LIVE – WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND
Jean-Luc Godard Archives
Photo by Camille Blake
Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics, live video
The Long Now Festival, Kraftwerk Berlin March 24, 2018
Arma X, Funkhause Berlin June 2, 2018
DokuFEST, Prizren August 10, 2018
The NYC and Berlin based group were invited to aurally explore the archive of the seminal French director Jean-Luc Godard and release their interpretations in an innovative new album What We Leave Behind. Drawing on Godard’s personal collection of shot film, reel-to-reels and historical ephemera, the recordings reveal the moments before and after the camera rolls, from stage directions and on-set asides to rehearsals, false stars and outtakes.
“There are boxes filled with sounds, words, chaos, and also silence. For Godard sound is a musical composition and when I began listening to the tapes and heard his voice between takes, it was like little bits of life…each sound has its own value. It has always been part of our working practice to venture into untapped sonic territories, discover the poetics behind them, and explore how we (as humans) relate to it, it is part of a larger discourse.”
Stephan Crasneancki, Soundwalk Collective
Revealing much insight to the director’s process and personality, the 6-track album will be followed by a remix EP, featuring unique reworks from Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek and Petre Inspirescu.
What We Leave Behind, and the subsequent remix EP, arrives 50 years to the day that the the Cannes Film Festival, 1968, was closed after Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and Claude Lelouche, publicly announced their closing of the festival in solidarity with workers and students protesting across the country.
The LP is pressed on heavyweight vinyl and features a conversation between Stephan Crasneanscki, of Soundwalk Collective, and François Musy, Jean-Luc Godard’s sound engineer, printed on a translucent paper insert. It will be accompanied by a series of mesmeric short films created inside the archives.
‘L’Impossible du Possible’
from the album What We Leave Behind – Jean Luc-Godard Archives
Film by Stephan Crasneanscki
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for The Vinyl Factory
‘These sonic fragments of magic dust, unearthed from Godard’s archive, now glisten on the musical surface of the new album, in a condensed elliptical form. Soundwalk Collective have immersed themselves in the sonic environment of Godard’s filmmaking process, and What We Leave Behind is filled with sounds and voices circulating rhythmically, merging with vast swathes of musical tints and acoustic energy.
I experienced these tracks as if I had accidently fallen into someone else’s dream or into the spiritual realm of an afterlife. One haunting phrase that forms the basis of the first track is ‘Lorsque la philosophie’ (‘When philosophy’), deriving from the ‘owl of Minerva’ passage in Hegel’s Elements of the Philosophy of Right, cited in Godard’s Allemagne année 90 neuf zero (1991) and Histoire(s) du cinéma (1988). The phrase emerges from a nest of echoey electronic vibrations, cradled by the distant clicks of the clapperboard, by Godard’s voice calling for another take, and by other rumbling spoken words, buoyed by electronic synth music. Soundwalk Collective render these sparse phrases luminous as something is recollected and imagined, and then the light fades.
In What We Leave Behind, the spaces that open between words, phrases, melodies and films, enable the listener’s imagination to breathe. They release the sonic memories from their source, so they can travel and transform. A double archive is formed from the listener’s own memories of Godard’s cinema, and from the chaotic fragments of archival sound matter that Soundwalk Collective bring to life by using snippets of pre-existing material to make something new, in a tribute to Godard himself.
The effect of listening to the album after listening to the radio piece is a bit like looking at a painting of a painting. A hazy gauze has been added to the fragments of sound. We are now listening in our sleep or in a sort of lucid dream.’
‘Marking 50 years since Mai ’68, Soundwalk Collective present a rare insight into the archives of filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard with this collaged suite of recordings using samples from Godard’s personal archive. It’s enchanting at the very least, luring listeners into an other world of Gallic whimsy, smoky jazzz, and sound poetry with a dreamily nostalgic effect that may even be described as hauntological. Keep an ear out for upcoming Ricardo Villalobos reworks of this gear…’
LIVE – BEFORE MUSIC THERE IS BLOOD
With Éponine Momenceau
Photo by Daniele Baldi
Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Éponine Momenceau: live video
La Seine Musicale, Paris December 16, 2017
Arma London, Great Suffolk St. Warehouse, London September 23, 2017
Waking Life Festival, Crato, Portugal August 20, 2017
Signal Festival, Nikolai-Lenivets, Russia August 17, 2017
Radialsystem V, Berlin June 12, 2017
La Triennale, Teatro dell’Arte, Milano March 28, 2017
La Nuit Blanche, Paris October 1, 2016
Outline Festival, Moscow July 2, 2016
Soundwalk Collective Retrospective, Capo d’Arte, Gagliano July 25 – August 29, 2015
Apollo Records is proud to present a stunning new project from NYC / Berlin based artists Soundwalk Collective AKA the trio of Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi.
For ‘Before Music There Is Blood’ they have collaborated with the world’s most prestigious music conservatories (the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (China), The N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Saint Petersburg State Conservatory (Russia) and the Conservatorio di Musica S. Pietro A Majella in Napoli (Italy).
They entered the hallowed courtyards, corridors and classrooms of these three academies, recorded hundreds of hours of these elite students practicing and rehearsing to the highest standards of virtuosity.
“The piece questions what is music, composition, and ultimately what is harmony,” they explain. “It is an attempt to capture notes out of their context – bleeding into each other through the walls, windows, courtyards and alleyway of the conservatory.”
These unexpected melodies are the result of an impromptu, anarchic musical composition of all instruments, where composers, centuries and civilisations are echoing each other in one acoustic space – ghostly fragments of conversation, skittering percussive stabs, burbling synthesis, oscillating swathes of droning strings and hushed, gauzy ambiance. Max Loderbauer supplies a stunning rework that lets the sunshine into the hallowed academic halls a percolating iridescent odyssey – A fitting return to Apollo Records for Max Loderbauer who produced a series of classics for the label in the nineties as half of Sun Electric.
from the album Before Music There Is Blood
Film by Eponine Momenceau
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Apollo Records
Casting themselves as neo-classical peeping toms, the trio recorded conservatoire students practicing and rehearsing, capturing the sounds out of context and reworking them into a suite of four productions. From the Villalobos-does-electroacoustic meanderings of Auditorium Scarlatti to the supple string and polyrhythmic developments of Xiao Youmei Corridor and the foreboding Nico Jaar-style beat reductions of Cai Yuanpei Hall 27, Soundwalk Collective’s devil is forever in the detail, making what was evidently hours of painstaking work seem quite natural and otherworldly. The hushed, ambient operatics of Rimsky-Korsakov Court are even blessed with a closing, and rather cosy remix from Max Loderbauer.’
“The piece questions what is music, composition, and ultimately what is harmony,” they explain. “It is an attempt to capture notes out of their context—bleeding into each other through the walls, windows, courtyards and alleyway of the conservatory.”
These unexpected melodies are the result of an impromptu, anarchic musical composition of all instruments, where composers, centuries and civilizations are echoing each other in one acoustic space—ghostly fragments of conversation, skittering percussive stabs, burbling synthesis, oscillating swathes of droning strings and hushed, gauzy ambiance.
Max Loderbauer also supplies a rework.
There is a real mix of all things strange and wonderful on this opus, from the modern classical experiment of “Auditorium Scarlatti” through to German electronica don Max Loderbauer’s remix of “Rimsky-Korsakov Court”.
It’s literally an echo box of found sound, rehearsal snippets and procured ambiance. If you’re a fan of GAS, Touch Records or Eno, you will love this.
LIVE – KILLER ROAD
With Patti Smith, Jesse Paris Smith & Tina Frank
Photo by Dasha Redkina
Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Jesse Paris Smith: resonating & percussive acoustic instruments
Patti Smith: voice
Tina Frank: live video
Abu Dhabi Art, Abu Dhabi November 4, 2014
Union Chapel, London October 27, 2014
Volksbühne, Berlin October 26, 2014
FIAF’s Florence Gould Hall, NYC October 2, 2014
Killer Road is a sound exploration of the tragic death of Nico, Velvet Underground vocalist and 60s icon, while riding her bike on the island of Ibiza in the summer of 1988. A hypnotic meditation on the idea of perpetual motion and the cycle of life and death, the composition features Patti Smith lending her unique voice to the last poems written by the artist. Soundwalk Collective and Jesse Paris Smith use a travel log of field recordings, harmonics, and samples of Nico’s signature instrument, the harmonium, to create a magnetic soundscape.
‘Fearfully In Danger’ – Live at Volksbühne Berlin – from the album Killer Road – A Tribute To Nico
Directed and edited by Barbara Klein
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Sacred Bones Records
ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE
“From the moment Smith walked unceremoniously to the microphone, following her daughter, multi-instrumentalist Jesse Paris Smith, and audiovisual unit the Soundwalk Collective, the presentation was hypnotic, unorthodox and rendered in near darkness. A large projection screen illuminated the stage while scenic footage of Nico’s former bicycle paths wafted in and out of focus.
Soundwalk Collective […] paired Smith’s technique with the sounds of nature, cycling between crescendo and decrescendo. The group’s members – Stephan Crasneanscki, Simone Merli and Kamran Sadeghi – were arranged around what appeared to be a musical laboratory, a table sprawling with instruments both primitive and futuristic: everything from crystal orbs to wind chimes to fountains of wires shooting from iridescent laptops poised to begin looping sound. Toward the end, Paris Smith accompanied her mother on an inharmonic instrument called a waterphone, filling the theater with a pall of mystery.
[…] the evening was tinged with peril. The sound of beach waves tilted into footsteps approaching in the sand, the thrum of honeybees transformed into a thick swarm. “Killer road is waiting for you like a finger in the night,” Smith seethed in a moment that felt like an echo of “It Was a Pleasure Then,” a song from Nico’s solo album Chelsea Girl. Briefly, it sounded as though Smith’s voice was enacting John Cale’s guitar, and Nico’s desultory words hung in the air: “If I seem to be afraid to live the life that I have made in song/ It’s just that I’ve been losing so long.”
“Neither the soundscapes, projections nor even Nico’s verse on the page would be enough to command attention, but as a synthesis of light, sound and word it was overpoweringly emotive.”
[…] the three musicians of Soundwalk Collective with sample electronics, analog synthesizers and a series of effect pedals’ sound spaces generate trance-standstill.
A carefully arranged interplay of abstract sounds and concrete sounds, the collaged Patti Smith’s charismatic voice with the sampled breath of a harmonium and ocean waves, Möwenschnattern, cicadas buzzing, rustling leaves or Spanish voices […] are entirely immersed in the sound and the shadowy world of Nico.
“Killer Road” is a wonderful meditation work whose performance is more reminiscent of a séance than a concert, and for a good 60 minutes another the spirit of a great artist awakes, whose songs have always sounded as if they ascend from a deep tomb.”
LIVE – A MEMOIR OF DISINTEGRATION
With Nan Goldin, Samuel Rohrer & Tina Frank
Photo by Marco Microbi
Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Nan Goldin: voice
Samuel Rohrer: drums
Tina Frank: live video
Nuits Sonores Festival, Opera de Lyon, Lyon May 14, 2015
CTM Festival, HAU 1, Berlin January 24, 2015
A homage to David Wojnarowicz’s powerful untuned stance by Soundwalk Collective with American photographer Nan Goldin. “A Memoir Of Disintegration” is a sound composition based on David Wojnarowicz’s homonymous and provocative correspondence that explores and captures existence at the margin of society in 1980s underground New York City. An intense and dark journey over street life, drugs, art and nature, politics, friendship, and acceptance, the live performance features Nan Goldin interpreting the most expressive excerpts of Wojnarowicz’s writings. Soundwalk Collective perform a live musical score thick with jarring physicality juxtaposed to a sound memento of field recordings from New York City throughout the past two decades. With live visuals from video artist Tina Frank, and Samuel Rohrer on drums.
A Memoir Of Disintegration – live at HAU 1 Berlin, CTM Festival 2014
Film by Barbara Klein
“[…] the centre of the evening and highlight was the world premiere of “A Memoir of Disintegration”, a project of the New York Soundwalk Collective, based on the [homonymous] texts of the avant-garde artist David Wojnarowicz, died of AIDS in Lower East Side in 1992.
Artist Tina Frank steered a multilayered film collage composed of the melting cityscapes [of New York] between barbed wire and control lights and glittery panoramas, with excerpts from Wojnarowicz ‘s disturbing [film] “Where Evil Dwells” […].
Nan Goldin, the photographer of the Eighties underground, read in splendidly laconic William Burroughs-tone from the memoirs of the outsider artist to his violent father, erotic encounters, the suicide of a friend, the terrible ubiquity of the virus [AIDS] and the increasingly routine response.
Great drummer Samuel Rohrer improvised to the Soundwalk Collective sounds of New York. Quiet and loose jazz, combined with the analog, electronic and percussive sounds [by the collective], morphing slowly into a serious soundtrack, reminiscent of Bill Laswell’s Ambient Dubs from the early nineties. Of course, the historical context, certain atmosphere, [created] a haunting, piercing suggestive reflection on the dissonances of politics and history, triggering the subliminal […] in the minds of listeners.”
“Nan Goldin’s collaboration with the Soundwalk Collective […] is a thoughtful, moving piece. An orange yellow street lamp glows in the screen, ringed like Jupiter. A hum, a whoosh as metal is spun around the edge of a cymbal. “I feel a vague nausea…” says Nan Goldin, reading from the writings of David Wojnarowicz, the poet who died of AIDS in 1992. “Destination means death to me.” Too often the pioneering spirit of countercultural art movements fade into nostalgia, used as a signifier on the interests section of dating websites, ossified into expensive monographs, rendered mundane by endlessly gabbling talking-head turkeys. “I grew up in a tiny version of hell called the suburbs” she talks calmly of familial abuse and violence, and a clapperboard house appears on the screen behind the musicians. “Where evil dwells” is written on a sheet of glass in front of this all-American view.
The freeform but subtly intense musical backing makes this contemporary and relevant. Those suburban lawns are still tended, and unspeakable things still happen behind those freshly painted doors. A meditation on death and survival sees a groove gradually emerge: “I want relief from this yap yapping of my brain. I wish I could pluck it out and leave it in the corner, while I go out for the evening. “Goldin makes notes throughout, her pen bringing these words into this moment, and it closes with the reading of a passage of redemption, of coming to terms with individual suffering at the hands of family or state, and a fulsome description of a gay encounter in an hotel room . The final words are of acceptance, positive even: “Smell the flowers while you can” on the screen, a school globe spins.”