Improv@halas.am by Maya Felixbrodt
Experimental Israel is an ongoing research project by Dr. Ophir Ilzetzki. In 2016, supported by Mifal Ha'Pais and the Israeli Center for Digital Art, Ilzetzki was commissioned by Daniel Meir and Halas Radio to create an original radiophonic study centred around contemporary Israeli music. As a composer identifying stylistically as experimental, Ilzetzki chose to focus on other Israeli artists who are, in some way, identified with experimentalism. In the two official years of research, Ilzetzki met weekly with prominent figures in the Israeli new music scene - composers, improvisers, sound and multi-media artists. With them, Ilzetzki ruminated in unofficial conversations regarding the main research questions. Yet, Ilzetzki prompted the artists not only to tackle the research questions via interviews, but also artistically; and so, Experimental Israel became one of the most extensive call for new works in Israeli music to date.
The main research questions are: How does experimentalism manifest in its artistic form, and specifically music; does the Israeli experimental practice differ from that practiced abroad, and is it possible to detect a distinct Israeli style? Despite its conclusions, the research does not attempt to suggest definite answers, but to place the opaque and widely used term in a clearer context. Since the early 90s, a bustling new music scene is active in Israel, bringing together artists of different genres. Today, these same musicians have already taken their rightful place in the international music scene, making them a fertile ground for queries such as raised by this research. Accordingly, and seeing the research could serve musicians worldwide, Ilzetzki makes sure to summarise each of its interviews into a short article in English. Each article includes the main focal points of the interview, a chronological reconsideration of the fixed research questions, as well as a look at those added during the course of research. Seeing the Israeli experimental scene is constantly growing, and hence, in flux, this research does not, and truly cannot, have a definite conclusion. Therefore, even after its official course has ended, Ilzetzki continues to add new voices to the research archive, so as to expose and clarify the topic even further. In fact, in its inception, the research was introduced as ongoing, and it is our hope that future researchers will refer to it, and continue its course. Thus, at any given moment in time, the research will serve as an up-to-date 'screen-shot' of the constantly developing Israeli experimental scene.
Experimental Israel is broadcast live from Halas Audio. All interviews, alongside interview summaries, are available in this archive. The programs are also available for download on Spotify.
Experimental Israel was made possible due to the kind support of Mifal HaPais Council for the Culture and Arts, and the Israeli Center for Digital Art.
The Sounds of Movement
Maya Felixbrodt offered our project a unique look into experimentation. Coming from a background in classical viola playing and composition, the spirit of Maya Felixbrodt is experimental at heart. In the past 10 years she has written, promoted, programmed and even written of experimental practices and pieces. This fascination drew her to study composition at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague as a second BA, as well as her recently completed master from the same school. Her Master, as befitting a true experimenter, is in the field of movement, or rather, its interaction with sound. More Specifically, her research was in Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), but not of the actual movement notation devised by the same Rudolf Laban. Her research focused on two other topics or strands of the LMA, namely Efforts, and Body Fundamentals.
Felixbrodt chose not to be interviewed for her session in the Halas studio, but preferred to allow the sounds to carry her message and indeed deeper understandings regarding experimentation. And experiment she did, as her 30 minute structured improvisation for us in the studio was in fact an exploration of the effects of movement on sound. The discussion of the effects of sound-production on movement is one that has been widely explored in recent years. In fact, one is by now accustomed to the somatic artefacts that accompany any performance of live playing. In recent years we have even seen a rising criticism of laptop concert due to the general inanimate nature of their performers.
Felixbrodt decided to turn this entire discussion on its head, and asks, what sounds can arise as a consequence of movement? And indeed, into our studio she marched with what seemed like a comfy dance attire, viola and accompanying bow. Her structured improvisation was, for the lack of a better term, choreography. She asked for the studio to be amplified through a wide as possible stereo formation. She also asked for the microphones to be placed fairly close to the ground, so that her movements and steps are heard. Felixbrodt then continued to dance freely in the studio, all along keeping her viola closely at hand or literally under her chin. Thus, she created haphazard sounds as a consequence of her movement, which were varied and athletic. The result before you – a fascinating array of movements combined with viola playing, and other sounds that, through chance, found their way into this exciting structured improvisation.
Improv@halas.am by Maya Felixbrodt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License.