THE BRUTAL SENTIMENTAL CONCEPT
Chaos & Composition
Recent theories of Chaos come from scientists with an interest in the real time, messy processes that we witness in our everyday World. Composition together with improvisation, perhaps can be seen as the celebration of music making: the putting together and pulling apart of the bits and pieces of sound which are the expression of living musicians working in real time.
This desire for understanding of chaotic processes as a part of the composition work is hardly 20 years old: Free Improvisation, as an accepted recognizable genre in Western Music, is not much older. Philosophically, they have a lot in common - ideas of self-similarity, attractors, butterfly affects and noise seem useful models in the discussion of both areas.
What's more, with the development in music of interactive computer technology, practical application of chaos theories in Composition and improvisation have become a reality - a vast and fruitful area for discovery. Improvisation of course doesn't need any theoretical basis - it exists because musicians have a need to do it (as in all 'musicians' orientated music).
But context is probably the most interesting variable in contemporary music and the process of improvisation is appearing and renewing itself in a whole kaleidoscope of new contexts. Western classical music (mostly European) represents old-fashioned hierarchical structures and it works as an extremely slow feedbackloop.
Being born in Israel in Asia what can I possibly do with the European sentence? With the climax? With the motif? With the development? What is orchestration? What is a solo? Being born in Israel in Asia I instinctively wanted to write and play music free from the European musics burden. Every composer and musician must examine these questions especially Non - European composers and musicians. One must start from scratch and in particular, cast aside the burden of the European tradition: the principles of development, climax, dynamics and orchestration.
Many of the composers that are still working with traditional means of notation and instrumentation are often victims of an closed end, nonimprovisational and nonempirical music system. In trying to avoid this kind of traps I am working on a more organic / alive music creating process by attempting to "unlock" the preconcieved ideas about sound, mix different musical expressions and let all these things float in one piece of music. Nearly everything that's makes music alive comes from conflicts in the music or in the listeners ear or expectations. So in the last years I am working with the collision of Western (counterpoint/ vertical) tradition with other traditions like Asian (texture / linear) styles. I do it by putting together orchestras or groups with musicians from different traditions (classical, improvisation, noise, electroacustic) and have them execute together a set of rules in time.
Everybody in the orchestra gets a set of rules and a time table to execute, these rules are not algorhytmic closed systems but rather open heuretic patterns (they are often just executions of purely physical tasks so that the orchestra doesn't play the piece, they work themselves through the piece), meaning that they determine only general direction of the sound events (small details are allowed to just happen and freely develope creating the overall mixture of independence and interdependence and oscillation between them).
My BRUTAL SENTIMENTAL CONCEPT is an attempt to look at improvisation and composition through the contexts of Chaos and Melody. In my BRUTAL SENTIMENTAL CONCEPT a composition / improvisation will spotlight three very different views of Chaos. So far, science has concerned itself primarily with 'orderly' areas in which causes and effects stood in direct connection to each other (Western music, Jazz and Rock music is going generally the same way) - if one opens the faucet just a little, it starts to drip; opening it all the way lets the water shoot out. If an event was too complex to understand, one divided it to the point at which an unambiguous mechanism could be captured in an equation; by coupling these equations together, the whole event then became calculable and foretellable.
Through the use of computers to deal with ever-more complex systems, it became increasingly clear that these preconditions only exists in special cases; they are, so to speak, the islands of order in a sea of chaos. Here, the smallest causes can lead to huge changes - the so called butterfly effect describes the situation that the beat of a butterfly's wing in Arkansas can lead to a snowstorm in Siberia. Long-range weather forecasting will thus - even using ever-larger computers - remain impossible forever. But chaos is not arbitrary disorder - in contrast to this, it is based on mathematically precisely defined causes, and thus it always carries the seed of order within itself. Surprisingly, in the transition from chaos to order, images can arise whose aesthetics are more reminiscent of intoxicated visions than of the depictions of mathematical systems.
One must start from scratch and in particular, cast aside the burden of the European tradition: the principles of development, climax, dynamics and orchestration. The only criterion is: does this work try to deal with the the great questions - here and now.
Dror Feiler -1997
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