Monday, November 18, 2013

Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble

 Sond'Ar-te looking sleek in light polkadots

A while back I posted on Tristan's piece Haiku. I loved it because (1) it was a full-on soundscape and (2) because he broke away from traditional musical notation (Because dots and staves are so 1600). In my musical journeys I'm happy to have found this tradition in Lisbon, Portugal--the land of good food, great beaches, and home to the Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble.

Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble is all about playing new music that incorporates electronics. What makes them different though is that the group is made of soloists. So, when they're not out there being awesome playing ridiculously hard and impressive concerti they join forces--like a musical Justice League or something. They also have annual composition competitions for young music writers that they perform.

Pendulum is one of the competition pieces written by local musician (and 2012 winner) Rui PenhaOnly listening to the audio, the music is dark and mysterious like an otherworldly scene out of a Miyazaki film. The the soot spirits of Totoro or the ghost train riders in Spirited Away come to mind. The amazing music video Rui made is effectively the animated cousin of Tristan's score. See if you can follow the pitches and pendulum swings. FYI, they follow the piano's movement. I hope one day he'll do a remake incorporating colors, shapes, or movements for all the the instruments. 

Watch Sond'Ar-te Live

You can catch Sond'Ar-te Electric Ensemble in concert 12 December at the Festival Musica Viva in, of course, Lisbon! I'm kind of hoping these European rock stars will have time to come this side of the Atlantic, preferably with their immersive audio-video setup. 


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