The next Suss Müsik release was originally intended to be two extended pieces, each about 25 minutes in length exploring all the possibilities of a single idea. Our recent experience with the weekly Disquiet Junto (not to mention the positive feedback received) has us thinking in terms of smaller formats; how much conceptual value can be optimized within a 4-minute timestamp? So we are thinking of a Bandcamp album of maybe 8-10 pieces at around 4 minutes each. The working title “Decatenation” could be the first Suss Müsik release of 2017.
The latest Suss Müsik piece is based on the rhythms, voices and melodies of Pontic Greek folk music. Pontic Greeks (or Pontians) traditionally lived on the shores of the Black Sea, later migrating to the Russian province of Georgia during the 15th century as the Ottoman Empire grew in power. Today, the Pontians’ cultural influence can be felt in parts of modern-day Greece and northeastern Turkey.
Pontic music is, in part, a reflection of the regional topography in which people lived. The mountains and rivers impeded communication between communities, reflecting a sense of isolation commonly experienced by fringe cultures. The haunting melodies, combined with a strong rhythmic structure, results in a fascinating musical dichotomy that is both celebration and lament.
The title is a Pontic word meaning “to break things apart.”
Two new pieces are starting to emerge from recent sessions. One is a sort of hypnotic, Steve Reich-style piece with marimba and authentic bird sounds. The birds were recorded just outside the Suss Müsik studio walls. It’s too early to say whether the piece will be more like Tourbillion or perhaps something else altogether.
The other new piece is a loud, messy cacophony of electric noise, somewhat building upon the themes explored on Kommunal. This piece will feature Native American ceramic flute played by John Kulias of Meadowlark Flutes. We at Suss Müsik immediately fell in love with the spatial tones of Kulias’ playing, especially when the instrument’s rich spirituality is set in a modern industrial setting. The process by which Kulias creates his flutes is a wonderful study in artisan workmanship.
Both pieces are currently in the neighborhood of 20+ minutes and take a long while to get where they’re going. They need more work and will likely comprise the next Suss Müsik release by the end of 2016.
On June 10 in San Francisco’s Mission district, Gray Area’s UNSEEN Series will presents site-specific, collaborative performances by Bay Area artists. The show will explore current practices in immersive media, including expanded cinema, video and sound art, experimental music and technology.
The UNSEEN series is curated by Oakland artist Matt Fisher and features contributions from Suss Müsik friend and collaborator Marc Manning. Other performers/artists include Maggi Payne, Marielle Jakobson and Chuck Johnson.
Tickets are $8 presale, $13 day of show and $15 at the door. A cash bar is available to those 21 years and older.
Suss Müsik is working on two new pieces. One involves a composition for two intertwined guitars, piano, wind instruments, breathing and power tools (seriously). One of the guitars is played by dropping metal objects on it. So that should be fun.
The other piece is based on Freud’s 1905 case study, “Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria.” It will likely involve birds, percussion, voices, and a flute player we have identified. She doesn’t yet know she’s been identified, but we’re working on that.
We fully expect the results of both efforts to be at least interesting, if not compelling. If the performances are of sufficient quality, they’ll be packaged with Tourbillon on the next Bandcamp release, yet to be titled.
Suss Müsik is working on an hour-long piece that sounds like an air conditioner. Naturally, there will be a saxophone solo at around the 25-minute mark. We are thusly negotiating terms with a jazz performer in New Orleans, because dichotomies often result in compelling yet incomprehensible art forms.