November saw the start of our 4th Manchester University project. This time we are working with postgraduate composers who will be writing pieces inspired by ‘breath’. It got off to a speedy and exciting start and we’re looking forward to seeing how these 5 pieces develop between now and March. For this month’s meet we invited Ben Mellefont and Adam Davies along. As the newest addition to the collective we wanted to introduce Ben to our work with Animikii so spent time looking at movement and eye contact within improvisation.
It’s always so exciting to improvise with someone for the first time and Ben’s playing is full of colours and ideas. About halfway through the session we started applying some of what we were doing to our work on the Feral Project – an ongoing exploration of Kaspar Hauser, an enigmatic feral child from 19th-century Germany, who grew up in captivity.
Thinking about his lack of connection with humans and the outside world, we played with repetitive mannerisms and a lack of eye contact to try and explore Kaspar’s character musically and physically, particularly his separation from his mother. We took a German song, Ich hab die Nacht getraumet, as the basis of the improvisation, with the idea that it could have been something she may have sung to him when he was a baby.
The film shows a few snippets of each of the exercises we did.
In addition to our Monthly Meet, November has been an exciting time – we welcomed our new administrator, Naomi, to the fold, also had a photoshoot for the new website and have worked quite hard to get that ready to launch. We really want it to give a sense of the work we’re doing any how many brilliant people are involved! We’d love to hear your feedback if you have any! Outside of Vonnegut stuff, Gary did a tour to Bucharest with the BBC Phil and had a lovely time getting acquainted with the city (and its rum, from what I gather!). Meanwhile I did a few lovely projects with my beloved Manchester Camerata including my first Brahms Requiem, and, quite fittingly, a pretty exciting Bartok Romanian Dances! I’m sorry to say I don’t think either of us have attended enough gigs this month, although I’ve managed to get down to a couple of the Northern Quarter Jazz nights at The Whisky Jar, and a really fun night at Band on the Wall with Marquis Hill’s Blacktet and Artephis.
Loads of fun and some amazing playing!
That’s it for this month. We’ll be back in December….
Here is an audio version of this month’s blog: