Improvisation with Cassette Players
Live Performance at A+ Contemporary
For this performance, I prepared ten cassette players and ten cassette tapes that could play for 15 seconds on loop. Throughout the practice of improvisation, performers always discuss about their collaboration as well as competition in sound; meanwhile acting as listeners and sound creators, performers often add various invisible conditions to improvisation, which seemingly impede its freedom but rather lead its direction, and thereby not lapse into a form of delusive self-exhibition. In this improvisation, I made use of cassette players; the sound that I processed seemed only able to migrate between my utterance and the transmission of cassette players, and yet the flexibility of the cassette players enabled me to explore the performing space, expanding my uttering space to the entire room and allowing me to easily construct a unique world of sound. In the process of improvisation, besides making sounds, I was also concerned about the diffusion of sound in space, which allowed me to record some other sounds with each of the players. This type of music with repetitions and full of conditions shall be attributed to the influence of American minimalist composer Steve Reich. In his article “Music as a Gradual Process”, he mentioned that “content suggests form”, and yet “process suggests content”. In my improvisation, listening determined the content I needed, and repetitions dictated the representation of the performance, which led to its style of diffusion in space; the acoustic quality was confined to that made by the transmission of the cassette players, which made the process of sound production full of variables, and which nevertheless was not that far from the frequency given by my volition, granting me the possibility of listening carefully.
There is also a reference from Andrew Haigh's film 'Weekend' (2011) in this performance, for those who have watched it might understand what does it mean.
在上海 A+ Contemporary 亞洲當代藝術空間
為了是次演出，我準備了十部卡式帶錄音機，和十塊能夠重複播放聲音十五秒的卡式錄音帶。在即興演奏裡，演奏者們總是在探討著他們之間聲音上的合作和角力，演奏者同時作為聆聽者和製造聲音者，往往令即興演奏增加各式各樣看不見的條件，看似窒礙了即興的自由度，實則給予演奏者即興演奏的方向，而不致於將演奏流於虛妄的自我表現當中。這次即興演奏裡，我運用到卡式錄音機，令我能夠主動處理的聲音看似僅僅能夠遊走於我的發聲和錄音機的播放當中，然而，也因為錄音機輕便流動的性能，它使我能夠用以探索場地的空間，將我能夠「發聲」的空間擴展至整個場地，讓我能夠輕易建構一個獨特的聲音世界。在即興的過程中，我除了一邊製造聲音，另一方面，也一直在留意聲音在空間的擴散，好讓我將一部部的卡式帶錄音機重新改錄別的聲音，這種重複而充滿條件的音樂其實是深受美國簡約主義作曲家 Steve Reich （斯蒂夫·莱奇）的影響，在他的文章《Music as a Gradual Process》裡，他提到「內容決定形式」，而「過程決定內容」。在我的即興演奏裡，聆聽決定了我要甚麼內容，而重複的內容也決定了其演出的形式，導致其空間裡擴散的風格，經過錄音機的聲音限於其錄音、卡式帶和播放的音質，導致一個單純的聲音製造過程裡充滿著變數，然而它也離我意志所給予的頻率所不遠，給予我仔細聆聽的可能。