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    Pierre Henry – The Art of Sounds

    July 19th, 2011

    Pierre Henry - The Art of Sounds

    When one thinks of the most common male names in the United States, Mike and Dave immediately come to mind. In France, it’s all about Pierre, and in avant-garde circles, the two most well-known Pierres brandish the last names Schaeffer and Henry. The former invented musique concrete, a symphony of cacophonous everyday sounds, in 1948. The latter became his first disciple and helped expose this radical new artform to the public throughout the subsequent decades. Fast forward to 2007. Pierre Henry has aged into quite a charming old man who, with his long, grey beard, resembles a modern day French Santa Claus brandishing a huge sack full of audio treats that he enthusiastically delivers to adventurous listeners around the globe.

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    Tropical Punch Tour: Bali Video 3

    July 15th, 2011

    A small, tropical island measuring just 69 x 95 miles nestled between Java and Lombok in the vast archipelago of Indonesia, Bali is covered with lush jungles, rice terraces, mountains and beautiful beaches, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Some come for the sun, sand, surf, and world class resorts and spas, while others enjoy the predominantly Hindu culture that is celebrated daily with highly evolved dance, music, art and architecture.

    Tropical Punch Tour: Bali Video 3 presents a cornucopia of hyper-colorful music, dance and ritual at four different locations in and around Ubud. First up is a skull-rattling performance of the reverberant jegog bamboo gamelan by Suara Sakti up in Bentuyung village, just North of Ubud. The Tary Panyembrana, Tari Gopola and Tari Belibus dances are presented, among others. Then we head over to Puri Agung Peliatan Palace for the Pendet, Baris and Legong Lasem dances. Next comes a chance encounter with an amazing but exhausting all-night performance of the Calon Arang story at Pura Dalem Puri, also in Peliatan. Calon Arang is a witch who practices black magic and, during a family drama, brings death and destruction to everything in her path. The tale is told through the Barong, Telek, Jauk, Kris, Sisya and Galuh dances, highlighted by a mass murder sequence (performed as a trance ritual in real life). Read the complete story. The video comes to a close over at Bale Banjar Ubud Kelod with an all-female outfit called Luh Luwih, who present lovely versions of the Gabor, Topeng Tua, Cendrawasih, Oleg Tambulilingan, Taruna Jaya and Baris dances. Thanks to captainputs for the black magic sequence.

    For tons of photos and a detailed travel journal, visit the Tropical Punch Tour page.

    Karlheinz Stockhausen – Helicopter String Quartet

    July 15th, 2011

    Karlheinz Stockhausen - Helicopter String Quartet

    “Dedicated to all astronauts,” the Helicopter String Quartet was inspired by a couple of whimsical dreams German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007) had about classical musicians flying, and a completely liberated version of himself soaring free above a genteel, tuxedo-choked society. When the Salzburg Festival comissioned a new work in 1991 as a part of Stockhausen’s opera cycle Mittwoch from Licht, what else could he do, other than compose a piece that literally flew away?

    By 1995, the work was completed and ready for its world premiere by the Arditti String Quartet, consisting of violinists Irvine Arditti and Graeme Jennings, violist Garth Knox and cellist Rohan de Saram. Inside one of four cramped helicopters–each containing a recording engineer and a video camera–a musician furiously sawed away on his instrument as they slowly circled above Amsterdam. Back in the concert hall, the composer mixed the sounds of the four players together with the noise of the helicopter rotors into a strange, hovering, glissing entity that soared and dived as effortlessly as an albatross in bright, sunlit skies. The audience was also treated to a live video feed from the helicopters displayed on a Jumbotron™. The fact that this super-complex event–a Herculean logistical challenge–was perfectly realized is astounding.

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