LIVE – BEFORE MUSIC THERE IS BLOOD

With Éponine Momenceau

Credits

Photo by Daniele Baldi

STAGE FORMATION

Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Éponine Momenceau: live video

Performances

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

Synopsis

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.

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Credits

SOUNDWALK COLLECTIVE
‘Auditorium Scarlatti’
from the album Before Music There Is Blood
Film by Eponine Momenceau
Produced by Soundwalk Collective for Apollo Records
soundwalkcollective.com
randsrecords.com

Press

BOOMKAT

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.’

 

XLR8R

“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.

 

JUNO

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”.

 

DJ MAG

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

Credits

Photo by Dasha Redkina

STAGE FORMATION

Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Jesse Paris Smith: resonating & percussive acoustic instruments
Patti Smith: voice
Tina Frank: live video

Performances

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

Synopsis

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.

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Credits

‘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

Press

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.”


THE NATIONAL

“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.”


DER TAGESSPIEGEL

[…] 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

Credits

Photo by Marco Microbi


STAGE FORMATION

Soundwalk Collective: modular synthesizers, miscellaneous electronics
Nan Goldin: voice
Samuel Rohrer: drums
Tina Frank: live video

Performances

Nuits Sonores Festival, Opera de Lyon, Lyon May 14, 2015
CTM Festival, HAU 1, Berlin January 24, 2015

Synopsis

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.

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Credits

A Memoir Of Disintegration – live at HAU 1 Berlin, CTM Festival 2014
Film by Barbara Klein

Press

BERLINER ZEITUNG

“[…] 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.”


THE QUIETUS

“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.”