Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Man, Music and Machine

Last week I was invited by the Blacktown Arts Network
through Monir Rowshan, Cultural Planning Coordinator, to deliver
a brief talk regarding my creative work. There was an audio-visual presentation using a slide projector where I've shown images of paintings and newspaper editorial drawings; after which I did a solo performance using various modern and primitive instruments.

I've posted the studio mix version at YouTube entitled Man, Music and Machine 1.
(Thanks to Mario Aldeguer for use of his photos taken that night).

Following is introduction for my performance for BAN. Most of those who attended
are artists, writers and filmmakers.

Every child somehow has to play with something
as soon as born, whether it's the sustaining breast
of its mother; or a spoon tapped on table. Baby's hands incredibly
designed to grasp something that it won't instinctively let go of.

Infant Man is to primeval music-- raw, honest, full
of serendipity, it soothes..but the feeling of incompleteness remains;
deprived of something unknown. It is this denial or depravity I believe, that launches
creativity in every thinking soul.

Now Civilised Man has Machines to sate the vacuum of incompleteness,
unashamedly producing monotonous and staccato sounds that lull Man into
a carbon monoxide of complacency and drowsiness. However Man and Machine
(to include computers) have learned to live a life of harmonious relationship born out of
necessity and function.

For years I've collected some odd instruments which are primitive
in an historical sense but still emit sounds that may capture
back the essence of those primeval days gone by. I brought some for tonight's
brief performance.

I shall be using a sequencer of an electronic keyboard to represent the monotonous sound of
Machine; and also a floating guitar pick-up I've used in an unorthodox way, albeit representing Man's Improvisation.

There's also a small but energetic African kalimba (a thumb piano); and the solemn tones of a Malay wooden xylophone. Also an acoustic guitar which shall sound unusual when I use the floating guitar pick-up as slide.

In my younger days I often play my blues harmonica which earned a lot of friendship.
I'll try to give it a special part in the performance, representing the wind that blows over mankind's fate.

It's my heartfelt desire to label each sound of each string representative of Man's professional specialties yet being prolific in nature; and the inherent desire to balance things much so like water seeking its own level. However there are ambiguous oddities which create gaps in the continuity. That is probably to let us breathe, that gap or the silent gaps in between musical notes are vital heartbeats for life's continuity itself.

I paint a lot, and sometimes more often than not translate the colours into sound. I assign a sound to each colour. If I play the chords E-G#-A-B-D; I paint E representing Yellow, G# Green, and so on. My painting seems to sing when it's done as I remember the mental processes involved and they mean a lot to me, forever etched in my psyche.

Tonight I'll try my best to perform solo using the aforementioned instruments for the Blacktown Artists' Network. I hope to encourage the audience in meditative silence, tolerating technical errors which shall be part of the spontaneity of the whole thing.


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