The Origin Of The Concept
In a conversation that happened between Björk Guðmundsdóttir with Karlheinz Stockhausen for the magazine Dazed & Confused in 1996, Björked asked Stockhausen about the reason for his reluctance to use regular rhythms in creating art music, and he pointed out that he is careful not to emphasize minimalistic periodicity in his music and instead, leaves that to dance music, to remain part of an evolution in the language of music in Europe which leads from simple periodic rhythms to non-metric and non-periodic rhythms.
Back in 1995, in an exchange published in The Wire, Stockhausen even recommended that Aphex Twin (aka Richard James) listen to his music “because he would then immediately stop with all these post–African repetitions”, and that he has to look for changing rhythms to avoid repeating them if they weren’t varied to some extent, and if they did not have a direction in their sequence of variations. Richard James answered back that Stockhausen should listen to more Aphex Twin; “then he’d stop making abstract random patterns you can’t dance to”.
This controversial exchange of opinions between these two pioneers in different music genres (and in fact, one influencing the other), made me curious about exploring the possibilities of using different duration series on 13 rhythmical units, including series of chromatic durations inspired by Messiaen’s “Mode de Valeurs et d'intensités”, and some other self-made series using the Fibonacci and its reversed series, with my growing passion and knowledge of electronic music production, to see if I can create irregular rhythms out of classical composition techniques, and use these rhythms in such way that the created pattern could allow me to feel the presence of a pulse that can be danced to. I realized that by combining different layers of duration series, you can create pulses that do not exist but are strongly felt, and by introducing a pulse before the appearance of irregular rhythms, you can trick your body to feel the pulse afterward, and that dance music could be made of non-minimalistic periodicity and complex patterns.
This experiment made me realize, that there might lie great inspiration sources in both genres that when exchanged, could open up new perspectives and fresh possibilities of collaboration between artists of both genres to create a unique sound universe that might end up influencing both the contemporary classical music composers and electronic and dance music artists/performers.
The Performance Cycle
The Goat Song Project is a recurring cycle of a non-stop one-hour experimental show by Group Bip, a newly established flexible and rotating group of fine instrumental soloists from all over Europe and mainly from Berlin that is experienced in performing not only classical repertoire but also experimental and complex contemporary music compositions, that features a contemporary classical music composer and a local electronic or dance music artist, DJ or turntablist in each of its performances.
An original 20th century or contemporary classical composition will be entirely performed, and it’s musical material as the backbone and the core idea of the performance will be transformed, transfigured, and blended into a new sonic and visual experience for an undefined and undivided audience.
The electronic music artists, performers, and the conductor who will also perform will be sitting in a circle facing each other. Mirrors will be designed to make it possible for the instrumentalists to follow the conductor. This uninterrupted performance should take place in a venue that gives the audience the possibility to surround the platform where the musicians are sitting and performing in a circle, enabling them to freely move, enter, exit, to sit, or to dance.
The concept of this project is quite simple: It is an effort to make the borders between different music genres disappear, by turning performance into an experience which we like to call 'show'. An attempt to present the rich textures of the sonic world of contemporary classical music to the local fans of electronic and dance music by featuring a local artist and performing in local popular music clubs and other venues, and to invite the audience of classical contemporary music to connect with the local dance and electronic music scene and to draw inspiration from its free and dynamic universe. Ideally, the non-stop performance and jumps between different sections, sound textures, and ideas should make it impossible for the audience to recognize the original idea. The Goat Song Project will not fit, and therefore it is an experimental project.
For the first performance of this cycle, Harrison Birtwistle's Tragoedia, an approximately 20 minutes composition with a Prologue, an Exodos, 2 episodes and other sections in between (in total 9 parts) will be the core composition of the evening. Its abstract theatrical character with the dialogues between the instruments makes it a dramaturgically interesting composition, and the quality of its performance will not only be depended on the virtuosity in technique and producing a quality sound but also in a strong and dramatic physical presence of the performers, which is a key element in this performance.
A new composition for electronic/turntable and ensemble, between 10-15 minutes, will be commissioned from the invited composer, and with 3 improvisation episodes and 2 electronic music transitions will be performed between all the sections of Trageodia. The composer and the electronic music artist will be free to choose the material for their composition/improvisation, but they have the possibility to record and sample the musical material of Trageodia during the rehearsal or the performance and to draw inspiration from it. A collaborative design of the performance by creating a connection and direction of the intersections, transitions, and improvisations, while using diverse musical material, is a defining element for the success of the experiment.