Playing minor in a major way…

Originally published on IevaKuniskis.com

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© Judita Kuniskyte

As a seasoned composer for contemporary dance, I’ve been asked a few abstract things in my time, but Ieva’s request to me this week at The Point has to go down as one of my absolute favourites!

We have a section in They Live Next Door affectionately titled the Man Waltz, because the music is actually based on an Argentinian tango (which is obviously more manly than a waltz). After running the section in rehearsal Ieva (fully assured of the rationality of her request) asked me if I could play it so that it sounded more major but still in a minor key, which I couldn’t help but laugh at, particularly because it followed her direction to the dancers to speak less in order to say more.

On a more serious note the duet is shaping up to be a really powerful and beautiful piece, and it was lovely to get such positive feedback from our sharing with The Point staff on Friday. Nick Minns and Mark Boldin are absolutely fantastic performers.

Next week we’re off to Theatre in the Mill Bradford, to put the final touches on all the sections, transitions and finer details. All of the music is written now, so it’s just about making sure that the music and the sound design really support Ieva’s vision for the piece.

Watch this space…

Dougie
PS. I did manage make it sound more major, whilst playing in the minor key, in case you’re wondering…

Night at the Theatre with Tim Casson and Stopgap Dance

Last week I finished my second contemporary dance soundtrack of the year. This time it was for the lovely and talented Tim Casson who has made a family friendly piece on Stopgap‘s SG2 Company, called Night at the Theatre.

It’s a show about three unlikely characters (Hannah Sampson, Nadenh Poan and Connor Quill) accidentally stumbling into a theatre and becoming the stars of their own show. It has some hilarious moments in it, and some really beautiful dancing.

The set and lighting design is spectacular- creating the beautiful illusion of an old abandoned  theatre. I’ve tried to match this with a sound design which includes creaking floorboard, and a draughty atmosphere. When the music for each section fades away the characters are always left in this sound design.

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Me (left) watching the dancers rehearse

Some of the highlights are Dan’s dreamy solo (pictured at the top) which I created a track with windchimes and glockenspiels for, and Hannah’s Disco which has more funk than you can shake a stick at.

SG2 are an integrated dance company run by Stopgap, which means that their dancers are a mix of disabled and non-disabled dancers. I’ve worked with Nadenh and Hannah before when we worked with George Adams on Integrance a European cultural commission for disabled dancers. Both Hannah and Nadenh are really skilled dancers, so it was great to work with them again, and inspiring to see how much they continue to improve.

Hannah was recently featured in a BBC article praising her abilities as a dance teacher with Down’s Syndrome.

Here are some shots I took during production week.

 

Imbalance with Joli Vyann

It’s no surprise that Joli Vyann’s new show Imbalance got a standing ovation at its premiere. I was super excited after they first asked me to do their sound design. The two performers are mind-blowingly talented, and they’ve fused contemporary dance with hand-to-hand circus to create a really spectacular take on modern life. The show explores our obsessive dependence with technology, asking whether our lives are ‘in’ or ‘out’ of balance? And Jonathan Lunn’s choreography has clearly taken the company forward leaps and bounds to create a show that feels incredibly current and well crafted.

IMG_9158I write a lot of music for dance, and this show is a sound designer’s dream. We are surrounded by the sounds of modern technology all the time- from the clicking sounds of typing on a smart phone to sell service check outs- and that gives me a lot of material to make my music. For one section, the two dancers try to keep up while the sounds around them, which constantly demand their attention, gradually get faster and faster. The result is a hilarious reflection on how pressured and under control we can feel from the technology around us. And yet, later in the show the same sounds are chilling when they return over the top of a section on cyber bullying.

Alongside the music I composed for specific sections, we used a few tracks which were so great they sounded like they were made for the show. It starts with the beautiful Georgian singing of Ensemble Georgika, has a few glitchy Matmos tracks, and ends with an equally beautiful but completely different track by Fridge called ‘Our Place in This.

Here’s a teaser for the show.

Imbalance Teaser from Turtle Key Arts on Vimeo.

‪Cabinet of Curiosities‬

Just finished working with La Petite Mort Dance Theatre on a new show called Cabinet of Curiosities, which premieres in Accrington Library and will be performed in non-dance venues across Lancashire.

I collaborated with choreographer and Director George Adams on Cabinet of Curiosities over a few weeks during April in Lancaster. The soundtrack features everything from a Fly buzzing around the space to my trademark acoustic guitar, piano and found sounds.

George and I have previously collaborated together on the EU Cultural Commission, Integrance, which featured Stopgap, Platform-K, Micadanses, & Indepen-Dance.

LPM Dance Theatre creates evocative, cross-artform theatre that puts entertainment and artistic collaboration at the centre of its work.

Cabinet of Curiosities Forthcoming Performances:
Accrington Library- 26th June-7pm
(Taster performance) The Storey Gallery, Lancaster- 3rd July 6.30 and 7.30
The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster- 12th September -8pm

 

In Ghent with Platform-K

I wizzed over to Ghent (Belgium) on the Eurostar for three days this week, to work with an inspiring inclusive dance company called Platform-K (english link here). I’m currently composing a new soundtrack for a dance work being choreographed by George Adams for Integrance, a project funded by EU Culture Programme, which brings together Sg2 (Stopgap Dance Company’s new ensemble for emerging artists, England), Indepen-dance 4 (Scotland), Platform-K (Belgium) and Micadanses (France). It is a truly unique and innovative project that involves 16 disabled and non-disabled performers, and the premiere of the new work will take place in February Ghent in 2015.

We had a fantastic and productive few days together in Ghent, which was a beautiful and inspiring city to work in. I think i’ve found my new favourite city.

Next stop Glasgow -working with Indepen-Dance.

 

Antechamber- Short Dance Film

Really excited to be finally able to share a short dance film that I’ve written the music for, called Antechamber. It was produced by Wigglyline Productions and features contemporary dancers Rosa Kentwood, Hayley Barker, and Janina Smith. It is beautiful and grotesque, and the production quality is exceptionally good. The movement was improvised on the day and it think the dancers have done a brilliant job of capturing the surreal atmosphere of the piece in their movement. I really enjoyed composing the music for this film, and then adding some glitchy sound design to it. There are already plans to organise more dance films with Wigglyline in the future, so watch this space…

ANTECHAMBER from Wigglyline Productions on Vimeo.

Weightless gets the heavy treatment

Military Helicopters, distorted Electronica, and Cello can only mean one thing…

Yep, Yael Flexer’s back on tour, and with it goes my international collaboration with Isreali Cellist and Composer Karni Postel.

The soundtrack is a massive array of sound, building all the way from quiet melancholic drones to a huge rumbling of twenty helicopters overhead. It also features some driving electronica beats, and immersive Cello playing from Karni.

Weightless had its Premiere at Salisbury Art Centre last month, and is now touring across the UK.

 

January 2013

Wow, what a flying start to 2013. Only a month has gone by, and amongst the snow and rain, I’ve already been involved in some fantastic projects. First there was Metsä, a short art film with Bella Kardasis, shot and recorded at Stanmer Park on a frosty morning; then the Mayakaras, Lila Dance’s fantastic youth dance company; followed by a live performance on Brighton & Hove Community Radio; and then following straight into recording the  soundtrack for Yael Flexer’s new work Weightless.

Metsä

Bella Kardasis and I set the tone for the year with a site specific collaboration with Wigglyline Productions. We filmed and recorded a structured improvisation live and on-site at Stanmer Park when there was the first light frosting of snow over the country. The results, I hope you will agree, are beautiful, and my eternal thanks go to Josh and Liam for doing such an incredible job filming the project.

Metsä – Dougie Evans & Bella Kardasis from WigglyLine Productions on Vimeo.

The Mayakaras

Lila’s Youth Dance company, Mayakaras, are an ever changing and inspirational group of young people. It is our privaledge to work with such hard working and wonderful teenagers every year, and this year is no exception.

This year we have launched a tumblr site to record our process, and their journeys as we develop a piece together. It is fantastic to have a permanent record of their experiences on a public domain, and I hope that they will look at the site in years to come and remember what incredible things they achieved as such young and mature people.

Brighton & Hove Community Radio

Thank you Caroline for having me back on your show. I had hoped that I could anounce a new album release date when I booked the show but unfortunately i am still a fair way off finishing my second album. Never-the-less, I played a couple of new tracks including Kyo, and a track as yet untitled. You can listen to the show on mixcloud:

Weightless

Last and by no means least, I have been working on Yael Flexer & Nic Sandiland’s latest soundtrack for Weightless, which premieres at Salisbury Art Centre on the 13th of March. It’s an upfront and witty contemporary dance peice celebrating and re-living 20 years of the companies existence, and i’ll be sure to post more information as the project develops.