Residency: Reykjavik, Iceland
Premiered: October, 29 2016 by South Iceland Chamber Choir
Location: Salurinn, Cycle Music and Art Festival, Kopavogur, Iceland
Bringing together one of Iceland’s most critically acclaimed choirs alongside a new video work shot on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula the work transports audiences to an immersive soundscape combining live performance with captured footage seeing the choir members sing alongside themselves on screen with their combined echoes diffused over multiple speakers creating various fictional landscapes, from minimalistic to surrealistic.
The work is themed around echoes navigating through space, history and fiction. Working collaboratively with digital artist Jacob Tekiela from Copenhagen, the choir was filmed and recorded whilst singing in the breathtaking landscapes of Iceland. Tinnemans’ imaginative experimental approach to new digital technology fused with conventional sound sources results in an exciting mix of manipulated field recordings and a live musical performance by the full choir.
The composition expresses verisimilitude as a place, similar to the Snaefellsness Peninsula in Iceland where Jobina Tinnemans in collaboration with Jacob Tekiela filmed and recorded the choir. The six new compositions tell the story of how sound is reflected geographically and of who we are and where we came from.
‘Á’ is the name of the opening piece, which translates as ‘river’ from Icelandic. It is a piece that reflects the Elements before the dawn of language. ‘Djúpalónsdóttir and Hellnarson’ tells the story of the sons and daughters of Verisimilitude, perched on the lush green of the rocks and cliffs, calling to each other in a universal mother tongue. ‘Sjórinn Shanty’, which is a dissected sea shanty, incorporates a work rhythm which, historically, eases tasks on ships. The final song, ‘Gloria Omnia’ brings together traditional choral performance with space age disco triggered by live processed voices of the singers.
During the performance the South Iceland Chamber Choir were standing in the middle of the immersive projection space, presenting a unique way of merging a live performance of a choir with digital sound effects. Sceneries will be projected around the choir, showing different settings for each song. Members of the choir wear a throat microphone picking up live signals from their voices which is then digitally processed into echoes, reverberations and counterpoints. Each song presents a new setting with different echoes, from short reverberation to a fictional use of reflections. Jobina used Ableton Live to bring in the live voices, process them and diffuse the echoes over four speakers into the concert space. Each speaker had a slightly different echo, effect and process, fitting to the scenery projected on the screens to create a multidimensional concert of sonic and visual immersion.
– “…the choir performance attempted to arrest the precise moment between breath and voice, between sound and speech, momentarily short-circuiting a life cycle to open space for possibility.”
– The Frieze