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SoundScapes Festival # 3 Munich - 2021 Schwere Reiter

by Harri Sjöström

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about

14 musicians from nine different countries went on a sound journey directed only by their own musical fantasy, no borders – except one, more about that later.

The venue, the newly built “Schwere Reiter“ in Munich, is perfect for this: clear acoustics, clear architecture. In the middle of the covid pandemic, in a short time when concerts were possible, such an intense and open exchange could happen, two days in a row, on October 1st and 2nd 2021 – a stroke of luck. A music that moves, stimulates, perhaps upsets, has been recorded there.

The Berlin based saxophone player Harri Sjöström, born in Finland, is the creator of these collaborations and he named them “SoundScapes“: Landscapes of Sounds. It started as a concert series in Berlin in 2013. In 2016 and 2018 “SoundScapes Festivals” happened in Helsinki and now the third one took place in Munich in 2021.

People with open and curious ears can move around in this scenery of sounds. You can walk through a tender braid of notes from a trombone and a violin, embracing each other. You can marvel at tiny tone dots from a guitar and a quartertone accordion, expanded by soft electronic sound pieces. You can get carried away by the pull created by two drums and a vibraphone. Or you can be amazed by a piano dancing freely to floating frequencies from different wind instruments. The concept of “SoundScapes“ says that all players are involved at the first and the last part of the two day festival. All other sections have line-ups from duo to quintet, hand-picked by Harri Sjöström and agreed with all the members. There’s only one limit: each performance should not last longer than 15 Minutes. This might be seen as a harsh breaking of the rules of free improvisation, but in this case it’s also a stroke of luck! There are no timewasting settle ins, no soloistic ego trips, no lengths. Only with great togetherness and space-giving respect can such a dense but open music be created.

This recording shows the whole path through the landscapes of sounds that Harri Sjöström and his great associates have walked during these two festival nights. A music that opens doors and stretches rooms. Insert, listen, get involved!

Ulrich Habersetzer (BR-KLASSIK)

This Two-Day-Improvisation-Festival “SoundScapes #3” was the culmination and conclusion of the art-project “Aspects of Free Improvisation 2021”, conceived by Offene Ohren e.V. and supported by Neustart Kultur and the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media .
The first of these aspects focused on individual mission and experience of an improvising artist, while the second one centered around the apparent contradiction between structure and adventure, individualism and mutual goals in one quasi-static ensemble.

This Two-Day-Improvisation-Festival “SoundScapes #3” was the culmination and conclusion of the art-project “Aspects of Free Improvisation 2021”, conceived by Offene Ohren e.V. and supported by Neustart Kultur and the German Minister of State for Culture and the Media. The first of these aspects focused on individual mission and experience of an improvising artist, while the second one centered around the apparent contradiction between structure and adventure, individualism and mutual goals in one quasi-static ensemble.

The exchange of musical ideas was the core and final aspect of this project: transcending the borders of geography, generations, musical styles and instrumental equipment, the fourteen musicians generated a mutual understanding and a fascinating universal language. SoundScapes #3 once again brought together a carefully selected group of artists from the international avant-garde music scenes, with roots in Finland, England, Norway, Italy, Holland, Greece, Mexico, Australia and Germany. The two-day festival provided deep insights into the exciting world of free improvisation and contemporary in-situ composition. In continuous interplay, the audience was drawn into the maelstrom of the here and now – sometimes in fascinating real-time dialogues of ad-hoc duos or smaller ensembles, opening and culminating in rousing tutti sequences of all parti-
cipating musicians.

Very appropriately, the festival took place during the inauguration weeks of the recently completed new concert space of SchwereReiter: Giving a harsh and rough-textured impression from the outside, it houses a spacious and lofty stage, together with an auditorium which allowed corona-safe seating for an encouraging number of enthusiastic concert visitors. The event surely was a highlight of these opening days!

Hannes Schneider - Offene Ohren e. V

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released May 3, 2022

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