg með ýstru og lítilvelg. Hlaut skaut og skot á mána og eftirsjá nærgætni mann er haldnir eru sýndarþrá. Eilíft eitthvað að segja út af vellingi sem ekkert má út á láta en brýtur brot af öllu því sem veröldin kann að fela undir vítamínssprautu framtíðarinnar. Gotið sjálft hafði aðeins níu fola. Ekki kann hann sig skarptungusamur námaðurinn sem með náhval og námann hafði námugröft við brottnámsbúrið í il gastro. Hlaut að koma að því að berjalautin hnaut – aldrei hef ég séð jafn bjánalegt brottskyr beri rekið og haldi þrotið hneigt niður í skeljasand og reynt niður í bjúga. Bjálki í auga kvists – eins og næturgali gæti lofað öllu fögru án þess að sejga berjalaut á bjúga. Hleyptu ekki öllu upp á sægarðinn uns þú veldur næturfrosti með tendurlæknum – gotinn og óslitinn.
Færeyska stórþingið hjá fastan hnút á hnekktar engjarnar eftir að draupan treyja á danskan restúrant. Framhjá hyrnu gengur takfast fljót þar sem nærsýnir hafast við. Hellidemban nær öllum sem kennarfljót leitar og lendir í skvaðanum mitt um regntogamótin. Brotið blað í ostraveldi grípur tannhjólinu seigt í morgundöggina – ótilgetið um vítamínið og hertogans vota morgunsúðina fitnandi í roðinu í ýldrandi dreggjar návísinnar nokkru síðar. Þaut von og laust skaut íbúðina við Miklumýri handan við dagsljós á norðurströnd – bitu í sig veðrið og fóru út með fiskistofnana. Lofandi bleika veðrið og hallandi öldur þýskrar málstefnu til lítilræðis, fjandsamt í dirfsku sinni.
Lífið lotnast á leynda þrautarbraut. Högg skár í dýfu þegar snellfynns skel heggur í mót þorstann á Hamranesi hratt neðan við niðurgil. Grýtlu ljúfan og væti hart að engjinaðri skoðun Hersteins á myrkri tepórlíu – hvenær sem hann svo fór endanlega með hana. Lífið hlotnast þeim sem við stundir stynja – grýta og hrynja – liggja í lagi í mjúku horni – þurrka stafi og nógum kolli. Braut skar á brynju, leggur ljúfhöggan niður andlitið og spornar við steytu á mjólkurbílnum – þrotlaust.
A friend wrote an email and asked me if I could come in a month to play in upstate New York. The time frame was a bit short. I asked another friend if he wanted to put together a band to play there but he suggested perhaps a different timeframe. I agreed. Snowball started rolling and all of a sudden we had a band – a tour and some University lecturing engagements – all lined up.
I set out to create a supergroup with people on the east coast that I knew. I used to play in a band with Liz Meredith called Satellite with Travis Johns also, a long time ago and I wrote a piece for Shayna Dunkelman a long time ago, Jonathan Pfeffer I had known since 2011 and we had met in Iceland and had various correspondances about art and music. They have all done all kinds of projects since the last time I met them all. Shayna even played with Yoko Ono, to name just one from her very impressive list of previous collaborators. Liz has been very active in the improv scene in and around Baltimore and has two solo records on Spleen Coffin under her belt.
We got the gigs lined up and I sent materials along so that rehearsals could go smooth. To my surprise Jonathan volunteered to help a lot with setting up the gigs and such and happened to have enormous experience in setting up shows and lots of other things which came in very handy to say the least. I knew the people and trusted them musically even though we were only going to have limited rehearsal time before our first show I was convinced that this was going to be a good band, and I was right.
I flew to the states on November 5th. I stopped at Shayna’s place in NYC and after a delicious dish of huevos rancheros in a neighbourhood Mexican cafe we headed over to Philadelphia where we met Liz Meredith and Jonathan Pfeffer, rehearsing at the latters apartment.
The first gig came the day after at the Rotunda hosted by The Fire Museum (November 7th). Without realizing it I had performed 14 years earlier in a concert hosted by Steve Tobin of The Fire Museum, and even stayed at his house then. Also I was traveling with Liz Meredith again this time. Strange co-incidence I hadn’t foreseen as I didn’t know about this connection with Steve Tobin. We played after Ben Bennett who did an amazing set of solo percussion improvisation that left everyone in awe.
The following day we took the Amtrak down to D.C. (we traveled light). There we performed at Rhizome along with the Pique collective on November 8th (yes election day in D.C., can you imagine?). This is an amazing venue – a beautiful house, a gallery and all kinds of things at the same time. It’s an old house that feels threatened by all the luxury condos rising up very quickly on either side of it. It is very central in various overlapping experimental music, poetry and art scenes in D.C.. It’s run by very generous and wonderful people and they have very cool T-shirts which we all had to get.
Me and Jonathan stayed with a friend of his who is a serious big time international reporter. He took us for another dosage of some wonderful huevos rancheros in a breakfast place that was beside this club which is pictured below. Those who know the history get the joke.
We took the Amtrak back North up to Baltimore and got ready to perform at the Red Room (on Nov 9th) which, for those that don’t know, is a very well known venue, especially relating to improvised music but also various other experimental forms of music making and is connected with the High Zero Festival. This amazing composer called Samuel Burt was our host so to speak – as they are a collective, and most concerts are from what I understand on some one persons responsibility. Good system I think.
Our opener was improvising singar Bao Nguyen who is an incredible vocal improviser. Incredible performer overall with a great stage presence. It was a great honor to do a collective improvisation in the end of the concert. This apparently is a tradition in the Red Room, that all the performers that played that evening, regardless of style or background, do one collective improvisation. What great times.
The Big Apple
I’ve traveled enough in the States to understand that as far as gigs in New York go – always expect the worst (sorry). I don’t mean the crowd but . . . for example, when scouting out for gigs we got a lot of stange offers, pay to play, something seemed to be working then canceled and one very interesting reply that was like “I don’t like it – but if you can come up with a convincing strategy to bring in a minimum of 50 people you’re in”. Didn’t sound fun.
But Jessica Hallock with NYC-Noise was open to it and offered us to perform at the Ridgewood Presbytarian Church. I envisioned a deconsencrated old church or perhaps one of those small storefront churches you see people screaming and falling into oblivion – all of which I’ve seen and even attended in America. This was not the case.
We entered a “just renovated” super clean and nice church – splendorous, in fact, despite the Calvinist modesty. The church people were very nice (yes some were present) and the host/promoter, NYC-noise, had lots of volunteers running around to make sure that we were sounding good and feeling good. Pizza and club soda catering. Very nice. Not what I expected in New York.
The crowd was great, the opening acts were great – Madison Greenstone filling the space with circular breathy huge multiphonicky extravaganza that sounded like some of Hendrix’s finer moments on pause/hold/freeze – but all with one acoustic clarinet (if acoustic clarinet was not a term, it is now, just for emphasis). Kwami Winfield also did a splendid – microphone stuffed into a trumpet crazy noises extravaganza that came out wonderfully in that space.
Usually I prefer dryer spaces for my own music – but the resonance was good – sound didn’t disappear into a clouded muffledness but had a clarity and precision it seemed despite the reverbaration.
Apart from going to a Korean late night restaurant with Liz and Tim there was not much time to party afterward. I had to get up early the next morning to go to Ithaca. A lecture in Cornell at 1:30 pm after 4 hours of sleep and a 5 hour bus ride in the morning.
My friend Travis Johns who, as a matter of fact, was the instigator of all this (the guy that wrote the first email), recieved me at the bus stop – all suit and tie very clean and tidy looking – looked like the man I had always known but with a professor Johns aura (I was wearing the same clothes from the gig the night before, T-shirt with potato chips crumbled all over it). I asked him if I cold at least change my clothes somewhere before the lecture. He and his wife Paulina (a great visual artist) took me to the famous Moosewood restaurant, which was right by the bus station.
It slowly dawned on me that this wasn’t Travis’s usual professor look but he was merely putting on a play in order to make me slightly nervous.
Before entering the lecture hall Travis put on Bring the Ruckus by the Wu-Tang Clan and I felt that was fitting. I was ready for the grill, ready to be cooked up or even eaten raw by the Cornell composition students. Turned out the were very friendly. No ruckus needed – no beef – all vegetarian and just very nice and interesting questions and conversations. The “kids” are alright.
Marianthi Pappalexandri-Alexandri, who was my host -formally speaking, also had lots of interesting thoughts and reflections on the various subjects. To my great surprise she was aware of the work of Goodiepal. Why wouldn’t she?
We manage to recruit one of the students for a gig the next day. John Eagle is his name. On Saturday November 12th me, John Eagle, Travis Johns and the animated notation giant Ryan Ross Smith put together a concert of animated notation “cult classics” in the Soil Factory which is an enormously intersting venue.
It is a place where heavy duty academic people from different fields along with heavy duty non academic people meet and host art exhibits, concerts and various get togethers. Most of said get togethers revolve around climate related topics and more specifically often soil related topics. In other words the toilet was very organic – they practice what they preach. This felt like a place where things are actually happening – I felt I was walking into something historical in the making. I encourage anyone to check out this place and the people affiliated with it if people find themselves in Ithaca for whichever reason.
Ryan is an old friend. He has been in Iceland a couple of times. We are part of the world wide animated notation hang but he more then anyone else in that “field” has been very close to the Icelandic scene for a long time. There is a special affinity between his work and the S.L.Á.T.U.R. community and also it helps that we both went to the same school although not at the same time.
On Monday the 14th I went down to Binghamton to give a lecture at SUNY Broome which is where Ryan Ross Smith currently teaches. I lectured on animated notation and related topics – same slides as the Cornell lecture. The students were mostly students in recording technology but we had great discussions and manage to play a part of a score during the lecture.
Binghamton, like Ithaca is located in a beautiful hillside, forested upstate New York area and has a lot of old historical buildings. It has a seemingly different economical situation than Ithaca for instance you see ads in the bus shelters about joining the U.S. Air Force – which I didn’t see anywhere else that I went. Having been in various places in the States, this doesn’t surprise me, unfortunately. Yet it is a very charming town that left a very deep impression on me and the students seemed very nice.
During the end of my stay in Binghamton, me and Ryan discussed some big plans, big big plans. (More on that later).
After a brief stop in NYC eating Dosas in Jackson Heights with Shayna’s boyfriend Sree, I went to Princeton NJ.
My host in Princeton was Jeff Snyder. First I did a brief lecture in his class. The students were there for max/MSP, pd, interactivity and various advanced computer music topics. They were coming from music and/or computer science from what I understand. They seemed to follow quite well despite the seemingly fast pace of the class. I watched a few students present collaborative projects using max/MSP, many of which were quite intruiging and impressive.
In the evening I got to hear the PLORK or Princeton Laptop Orchestra rehearse, including one of my pieces. To my great surprise they didn’t only play laptops which is an element that Jeff Snyder introduced into the group (what, acoustic instruments?) and they did a great job. Also two student pieces were being rehearsed which sounded very good and had complicated technology and some deep conceptual dimensions seemingly. One of the pieces had the stage covered in strings that interacted with the computers and the performers made geometric shapes with them. The other had a bunch of piezoed Ukuleles beefed up and feedbacking intentionally, which was quite up my alley in some way (the ukulele part for sure).
Me and Jeff tried to find places to eat after the rehearsal which had gone over time. He suggested we’d go to his place. It was quite an adventure to see where he lives, he has a small setup there in addition to the very impressive facilities he has on the Princeton campus. In both places he had a studio setup and some instrument building – things in the making. He is a fascinating artist and a human being.
His dog potato greeted us and he made some soup and salad and we sat on his porch overlooking his pedal steel in the living room. We talked about Susan Alcorn and other virtuosi of the pedal steel guitar and the wonders of the instrument. His knowledge of the subject is very impressive.
The last night was the only night I got to stay at a hotel, or more specifically some hotel like facilities in the Princeton Seminary. It was a short night because I had to go all the way to JFK airport and had back home to the land of Ice the next morning. I made it back and now I’m here. I had such a great time on my journeys but oh boy was I tired.
Can’t wait to do it again though!
After the premier of Horpma III (for 27 plucked string instruments in just intonation) on the first Tectonics Festival in Harpa in the year 2012 me and Halldór Úlfarsson met and talked about specifically designing semi-homogenouse instruments for this or a similar purpose. Instead of having a vast array of plucked string instruments of different shapes and sizes getting in each other way because of differences in dynamics and articulation we imagined having simple instruments with controlled mini differences manufactured by us and the performers in a maker lab of some sort.
Over the years between failed grant applications and opportunities that didn’t quite pan out as we hoped, this idea was still very much in the air between the two of us and we would discuss it every time we met and a very prototype version of these instruments eventually appeared in my opera Einvaldsóður in 2017.
Long story short, the long awaited opportunity arrived to do our large piece with students of the Glasir Gymnasium (or high school) in 2020. Our idea from the very start was always to include:
- amateur musicians in a large group
- cheap “ingredients”
- a manufacturing process that could be done relatively quickly in any part of the world given that it had a maker lab
- Use fruit cans as resonators and have the participants eat ice cream and canned fruit as a part of the process for making the instruments
All of this and much more came into the world a year later than planned, in this last September (2021) in Tórshavn in the Faroe Islands. We had the opportunity to work with the in-house Fablab master Jan Hellisdal McIntosh and he was extremely competent in the task and generous with his time and resources.
Students assembled the instruments with nylon fishing lines, screws from a hardware store, as well as laser cut cheep MDF “wood” and 3D printed plastic bridges. Then they cleared out the cans quite professionally just as planned. Then each of them decorated the instruments however they wanted.
Once the instruments had been made the big question still remained. Will 29 people, most of which are completely uneducated in music, be able to learn how to read my animated score and play a 3 string instruments after very little rehearsal time.
What can I say, the musicality of these students surpassed my greatest hopes and I’m a very optimistic man (otherwise I wouldn’t have ventured into this in the first place.
So hear you go 29 Gígjas performing Dhorpma I – Sálarró at the Glasir Gymnasium on Nordic Music Days September 3rd 2021:
Landvættirnar eftir Guðmund Stein Gunnarsson í Mengi laugardaginn 6. febrúar klukkan 20, sunnudaginn 7. febrúar klukkan 20 og miðvikudaginn 10. febrúar klukkan 20.
Miðaverð 2.500.- Bókið sæti á firstname.lastname@example.org
Landvættirnar fjórar er setta af fjórum sjálfstæðum en samliggjandi verkum eftir Guðmund Stein Gunnarsson. Tilurð verkanna hefur átt sér nokkuð langan aðdraganda.
Deilt hefur verið um hvað landvættirnar tákna og sú spurning er skoðuð í tónum og hljóði. Var það Snorri Sturluson sem bjó þá til? Eru þeir eldri og af erlendri fyrirmynd? Tákna þeir eitthvað annað? Eða eru þeir hreinlega til í raunveruleikanum og goðsögnin þar af leiðandi sönn?
Verkið er yfir klukkustund að lengd en skiptist í marga undirþætti. Flytjendur leika allir á fleiri en eitt hljóðfæri og stöku sinnum fleiri en eitt í einu. Tónverkið notast við hreyfinótur sem eru vídjó á tölvuskjá og ná þannig að framkalla ýmis konar hikstandi hrynjandi og jafnframt einhvers konar dáleiðslu.
Verkið notast við tónstillingar sem byggja á náttúruyfirtónum og smástígum tónbilum. Með þessu er framkallaður ákveðinn seiður sem líkist hefðbundnum íslenskum kvæðasöng á köflum.
Flytjendur verða Kammerhópurinn Steinalda sem í eru:
Þórunn Björnsdóttir, Steinunn Vala Pálsdóttir, Ásthildur Ákadóttir, Andrés Þorvarðarson, Óskar Magnússon og Páll Ivan frá Eiðum.
Verkefnið er styrkt af Tónlistarsjóði Menntamálaráðuneytis, Átakssjóði Tónlistarsjóðs vegna Covid-19 og Starfslaunasjóði Listamanna 2019.
Hlekkir fyrir hvern viðburð fyrir sig hér að neðan.
∞ ∞ ∞
Landvættirnar by Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson in Mengi; Saturday, February 6 at 8 p.m., Sunday, February 7 at 8 p.m.
on Wednesday, February 10 at 8 p.m.
Ticket price 2,500.- Book a seat at email@example.com
The four land wights are mysterious creatures – they appear everywhere in modern day Icelandic culture, on the parliament building, in soccer tournaments and on the Icelandic coins. A coat of arms for a country without an army. They are said to reside in each of the quarters of the country, protecting it. Nobody knows where they came from, why they’re here, and overall their origins and history is a subject to debate to say the least. Why are they still considered so valuable to this day then?
A set of four suites, one for each of the four land wights is going to be performed by a new experimental music ensemble called Steinalda. It’s composer Guðmundur Steinn Gunnarsson has been working on it for quite some time now. It’s a piece that explores nuances in everyday objects as well as traditional instruments. The musical language is very experimental, but this time around, if anything, melodic.
Links to each event:
Laugardaginn 6. febrúar kl: 20:00
Sunnudaginn 7. febrúar kl: 20:00
Miðvikudaginn 10. febrúar kl: 20:00
I met Halldór Úlfarsson in 2003. Then he had just made his first “punk-fiddle” which later evolved into his famous Halldorophone. In 2013 however, he introduced me to a piece of equipment called a 3d printer. To me it was a hilarious device because I had been thinking that in the future people will simply buy a toothbrush online and print it out. The future was already here.
We talked about what we could do with a 3d printer in relation to musical instruments. We thought about digital routers and laser cutters also. All of these eventually found their way into our collaborations.
After I had slept on the concept of 3d printing though, I felt that the clarinet barrel was a piece that was an “easy target” so to speak, in order to transform a traditional instrument into something slightly different. Perhaps something very subtle however, almost like a trumpet mute.
Little did I know that a student at the Iceland University of Arts had approached him with exactly the same observation. He happened to play the clarinet. Þráinn Hjálmarsson was involved as well and we got busy right away. We got to the drawing board and almost immediately started printing out experimental versions.
The first ones were way too grotesque, too extreme and some where not very helpful to tone production of any kind. Already by version 3 however, we found something that I immediately fell in love with. We started developing version 3 into 3.1 and so on until we got to 3.2.1. By then I was satisfied and wanted to use this particular barrel in a piece that I was writing. By now it has appeared in 8 of my pieces so far.
What touched me about the 3.2.1 was that it had a very subdued timbre and made the interval structure of the instrument narrower in a non-linear manner. A lot of my music had been dealing with some sort of subdued timbres with melodies and counterpoint of narrow intervals. For instance Helfákn:
I am a part of a composer collective in Iceland which is called S.L.Á.T.U.R.. It was at its peak of activity in those days. We had many annual, monthly and sometimes weekly events in this period, public or private. The one that usually drew the biggest crowed though, was our New Years concert. We decided that we would do the 2014 new years concert with people writing short pieces for a clarinet quartet with 3d printed clarinet barrels and other variations. It was a success, now we had created not only weird clarinet barrels but a musical repertoire.
This was the start of a busy year – a year in which I traveled more than I have done previously or since. I also wrote several pieces – many of which use 3d printed clarinet barrels.
Starting with the 2014 S.L.Á.T.U.R. New Years Concert, the pieces I wrote are called Skrund 1, 2 and 3 and they were performed as interludes between other pieces (yes perhaps those 3 were just one piece – a matter of definition, 3 individual stück nevertheless).
Then there were the 5 Norræn abstrakt verk (or 5 Nordic Abstract Works) for solo clarinet written for Ingólfur Vilhjálmsson from Ensemble Adapter. Then I wrote Siglitør for the Norwegian Ensemble Tøyen fil og klafferi and the first out of four in a particularly fruitful collaboration (which also includes Hyglitør, seen and heard below).
This fall also had the premier of the biggest piece I had done using my preferred method of notation, namely animated notation. Conductor Ilan Volkov had taken over the baton of the Iceland Symphony in 2011. All of a sudden there was a leading figure in the Icelandic music establishment that was not only open to experimental music but had primary enthusiasm for not just new music in general but experimental music in particular.
There were many collaborations that Slátur did with Mr. Volkov during his stay in Iceland and at one point he had asked me if I wanted to have a piece on a concert that he was setting up in Glasgow. He mentioned my piece Laur but after talking I expressed my wish to write something new. When I asked about the instrumentation of the group he told me that it was the BBC Scottish Symphony. Yikes.
Big opportuinites tend to bring out the most conservative. I was aware of that. A lot of interesting composers write less interesting pieces for orchestras for some reason. For me comfort and compromise would have been betraying everything I believe in so I decided to write this piece as if it was the last piece I would ever write. Plus, I had already once written a more traditional orchestral piece mainly in order to get some grip of its machinery in case such an opportunity would rise.
I worked on Sporgýla in 2013-2014 in parallel with the other pieces I already mentioned. I also had a part time job as a museum guard at the time. There was a lot of juggling. I wanted to have the barrels in there. I wanted to use animated notation. These were to things that I needed to “sell” the people at the BBC so to speak. One out of two would have stopped most orchestras from performing it.
How would I bring my vision to a full orchestra? It was a problematic medium for me in many ways. Incidentally I met with a lot of musicians in Iceland, many of whom were in the Iceland Symphony to talk about various techniques. The individuals are always great even when the group tends to be a bit politically, well . . .
When I arrived in Glasgow my first mission was to introduce the clarinet barrels to the clarinet section as gently as I could. It’s not that there wasn’t skepticism but the principal clarinetist was particularly tolerant and collaborative which was key. For a musician of that caliber it’s not a given to want to be seen with a see-through plastic, or even green or yellow instead of a proper looking barrel on the instrument.
My second mission was to get the screen technology working for 6 groups, 36 musicians in all. This was the part that went cuckoo. In short, the piece was going to be the starter of the concert and the computer synchronization failed – on stage. We had to try again after intermission by starting manually by cue (which is a practice I have found myself doing increasingly over the last years). My synchronization had worked the same way for 8 years and never failed. With changes in recent operating systems due to security reasons, things were no longer the way I was used to. No more excuses, my bad. On second try, however, it sounded this way:
I was fairly pleased with the performance despite of it all. I don’t think the BBC SSO administration was happy about this whole thing however. They remained polite nevertheless as they are all nice people. Things like this are common place in S.L.Á.T.U.R. performances in Reykjavík but are seldom seen on the global orchestral stage. If a conductor drops the baton, the performance doesn’t stop. If a violist breaks a string, the performance doesn’t stop (both of these things happened in the same concert). These are important considerations and the streamlined orchestra machine is a lot to compete with. The barrels performed splendidly however despite some quirks they still had – the players handled them well.
In the end of the year I wrote a piece for Ensemble Crush from Duisburg for the Winter Akademie in Schloss Benrath hosted by Gerhard Stäbler and Kunsu Shim. The clarinettist of the group Kyusang Jeong was thankfully very open to this. This piece also used the 3D printed clarinet barrels. This was a memorable event as well, and luckily no fiasco.
For some reason I haven’t used the 3d printed clarinet barrels since, but I’ve sent the “recipe” to several people who are interested in developing this idea further. The plan has been to go deeper into this at some point, we’ll see. Perhaps we will go deeper into this project again – we had a lot of ideas we still haven’t tried out. We are interested in seeing other people develop these ideas for their own purposes as well. We want to try making the barrels with other materials as well. Remaking other parts of various wind instruments is also an option but this is a larger assignment. In some ways it opens the woodwind instrument up as a modular phenomenon like a modular synthesizer or a chain of guitar effects pedals. One could imagine students having crazy 3D printed additions or substitutes on their instruments to switch around play with (in every sense of the word play). These technologies have a lot to offer which we haven’t even started to scratch the surface of and inevitably it will influence a lot of things musically in the years to come as I believe it already has done in various other fields.