“Two Duos” is pressed from cellist Okkyung Lee’s most recent OTO Residency; the first side a duo with Jérôme Noetinger on Revox B77 and the second with Nadia Ratsimandresy on ondes Martenot. Cut together, the two meetings seem to raise three cellos in the search for expressive voice: the cello, it’s magnetic reproduction, and the dual controls of the machine invented to expand on its musical qualities.
On the A side Noetinger’s opening tape hiss establishes a current; an electrical partner who gives Lee room to slide across and stretch out. Progressively the cello is returned, duplicated and manipulated with increased velocity and distortion. Noetinger draws out the full extent of Lee’s extended technique; rewinding strands of Lee's horse hair and transmuting her percussive attacks into shuddering echos, before letting his own concrete interjections spin the duo's sonic tussle into an almost romantic daydream.
On side B the ondes (invented by French cellist and wartime radio operator Maurice Eugene Louis Martenot and so loved by Bernard Parmegiani, Varese and Messiaen) seems shaken from classical tradition and those long, drawn out horrorscapes it has come to be associated with. In a duel with Lee, Ratsimandresy grasps the ondes’ extraordinary capacity for dexterity, nuance and speed, hounding Lee’s cello in a bid to drive her instrument out of the past and into the future.
Two fantastic pairings and a testament to the freshness with which Lee and her collaborators continue to work with their instruments.
Okkyung Lee / cello
Jérôme Noetinger / revox b77
Nadia Ratsimandresy / ondes martenot
Recorded live at Cafe OTO on Thursday 28th March & Friday 29th March by Paul Skinner and Shaun Crook. Mixed and mastered by Lasse Marhaug. Designed by Maja Larrson. ROKU027.
Available as a 320kbps MP3 or 24bit FLAC
Side A - 20:31
Side B - 21:42
Okkyung Lee is a cellist, composer, and improviser who moves freely between of artistic disciples and contingencies. Since moving to New York in 2000 she has worked in disparate contexts as a solo artist and collaborator with creators in a wide range of disciplines. A native of South Korea, Lee has taken a broad array of inspirations—including noise, improvisation, jazz, western classical, and the traditional and popular music of her homeland—and used them to forge a highly distinctive approach. Her curiosity and a determined sense of exploration guide the work she has made in disparate contexts.
Even though she is probably known best for her improvisational work utilizing visceral extended techniques for more than a decade, from 2010 Lee started developing many site specific works, responding to its architecture, audience, or objects surrounding her, producing an immersive experience. Most recently she presented Hutton Sori composed for cello and computer generated sounds at Der Sommer in Stuttgart Festival, and Grey Shooting Stars (for Yun Dong-Ju) for cello and pre-recorded sound materials at Bludenzer Tage Zeitgemächer Musik in Austria which involved breaking the fourth wall between the performer and the audience thus challenging the built in hierarchy in traditional concert setting. At Villa Medici for her presentation, Okkyung will continue explore the space in the similar manner while continue breaking away from the conventional cello performance.
She has appeared on more than 30 albums, including a diverse variety of recordings as a leader, whether the acclaimed solo improvisation effort Ghil, produced by Norwegian sound artist Lasse Marhaug for Ideologic Organ/Editions Mego, or composition-driven collections like Noisy Love Songs (for George Dyer), released by Tzadik. In 2018 she released Cheol-Kkot-Sae (Steel.Flower.Bird), an ambitious piece drawing upon free improvisation and traditional Korean music that was commissioned for the 2016 Donaueschingen Festival by SWR2, where she collaborated with western improvisers Marhaug, John Butcher, Ches Smith, and John Edwards along with Pansori vocalist Song-Hee Kwon and traditional percussionist Jae-Hyo Chang. She also leads an intricately nuanced Yeo-Neun Quartet featuring harpist Maeve Gilchrist, pianist Jacob Sacks, and bassist Eivind Opsvik that explores the lyrical side of her writing.
Over the last two decades Okkyung has collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Arca, David Behrman, Chris Corsano, Mark Fell, Douglas Gordon, Jenny Hval, Vijay Iyer, Christian Marclay, Bill Orcutt, Marina Rosenfeld, and John Zorn among others. In recent years she’s performed in equally varied contexts, whether embarking on an extended tour with the legendary experimental rock band Swans or collaborating with visual artist Haroon Mizra.
As a curator Lee has programmed concert series at the Stone in New York, the Music Unlimited Festival in Wels, Austria, and at the Jazz House (recently renamed Alice) in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2015 she was selected as a Doris Duke Performing Artist in 2015, and she has been awarded residencies at Civitella Ranieri in Umbria, Italy in 2015 and Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany in 2017. She has been commissioned to compose music and assemble projects for Time Spans Festival in New York, Amsterdam’s Maze Ensemble, Borealis Festival in Bergen, Norway, Nam June Paik Art Center, Korea and Pub Crawl I & II for the London Sinfonietta as part of a Christian Marclay exhibition at White Cube Gallery.
She received a dual bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Writing & Production and Film Scoring from Berklee College of Music in 1998 and a master’s degree in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory of Music in 2000.
Jérôme Noetinger (1966) is a composer, improviser and sound artist who works with electroacoustic devices such as the Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape recorder and magnetic tape, analogue synthesisers, mixing desks, speakers, microphones, various electronic household/everyday objects and home-made electronica.
He performs both solo and in ensembles (Cellule d'Intervention Metamkine, Le Un, Hrundi Bakshi, Les Sirènes, Proton…), and collaborates often (Sophie Agnel, Lionel Marchetti, Aude Romary, Angelica Castello, Antoine Chessex, Anthony Pateras, Anne-Laure Pigache…).
From 1987 to 2018, he was the director of Metamkine, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the distribution of improvised and electroacoustic music.
Between 1987 and 2014 Jérôme was a member of the editorial committee of the quarterly journal of contemporary sound, poetry and performance, Revue & Corrigée.
For ten years from 1989, he was a member and programming co-ordinator of exhibitions, gigs, and experimental cinema at le 102 rue d'Alembert, Grenoble.
Born in Paris, Nadia Ratsimandresy discovered (at the age of 9) her fascination with music and the Ondes Martenot in the class of Françoise Pellié Murail in Evry, France.
Having Advanced Training Diplomas in Onde Martenot and Musical Acoustics, both obtained in 2002 at the Paris Conservatoire, Nadia is dedicated to chamber music and the performing arts. In 2006 she co-founded the 3D Trio with soprano Virginie Colette and guitarist Sophie Marechal, with whom she has premièred numerous compositions for this ensemble (Régis Campo, Frédérick Martin, Jean-Marc Chouvel, Colin Roche). She collaborated with the Italian pianist Matteo Ramon Arevalos on the program Messiaen around Messiaen, dedicated to Messiaen and his students, and released on CD for the English RER label Megacorp in 2008, following a tribute tour that year (Angelica Festival, Curva Minore, Ravenna Festival, Area Sismica). Contemporary ensemble works include Volta, comprising 2 ondes, electric guitar and percussion, and is a group that has been navigating between rock and contemporary music since 2012...[more]