The weather forecast was not promising that week after having had such sizzling summer days. But our wish and joyous art blew off rainy clouds. The entire three days at FON were as brightly shiny and hot as it could be. Starting off with Soundy Bouncing Castles by Sound Network and Simon Jones, in where a huge black bouncy estate made constantly triggered bassy noise (by which case, a little one felt a bit intimidated), older kids went crazy with jumps under dripping sweat. I went on it. It was miraculously fun! Not many adults go in they told me. I wish more middle aged will get on it in the future.
At the same park, Steve Symons brought up a newly commissioned work, Colpersys 4, which used mobile devices to control sound walks. I heard kids were making their own games ignoring the prepared instructions and created off the wall sound pieces. That is just wonderful in my opinion.
On the first night concert, I was happy to see The Bohman Brothers. Apparently it was such rare to see Adam and Jonathan`s duo performance. The exploration of texts, jokes (if they were jokes) and sound objects were feedbacking each other for a strange illusion. I could not aspire anything further. All were so prompt and unpredictable. It was funny but I could just see their confidence. They knew what they were doing. Followed by Howlround who facilitated old reel-to-reel tape machines to operate sounds. I liked the visible ideas and messy use of stage. The music was very meticulous. I am a tape lover. My children only have tapes and a tape player with which they have to flip over between A side and B side, rewind and forward.
Confused was the 2 years old who was panicked by seeing tape rolls on their performance handled `without` care, doing something he is always told not to do by mother.
Never mind, kid. It is art. Once grown up, you can do it, I murmured.
The highlight of second day at the church concert was Laura Cannell and Andre Bosman, violin duo. fat texture and rich colour of musical unification. There was no borderline between noise and tuned anymore. Distortion became wonderfully accepted by our ears. Musical gesture became somehow twisted. The folklore of violins.
I loved all talks FON brought up.
John Dack from Middlesex University on Schaeffer, Dave Lynch on his mesmerising project, Nimbus (I have to bring this piece up here in Huddersfield soon), followed by Settimo Palermo on Huge davies (My respect to this man) and the last was Felix Kubin on his research on tape music. Those talks were so much fun and informative than any conferences that I had participated in before. How did you do it, I asked Glenn from FON who said the talkers were just so great. I think the praise goes on both ends. The environment, space, humanity of the festival on top of the experiential skill of talkers all accumulated on the good event success.
My piece – Alvin Lucier`s music on long thin wire was installed in the most gorgeous attic. 11m length piano wire driven by 100 – 118 hZ succumbed in the architectual phenomena. It was the most harsh yet the most rich tones of all the past experimentations. Shame the sound was not properly recorded onto as an archive but who cares. Was not that my first idea to start with this piece study?
The work needs to be experienced at the space on one`s own time.
Helen Petts video installation on Lol Coxhill was on the other hall. It was pleasure to see collage of LoL Coxhill performance and voices. Determined he was, I imagine how it is like to sacrifice one`s life to one instrument like that. I remember my Japanese instrument, shamisen. One day will I devote my time to play that instrument? and I attain the same eyes as Coxhill so that the instrument loves me as a lover?
Alongside two installation, the final day was presented by two workshops. Soundfjord drawing session and Dirty Electronics DIY object performance. Helen (soundfjord) and John Richards (DE) both had fantastic community works. I like working with everyone without boundaries.
Over a coffee I had a talk with Helen who was surprised how many kids were about enjoying concerts and art. Not many festivals were like this. I agree. After all we are artists but humans. We want diverse cultures and ages. She said there seemed none in London where kids were allowed to seat in with adults. umm. This can not be an answer to globalised world that talks of `equality`, is it?
So thanks to Octopus Collective (Andrew Deakin, Glenn Boulter, John Hall) and all volunteer staff who made FON 2013 happen and enjoyable.
I think you all did respectable jobs, mate!