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  • Emma Williams

Bass Flute @ LCMF 2017


It was a joy to be part of the London Contemporary Music Festival again in 2017 performing music by the American minimalist Robert Ashley and the iconic Japanese composer Toshi Ichiyanagi joining the fabulous contemporary music ensemble Apartment House.

In our performance of Toshi Ichiyanagi's "Sapporo" the music was hypnotic and soft, sometimes on the edge of audible, punctuated by sharp staccato chords.

The score is minimal, just lines and dots that need to be followed with very precise instructions and a"non-listening" awareness. This non-reactive listening goes completely against the grain of how I work as a musician but the outcome was to create an accidental overlap of beautiful coincidental sounds as the different instruments collided.

Many things about Robert Ashley's score were a departure from "the norm" for me. The layout: rather than conventional left to right was up and down in columns, it was in bass clef and without rhythmic notation which was then semi improvised following the rhythmic inflection of the voice, rather like recitative.

It was an honour to perform Robert Ashley's music with his son Sam in this performance with Apartment House.

Sam's vocal lines in the LCMF concert were delivered in a beautifully paced, laconic drawl which I felt influenced the shape and mood of the instrumental improvisations. The scoring has dark and seductively dreamy instrumental colours hence the bass flute.

The venue for LCMF this year, equally as awesome as the music performed, was a vast warehouse space with industrial piping and blockwork called AMBIKA 3. Formed from a former 14,000 sq ft concrete construction hall situated in the subterranean basement of Westminster University. #EndlessResonances


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