For me at least, there is a remarkable moment in the video between 6.05-7.50 where Eilon is caught in a most peculiar of positions. Around 6.05 Eilon begins to stand for his solo (with much torso expression!). Over the course of the next minute and a half Eilon is also listening extraordinarily close to the sounds that Franc is producing. During Eilon’s ascent, Franc begins moving free from of a kind of physical paralysis, drags his bow downwards along the fingerboard with a significant degree of pressure applied, and takes over as the foregrounded sonic voice before Eilon’s sounding. The sweeping up of the double bass bow at 7.35 acts as a sonic cue (sonically differentiated from the previous sounds with respect to pressure and duration) for Eilon’s extended multiphonic. Here it seems that Eilon is relying heavily on his ears to drive his physical movement. [It is worth reinforcing the fact that at this point in the video Eilon has no visual contact with the rest of the ensemble with his head turned in the opposite direction]. I’d be curious to hear specifically from you Eilon on this observation – but, am also interested to glean some insider information from Franc and Hilary as well.
What is happening here as individuals and as a group in general?
Is there a sense that due to the constraints of physical movement you are becoming more dependent on your ears to cross-communicate (enacting maybe a kind of listening-driven action that I might term ‘listen-acting’) and maintain formal cohesion?
There seem to be a whole bunch of questions implied in this one. At this point we know the score and its cues so we know where each of us needs to be and we can check that through a variety of modes. There’s a kind of field awareness for me that can be quite undifferentiated, a sense of us in the room together in a particular process but, within that field there are moments of specific sensory prioritization. For example, at 07.23, I take a brief glance towards Hilary and Eilon; just double-checking that everything is in place. At other moments primacy is given to the auditory – not always in terms of the sound score, sometimes it’s a listening to where the others are in the space. There are also a few moments when I’m aware that I’m a ‘soloist’ and so my attention is primarily on my own task. I say ‘primarily’ rather than ‘solely’ because, for me, there is always the broader field awareness.
Clearly we were all listening intently throughout, with ongoing, slight shifts in what I think of as foreground/background attentiveness. I remember getting quite involved with the chords because both the physical sensation of running my fingers across each individual one and the metallic sound produced were quite enthralling to me – but even then I was hyper-attuned to Eilon as a physical presence next to me, and moderately attuned to Franc. This emphasis shifted at the end of the piece in keeping with my body’s directionality (and I also employed direct looking at the end of the piece, watching Franc’s arm movements with the bow). Having said all that, although I listened with my ears, I ‘listened’ more with my whole body, by which I mean I let the field of my attention spread out; listening became a whole-body receptivity to Eilon, Franc and my own physical/sonic presence. Listening in this way is a kind of sinking in through the skin to the entire surrounding.
I can recall relying primarily on my listening to judge the timing of my actions in this section of the piece. I think that listening played an important role throughout this piece but that at particular points such as this, its significance was increased due to a lack of other stimulus and the nature of the material being performed by the other performers. A large part of rehearsing this material was for me a process of making sense of the relationship between the sonic and the physical forms within the piece, how these coincided and informed each other.