Petri Kuljuntausta | Dario Martinelli
2008, 63:05, 5KJ-0208 (CD)
Essay by Davide Collonnari:
Zoosphere – A musical encryption of animal sounds is the product of a twice-in-a-lifetime collaboration between "musicologicians" Petri Kuljuntausta and Dario Martinelli. We shall tell the story of their collaboration in chronological order, despite the order of the tracks in the present album. In 2003, Kuljuntausta invited Martinelli to perform an improvised live-electronics installation at Leena Kuumola Art Gallery in Helsinki. The idea was to combine the dense, polychromatic sound textures so masterfully created by Kuljuntausta with the various animal sounds that Martinelli has been tackling at an academic level, through his pioneering work in zoomusicology. No previous plan was made for this gig—the two simply met half an hour before the concert, plugged in their equipment, and started playing. The result, which we hear virtually untouched in A Zoomusicological Essay (the second track of this album), is fresh, lively and colourful. It sets a here-and-now instinctive mood, blending the complex artificiality of Kuljuntausta's sounds with the straightforwardness of Martinelli's animal samples by cheerful nonchalance.
Less spontaneously Romantic and more on the side of Enlightened rationality is the duo's second effort, Do Not Feed The Artists (the first track of the album). Composer Shinji Kanki, himself interested in animal-related music, commissioned Martinelli to write a "zoomusicological suite" for the 2004-05 New Music Academy concert season at the Sibelius Academy. A perfect occasion for Martinelli to return the favour to his friend, so the invitation was soon extended to Kuljuntausta.
The two sat down months before the premiere (scheduled for 31st of March, 2005), and immediately set a major rule, in fact a conditio sine qua non, of this new work: this time, every tiny single sound employed in the piece should be an animal sound. Beyond this, the two musicians could do whatever they wanted with the samples, and indeed they did, even to the point of creating completely unrecognizable camouflages. The starting point, though, was always systematically, zoological. Kuljuntausta and Martinelli built a sheer Noah's Ark of sounds, possibly even more dense than the previous piece, using dozens of animal species (from insects to big mammals), alternating soft quasi-melodic passages with industrial entropy, mechanical clockworks with a hint of irony. How not to read between the lines of the opening and closing phrases of the piece, so reminiscent of the little melody heard in Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Who are the aliens here, when a title like "Do not feed the – well – artists" is actually delivered?
The suite, performed as a tape-composition (featured on this album) plus live-improvisations, and repeated in Tartu at the Eclectica Avant Garde Festival the same year, was enriched by an elegantly zoomorphic choreography by Laura Pesonen, an additional bonus to a composition whose synaesthetic/multimedia intentions should be clear from the very start.
A final note, to serve as a disclaimer. Listeners who are handling this CD in the hope of finding some New Agey animal sound compilation aimed at relaxation and cosmic harmony will be profoundly disappointed. Zoosphere is an uncompromising work of experimentation, aimed to explore the richness and the potential of animal voices, with an approach that is by no means passive and contemplative, but rather inquisitive, intrusive and profoundly creative.
Do Not Feed The Artists - PK/DM - 34:24
A Zoomusicological Essay - PK/DM - 28:40
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