a/mi(d)st a/noise_and, -[d]is_interference/// - James A.-McEwan International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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a/mi(d)st a/noise_and, -[d]is_interference/// - James A.-McEwan

A work that seeks contemplation, calm, focus, and direction amidst buzzes and ashes of distraction. Noisy and sustained acoustic percussion elements are explored, revealing within them tonal and chordal elements, near-orchestral sounds, the sonic nuisance of electronic music and the timbres of industrial times. Many phones (and their users) function collectively to colour the performance situation, to introduce tapestries of glitching harmonic underpinnings and flashing screens. Small speakers are used not to amplify instruments or play audio recordings, but to produce the hissing sound of the input cables being touched by the performers’ fingers: the performers become a ground source in the speaker circuit, creating a ground loop. (This introduces the 50-cycle hum of the European mains current into the audio circuit, which is then heard through the speakers.) The speakers become instruments themselves, the percussion instruments create complex drones and rhythmic impulses (often excited in contemporary and somewhat unconventional manners), and our phones interfere and shape the situation, pushing it slightly outside of the concert hall, and toward our semidigital existence and consciousness. Within this, the audience is coaxed through dense landscapes and abrupt sonic changes, as we try to navigate through our complex, overbearing, fast-paced but also crushingly stagnant—yet at times moving, beautiful and hopefully silently meaningful—lives. 

James A.–McEwan