About Playing and Playing Memories Joseph Kudirka Heather Frasch
Before playing, there was talking about music, sound, listening, memory… listening to other music, playing of other music, drinking…
When actually playing, I was listening to the space, and thinking about just being part of the space; not so much considering the sounds others were making as being separate from the environment, but just another part of it.
I was consciously trying to think of me and my guitar as being physically part of this environment, both in physical body and in sound; the sounds of sitting there and being; letting my posture and gravity help determine how my e-bow sat on the strings, for instance; manipulating the knobs and the pick guard as physical movements as much as sounds; simply letting all of this happen as slight, conscious interactions with the environment, of which the sounds and actions of the others were a part.
The recording session:
Before playing we had had an interesting discussion in which the notion of non-music came up.
We talked about other things too:
how we each experience something differently, even when listening in the same room; how pieces become a new piece through that different perspective and as they live differently in our memory.
But the notion of non-music intrigued me. I still don’t know what non-music is. But, at the moment, it seemed to be about focusing directly on the energy of the experience that includes everything—the room, the moment, the people, the objects. Everything. This is also how I think of “music,” so maybe they are a different way of looking at the same thing…
This is what was going through my mind when we began. As a starting point, I focused on making decisions that were not based on a musical reaction. So not sounding good or being a sonic compliment, but other aspects to pay attention and respond to. First thing I remember is seeing my dog sitting next to me and thinking about how he loves the sound of crinkling paper. I love it too, but not for the same reason. I think it sounds pretty. My dog associates it with food and will come running from across the dog park if someone crinkles a certain type of plastic. It seemed like a good place to start. I crinkled paper and plastic quietly and carefully.
Koen is playing sine tones and Joe is responding. I remember it being playful at first. Then, something changes and it’s almost as if some of the sounds are not audible—barely audible. It’s hard to tell when they’re there and when they’re not. I like that. So then I try and articulate them slightly with my flute. I try to bring them to the foreground and then let their residue collapse back and linger in the space. But I think to myself that this is a musical decision. So I stop. Later, Joe makes some really pretty sounds, small bends on his guitar. I begin to imitate the sounds. It’s a very musical moment. But then I stop again because I want to focus on another kind of listening—a non-musical one. I’m still unsure what that means, but I want to know.
Suddenly my dog hears a noise that stresses him out, and he runs to the door barking. He very rarely does that; he usually barks at things on the balcony. He’s a bit animated but then comes back and eventually settles down.
This draws my attention to outside. I hear some sounds on the street. I try to blend my flute with those sounds but also bring in pitches, just slightly, that articulate the sine tones that we’ve heard before. I tried to not always make “musical” decisions but other decisions that can lead to sounds, such as feeling the environment or the relationship of objects in the environment. I remember Joe saying earlier something like, “It’s not about whether or not sound is present.”
I don’t know what I played after, but I remember I liked working in that way. I liked trying not to make music, trying to find another listening place, but also being unable to help myself. I liked trying to find the boarder of an idea, to see where the limitations were and then come back. In the end, I love sound and some of the sounds were so nice. But I like finding another listening, another existence for them to live within.