I like the alternative structuring of the piece we came up with – introducing/inserting an intermediary repetition of the piece’s initial material before moving into a radically time-stretched iteration of material. In particular, I find it interesting that each iteration brings to the surface a different aspect of movement, especially with regards to the range of speed and consistency of speed across iterations. I was interested to hear Eilon’s observation with regards to speed of performance, noting that: when the speed of performance is slowed down, there is a drastically larger range of available speeds-of-movement.
In the first iteration of the piece’s material, the range of speed is considerably narrow and consistent; there is a defined flow and on a practical level no flux in the speed with which one is enacting performance. In the second iteration however, it is noticeable that the temporal stretching of the first iteration is not adjusted at a 1:1 ratio. Instead, the speed of action is in flux, with a larger range of speeds from slow to fast – the faster speeds usually being transitioned into from slower speeds (particularly at points of energy transference between performers). The third iteration adopts a non-fluctuating approach to temporal stretching, dramatically and consistently stretching out the speed of every action performed in the first iteration to the same degree.
I have my suspicions that, at least in terms of maintaining ensemble cohesion, the second iteration proved to be the most challenging. This assumption is built on the idea that having such a wide range of speeds to move in and out of makes the ground upon which movement and sound production are built upon especially unstable. The first and third iteration though do not have this destabilizing feature; the range of speed is flattened out and less cognitive energy may be spent working to keep track of where one is within a physical or sonic gesture.
The following video picks up after a run-through of the piece soon after we had established the differing speeds and dynamics of group movement across the three iterations. Particularly relevant are Eilon’s comments about ranges of speed (3.19-3.38). Franc’s comments towards the end are interesting in the context of functional listening, which we’ll get to next.
By the by: I love the opening shot of you three in this video excerpt!
Is this suspicion in line with your experience of performance?
Can you comment on how you negotiated the second iteration with its more dynamic range of speeds in comparison with iterations one and three?
I don’t think so. Aside from the difficulties of interacting with the instrument, I don’t remember much difference in terms of difficulty with the range of speeds.
The second iteration was more ‘playful’, I think – perhaps in the sense of being more improvisatory.
My experience of slowing down actions in performance is that this can be meditative and calming, but it can also intensify my internal experience and heighten my perception.
The second cycle felt the most 'musical' and some ways the least mechanical of the three. It also seemed to require (or maybe produce) a stronger synchronicity between us, enabling us to ride the rhythmic flow of the piece and land together on the accents. The fluctuations in tempo also added to this requirement, meaning we had to always pay attention to how our parts fitted together, and how an acceleration or deceleration in one part might impact on another.