Pony Says

Pony Says

Pony Says is a trio specializing in contemporary music and free improvisation. In addition to their main instruments (piano/keyboard, drums/e-drums, guitar/e-guitar), the members play ad-hoc instruments, control live electronics, and integrate light and video into their performance.

 

Works commissioned by Pony Says are always created in close collaboration with composers and relate to socio-cultural themes paired with the sound of both analog and digital worldliness. Pony Says mix dense electronic textures with sound clichés and rhythmic f(r)actures in their noise-heavy improvisations.

 

So far they have played premieres by Neo Hülcker, Philipp Krebs, Ui-Kyung Lee, Martin Schüttler, Julian Siffert and Yiran Zhao.
http://www.ponysays.de

Die Klavierübung. Version für Pony Says

Die Klavierübung. Version für Pony Says

When I was composing Die Klavierübung (with digital piano samples, no live performance initially) in my Vienna days, the notion of a Klavier Selbstmord accompanied me everywhere and plagued me to no end. Now, I’m not being cavalier about the very serious notion of mental illness in this regard. The idea is a personal one of course, but as I told a good friend once, you can do things in art…such as self-obliteration…that you cannot do in life. Truth is, it was as if the piano, exhausted with its repertoire and its long and illustrious history, was asking me most emphatically, »Why are you writing another piano piece?! Requiescat in pace. Let me rest in peace already!« I must confess, this idea came to me here in Stuttgart, at the Academy Schloss Solitude. The palace proper was undergoing major renovations and to educate the public, the rotting wood and crumbling plaster of the internal structure were put on display, as well as the exorbitant costs of the renovations, which had not been procured at the time. This served as advertisement for financial support no doubt. No one lived in the castle proper, but on sunny days in summer, it served as the backdrop for staging wedding photos: it was as if the castle also had to smile for the camera, and I felt sorry for it…this old castle that had witnessed so much history and was frankly, tired…naturally exhausted, rotting from the inside out, but was being forced to stand up straight and say »cheese« at the photographer. And analogous to this, there was something in the selfish idea of keeping the piano alive, that the instrument…now so infected and infused with its newly digitalized underpinning…a digitalized fabricated grin, so to speak…that it didn’t recognize itself as piano, as human anymore.

Steven Kazuo Takasugi

Revised extract from a lecture entitled »JNH: Just-noticeably Human: Lecture on Musical Humanness in the Age of Digital Automation« for the Cultural Foundation Schloss Wiepersdorf, October 18, 2021.

Steven Kazuo Takasugi

Steven Kazuo Takasugi (*1960 in Los Angeles) is a composer of electro-acoustic music. This involves the collecting and archiving of recorded, acoustic sound samples into large databases, each classifying thousands of individual, performed instances collected over decades of experimentation and research, mostly conducted in his private sound laboratory. These are then subjecting to computer-assisted, algorithmic composition, revised and adjusted until the resulting emergent sound phenomena, energies, and relationships reveal hidden meanings and contexts to the composer. Against this general project of fixed-media is the addition of live performers, described as an accompanying project: »When people return . . .« This relationship often creates a »strange doubling« playing off the »who is doing what?« inherent with simultaneous live and recorded media: a ventriloquism effect of sorts.

The Ideal Hour/Collages with Tom

The Ideal Hour/Collages with Tom

Layering, juxtaposition, audio-visual free association, and most importantly, listening & response became the focal points of this piece for Pony Says and Jessie Marino. Jessie and Pony were strangers, familiar only in the way that the internet and a few after concert drinks can foster. At the onset of their collaboration, Jessie asked Pony to come together and listen to the 33 minute record ‘Pieces for Kohn’ by the experimental composer and sound engineer Tom Hamilton (1976 on Sonmath Records). These pieces are electronic compositions »generated conceptually from graphic paintings by Bill Kohn.« The tapes were performed at the opening of Kohn’s exhibition at the Terry Moore Gallery in St. Louis, one of which is featured on the album cover for Pieces for Kohn. The intention of beginning with a listening session was to build a small worldone simply based in the experience of listening to the same record. From this mutual exposure to Tom Hamilton’s fantastic pieces, came sonic associations which paved a mutual ground for us to lay our ears. We shared our impressions of the sounds themselves, and these insights provided us a tiny keyhole into the ears and minds of one another. How do we listen? What do we notice about the music when we listen together? What do we notice about ourselves when we share and compare our experience with one another? From our mutual listening space, we began to playbeginning with an approximation of the sounds, rhythmic patterns, timbers, scenes, and characters which we were drawn to in Pieces for Kohn, but then moving quickly and purposefully beyond the simulacrum and into a space that is a confluence of played experiences both on and off our respective sound making tools. The playground of Tom Hamilton provided us a foundation and a meeting pointthe musical relationship we built through listening, gave us a playground all our own.
Jessie Marino

Jessie Marino

Jessie Marino (*1984 in New York) is a composer, performer, and media artist. Her work explores the repetition inside common activities, ritualistic absurdities, and uncovering nostalgic technologies. Jessie’s pieces score out sound, video, physical movements, lighting, and staging, which are then placed within organized temporal structures, fractured narratives and musical frameworks. Much of marino’s interdisciplinary compositional work eschews conventional instrumentation, with scores that ask performers to use their bodies—using precisely articulated gestures, facial expressions, and quotidian physical movements—both as an alternative and a complement to musical sounds. Her work maps out the way humans communicate with their bodies on a performative timeframe, revealing the musicality hidden within everyday gesticulations, signs, and demonstrations, transmitted both consciously and unconsciously. Marino finds humor and profundity in personal interactions and the way humans navigate physical space—an improvisational act that can invoke a ballet, a dinner party or a demolition derby.

www.jessiemarino.com

Pony Says

10
04.02.
20:30
Theaterhaus, T3
Pony Says

Steven Kazuo Takasugi: Die Klavierübung. Version für Pony Says

Drums, guitar, piano and electronics (2007-09/2022) ᵁᴬ

Jessie Marino: The Ideal Hour/Collages with Tom

(2021/22) ᵁᴬ

In »Die Klavierübung« (The Piano Exercise) Steven Takasugi stages a performative showdown between man and machine. In the new trio version of his work, he intertwines hyper-complex collaged recordings of detuned pianos and other stringed instruments with sonic doublings of the musicians performing live.

 

Jessie Marino invited the three musicians of Pony Says to a joint »listening session« at the beginning of their collaboration and put on a record by Tom Hamilton. From this was to emerge a small world »based simply on the experience of listening to the same record,« a shared space of play and association in which individual listening experiences collide and are layered on top of each other.

 

Pony Says had desired the constellation with two eminent American composers, Steven Takasugi and Jessie Marino, for their major ECLAT project. In close collaboration between composers and musicians, two large-scale commissioned compositions are now being created that contrast in content as well as aesthetics and at the same time complement each other.

 

Sendung SWR2 JetztMusik
10. März 2022 / 21:05 -22:00 Uhr