Concertos No.2 (2009)

Conceived by Ai Chinen, Kay Festa, and You Nakai Premiere: 31 July & 7 August 2009, Campus Plaza, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo
Performed by Yuko Asaoka, Midori Kubota, You Nakai and Hikaru Toho, and several illicit performers
All flyers are printed in light-sensitive paper, which when exposed to sight/light gradually darkens its color, rendering the reading of printed information difficult. They are distributed inside a closed envelope. On the front of each flyer: one of the 26 starting times (minimum difference is six minutes), ending times and entrance fees; on the back: the map to the venue. The type of the flyer is specified on the envelope using the letters of the alphabet (a to z), though the correspondences remain unknown. 2
The performance takes place in two adjacent rooms inside a building where other musicians are rehearsing (regardless of this piece). Thus, the environment is filled with unrelated fragments of different music. 3
A sensor is set to the door of each room, which triggers a six minute provision of electricity used within the space every time the door is opened. Consequently, the music goes on as long as the audience keep coming in, but the speakers die out every time the flow of audience stops for more than six minutes. 4
All instruments used in the performance require electricity in one way or another (electric guitar, electric bass, microphones, drum pad and keyboards were used at the premiere). A balance is to be sought between pitched and non-pitched instruments. 5
All equipments and cables connecting them are dispersed as widely as possible, making any movement within the room difficult, and risky of physically interfering with the set up (and consequently with the sounds produced).
All sounds produced in one room is delayed for the variable length of 0-12 minute and transmitted to the speakers of the other room. The length of delay is changed frequently following a score. 7
There are two performers in each room. All performers wear headphones. 8
Every six minutes, one performer in either of the two rooms leaves to pick up an audience (instructed by the flyer to wait in front of the building). S/he then guides the audience into the building, wearing a binaural microphone in his/her ear, which picks up all the sounds s/he (with the audience) hears while moving around, along with the predetermined “guide speech” s/he utters to the audience. All the sounds picked up are transmitted to the headphones of other performers in their respective rooms. Before going back to the room, the guide performer spends six minutes walking around in different parts of the building with the audience, searching for, and picking up sounds. 9
The performers in the room imitate the sound they hear through their headphones (the degree of imitation will vary according to capacity of the instrument (pitched/non-pitched) and individual technique of each performer). A performer may also use his/her voice to whistle, hum or sing the pitch name (do-re-mi) of the heard sound.
During the last thirty minutes of the performance, performers gradually pack their equipments (in turns), following a predetermined step which assures that the sound prolongs during this process. 12
After everything is packed, two performers wear binaural microphones, transmitting the sounds they pick up to the two mini amplifiers carried by the other two performers. all performers leave the building with their packed equipments, conversing with the remaining audiences, while keeping a necessary distance between each other to prevent feedback. The conversation within each group is transmitted to one another through the microphones and mini amplifiers. 13
The performance ends when all microphones and mini amplifiers run out of battery. Tokyo, 9 February - 7 August 2009 10
Upon returning to his/her room, the guide performer covers his/her ear in order to prevent feedback between the binaural microphone and the speakers in the room. S/he then spends the next six minutes “mixing” the sound in the room by moving around the space and controlling the dispersed equipments. The proximity between him/her and speaker creates feedback, which can be controlled through: a) the pressure of his/her hands covering the ears, or, b) direct manipulation of speaker’s volume. “mixing” includes the opening and closing of windows.