Wedding Ceremony – experiencing sound detached from its source.

Wedding Ceremony

Lucio Capece/Julia Eckhardt/Christian Kesten/Radu Malfatti/Toshimaru Nakamura/Taku Sugimoto


Wedding Ceremony is a collection of performances primarily relating to the positioning of sound within a room. Each of the five pieces were recorded live, apparently culled from two sets in Belgium, May 2007.

Art is primarily a social experience  a relationship between giving voice to something and being locked in a certain place in a certain time. All the arts rely heavily on the environment in which they are enjoyed.  Although it has always been sounds tradition to remove as much of the “outside” noise as is possible, today post-Cage musicians / sound artists are inviting the listener to engage in an altered relationship with the sounds around them: specifically to detach them from the objects making them and then – if the listener desires, re-attach them again.

The notion of listening to a sound detached from its source – or rather from the object imposition I administer, is complex for I find my journey into the sounds becomes allegorical. Beneath the imposition of my clumsy listening lies transcendental qualities when I am relating to sound externalised from the qualities of originality and inspiration. This is my own conformity with sociological principles – more “me” being imposed on the listening experience – but when this is coupled with the shuffle of audience feet, children’s laughter in the playground or (as the last wonderfully challenging piece on this beautiful disc demands) improvised speech from the audience, I find my ability to hear sound as sound compromised with the principles of recognition, mutual affirmation and promotion. While the beautiful sounds of the musicians can have me listen beyond my recognition, if not my socialiogical conditioning, I find the sounds of the room almost impossible to connect with as sound scape.

For me it took many listenings over several weeks to begin to have an experience of the sounds surrounding the musicians as inclusive to the sound experience rather than exclusive. Eventually the same principles that substantively define the artist are present in the active listener, and in the sound separated from its source. While the artists are responsible for the work and carry whatever that weight may or may not be, sound – in its existence – is governed by the same responsibility.  What is astounding about this disc is the realisation that this exists without the active listener. Indeed the active listener is so much a part of the collective experience, once they are able to incorporate the affirmed sounds, that they disappear.

In this way the music, because of its radical inclusion rather than exclusion, appropriates everything around it. All sound, listening and silence is liberated into the set of concepts evident in the artist despite the contracts going in and out of effect around them. The sounds that exists outside of the musicians is so much a part of the performance, it almost comes from the instruments. Sound detaches from its source, and even the palpable nerves of the audience reading out their snippets of paper are mere sounds, all identity lost in the snatching of sound away from its origin.

How these musicians are able to achieve this (because make no mistake this is deliberate) is astonishing to me, but even more than their artistic ability is the potency of sound itself – its ability to “exist” as separate from its agent. When one is liberated from the burden of having to tie sound to its source, one can see its potency as an agent of freedom.  The opportunity it affords the deliberate listener. Because the sound is allegorical (subconsciously if not consciously) an opportunity is afforded the active listener to see the sociological expanse behind the work. If we have come so far that we can make and hear music like this, surely there is no end to where the artistic construction and its various contracts and corollaries can take us?

Do yourself a favour and have a read of Lucio Capece’s notes, or score to the final piece on the disc. It can be found here.

Wedding Ceremony is available through Cathnor here.  It comes highly recommended by me.  🙂