D.14. juni - Distractfold spiller elektronik i forskellige former. Sam Salem fortæller om sit værk.

KLANG møder komponist Sam Salem til en snak om hans værk Not one can pass away, der opføres af det britiske Distractfold Ensemble på KLANG festival d. 14. juni.

- What is the piece Not one can pass away about?

Not one can pass away is the first of a triptych of new pieces for object performers, live electronics, tape and video that explore the lives and works of three famous London-based occultists / mystics: William Blake (1757 - 1827), Austin Osman Spare (1886 - 1956) and Kenneth Grant (1924 - 2011).

I am very interested in those individuals who create and elaborate dense and somewhat autodidactic mythologies and systems of belief. William Blake was literally a visionary in the sense that he believed that he had visions throughout his life. A pious and ascetic man, his work is incredibly rich, dark and strange: a kind of hermetic iconoclasm, a reaction to the Age of Enlightenment and a pre-cursor to the Romantic poets.

Blake's mythology can be described loosely as a conflict between rational and irrational forces, which seems quite relevant today. His work has been (selectively) subsumed into a kind of bucolic, pastoral postcard Britishness: I feel it is much darker, more violent and more interesting than this, and in part wish to reclaim a little of the inconvenient thorniness of his vision.

For this piece, I recorded audio and video at various sites around London associated with Blake, collecting objects and ideas, and visited the cottage in Felpham were he lived for several years (and where he was arrested for sedition).

- What inspires you when you write contemporary music pieces?

Not one can pass away is my first piece that includes performers: up until 2015 I worked exclusively in fixed-media / acousmatic music for loudspeakers. I was inspired to make this transition for a variety of reasons, the desire to explore new territory being the first.

The idea of embodied versus disembodied sound, or presence vs. omnipresence, is a core sonic and architectural consideration of my work, as is how perceived time and space functions in purely acousmatic listening in contrast to embodied performance.

Exploring this polyphony (sound without apparent source, sound as a result of physical gesture, and image without sound) allows me to reach for colours that I didn't realise that my tape music was without.


- Why contemporary music?

In short, the limitless potential for new sonic, musical and aesthetic experiences.


- Does your family origins influence your work?

My parents emigrated from Jordan in the 1970s, although neither of them are ethnically Jordanian: rather they were already immigrants before they left "home".

It is interesting to consider the influence of this on my work. As a person, I have very little sense of national or ethnic identity, despite being born and raised in England and having a rich and mixed Arabic and Circassian heritage. In short, I felt, and feel, like a man without a country.

Many of my electroacoustic pieces were explorations of cities from the perspective of an outsider: I would arrive in a location, often completely uninformed, and drift, following the lines of power through cities for days at a time, collecting materials as a flaneur. In the studio, I would assemble these fragments of time into works that were not "about" the place, but rather about my experiences. I wrote works in this idiom based upon my travels to Berlin, New York, Brussels, Amsterdam, Milan and Stockholm.

Now, I think I feel most at home in a venue on the day of a concert: contemporary music, beautifully, is without borders.


Koncerten med Distractfold Ensemble foregår d. 14. juni kl. 20.00 på Festivalscenen på Republique.


Sam Salem er en af lederne af Distractfold Ensemble. Salem komponerer først og fremmest geografisk baseret elektroakustisk musik, der bygger på lydoptagelser lavet på specifikke steder, hvor han leder efter stedernes gemte skønhed og musikalitet. Salem har arbejdet med en række institutioner fx. STEIM i Amsterdam, EMS i Stockholm og Technische Universität i Berlin.

Læs mere på www.osamahsalem.co.uk


Se hele festivalprogrammet på klang.dk/festivalprogram/2016