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Soundwalk Collective

Langue disponible : anglais
A crew of sonic nomads helmed by Stephan Crasneanscki and Simone Merli, Soundwalk Collective creates immersive impressions of places and people -- and how places and people interact. Diligent research and fieldwork yields environmental recordings and found sounds that the collective transforms into varied sonic worlds, both on their own and with collaborators including Patti Smith, Philip Glass, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Mulatu Astatke. Their first recorded piece, 2008's Kill the Ego, presented New York City's quintessential sounds -- traffic, the subway, jazz, beat poetry, hip-hop -- in shifting, hypnotic layers. Later, they depicted regions as disparate as the Mediterranean Sea and the Rub 'al Khali desert with equal care and creativity. In the 2010s, the collective's horizons expanded with projects such as 2014's Last Beat, which used the vibrations and resonances of the Moscow club Arma17 as its source material. Later in the decade, Soundwalk Collective embarked on audio portraits of individuals. They commemorated Nico with 2016's Killer Road and paid homage to the French poets Antonin Artaud, Arthur Rimbaud, and René Daumal with the Perfect Vision trilogy (2019's The Peyote Dance and Mummer Love and 2020's Peradam). Soundwalk Collective continued to evolve with 2022's Lovotic, an exploration of relationships and technology that reflected the boundless possibilities within their work. Ukrainian artist Stephan Crasneanscki founded Soundwalk Collective in 2000. Working with a rotating cast of collaborators who included Dug Winningham and Kamran Sadeghi, Crasneanscki used state-of-the-art recording gear and techniques to capture the environments and native instruments of various locales around the world. For their live performances, the collective used a bank of turntables with custom-cut records of their own samples as well as tape machines and laptops. In 2008, Simone Merli joined Crasneanscki as Soundwalk Collective's other main member. That year, they also issued their first recording, Kill the Ego. A joint project with Korean filmmaker/painter Rostarr (aka Romon Kimin Yang), it captured the artists' impressionistic portrait of New York City and was released as a limited-edition DVD. Soundwalk Collective then ventured to the Mediterranean for a pair of 2009 works: La Brûlure was fashioned from recordings of the region's coastlines, while Ulysses Syndrome's source materials came from the Mediterranean Sea. Crasneanscki, Merli, and company traveled to a completely different terrain for 2010's Empty Quarter. Employing sounds from the Rub 'al Khali (the world's largest contiguous sand desert), it was issued as a limited-edition LP and CD. The following year saw the release of Medea, which was composed from field recordings and radio interceptions the collective gathered on a two-month boat trip on the coasts of the Black Sea. In 2014, Soundwalk Collective released a pair of recordings that reflected the range of their work. Last Beat sampled two years' worth of recordings of the vibrations of the building of Arma17, a house and techno-oriented club in Moscow, effectively turning the club itself into a musical instrument. Meanwhile, Sounds of the Wind drew on music and field recordings of the Roma people situated over the length of the Danube River. That year, Crasneanscki met Patti Smith in a Paris airport; after the pair hit it off, Smith became one of Soundwalk Collective's major creative partners. Their first collaboration was Killer Road, which paid tribute to musician and Velvet Underground associate Nico as it chronicled her final days in Ibiza. Featuring the sounds of the island as well as poetry and vocals by Smith and her daughter Jesse Paris Smith, Soundwalk Collective staged Killer Road in New York City and Berlin in 2014. Two years later, they released it as an album that combined live and studio recordings. The collective's other projects during this time included Jungle-ized, a large-scale installation that played the sounds of the Amazon rainforest in an eight-block section of New York's Times Square, and Khandroma, an installation for New York's Rubin Museum of Art that combined the sounds and music of the Himalayan Mountains; Oversampling Records released it as a limited-edition LP in 2016. In 2017, Soundwalk Collective issued Before Music There Is Blood, on which Crasneanscki and Merli recombined recordings of students practicing at prestigious conservatories in China, Italy, and Russia (the album also included a remix by Max Loderbauer). That year also saw the release of the four-disc Transmissions, which collected some of Soundwalk Collective's earliest releases as well as Bessarabia, which was crafted from recordings of Holocaust survivors along with field recordings of the region. On 2018's Death Must Die, a piece that Crasneanscki began work on in 2004 and was broadcast by New York's PS1 Radio, the collective took a more musical approach to the composition and its source material from the sacred Indian city of Varansi. On that year's What We Leave Behind: Jean-Luc Godard Archives, Soundwalk Collective fashioned a collage from the director's personal archive. The album and an EP of remixes by Ricardo Villalobos, Jan Jelinek, and Petre Inspirescu arrived 50 years after Godard stood with protesting workers and students at the 1968 Cannes Film Festival. The collective's other projects that year included the award-winning radio production Illuminations and the score to German choreographer Sasha Waltz's production Kreatur, which featured sounds sourced from European factories and a former Stasi prison. Soundwalk Collective were also prolific in 2019. Along with Mirage, a sound installation at the Louvre Abu Dhabi that featured recordings of the whistling sands of the Rub' al Khali desert, they also created an installation accompanying Nan Goldin's exhibition Women's March that included interpretations of the 18th century document Declarations of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen by Goldin and actors including Isabelle Adjani, Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Isabelle Huppert, and Charlotte Rampling. That April saw the release of Oscillation. The collective's soundtrack to their installation at Philharmonie de Paris, it combined recordings of the Berlin club Berghain as well as custom-made instruments. In May, the collective reunited with Smith for The Peyote Dance, the first installment in The Perfect Vision, a trilogy of albums paying homage to French poets. Inspired by Antonin Artaud's book of the same name, The Peyote Dance explored the poet's time with the Rarámuri, an indigenous people of Mexico's Sierra Tarahumara region. That month also saw the premiere of The Time of Night, a commissioned piece for the Foundation Carmignac that reunited Soundwalk Collective with Gainsbourg and Smith. That November, the second part of the trilogy, Mummer Love, offered tribute to 19th century poet Arthur Rimbaud (a primary influence on Smith) by exploring the mystic Sufi Islam concept of purposefully losing the "self" (as defined by Western thought) in pursuit of consciously inhabiting the eternal. Soundwalk Collective also recruited composer and pianist Philip Glass, vibraphonist and Ethio-jazz creator Mulatu Astatke, and the vocal group Sufi Group of Sheikh Ibrahim. Around this time, Soundwalk Collective worked with Mica Levi on the score to Memory Lost, a part of her exhibition at London's Marian Goodman Gallery. Peradam, the final volume in the Perfect Vision trilogy, arrived in September and paid homage to French para-surrealist writer, critic, and poet René Daumal, best known for the unfinished, posthumously published novel Mount Analogue. Crasneanscki and Merli traveled to Nanda Devi in the Himalayas, Rishikesh, Varanasi, and the Kingdom of Lo (Upper Mustang) to channel and translate Daumal’s metaphysical quest through sound. In addition to Smith, the group enlisted sitarist Anoushka Shankar, Gainsbourg, percussionist/vocalist Tenzin Choegyal, and the field-recorded voice of sherpa Dhan Singh Rana. That year, Soundwalk Collective also worked with Gainsbourg, Willem Dafoe, Wim Wenders, Nina Kraviz, and others on We Are Not Alone, an exploration of the future and human nature for the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Following a 2021 collaboration with architect Hala Wardé, Soundwalk Collective issued Lovotic. An album and multimedia installation speculating about the possibilities of emotional and sexual relationships between humans and robots, it appeared in March 2022 and featured Gainsbourg and Dafoe along with Atom ™ and Lyra Pramuk.
© Heather Phares /TiVo
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