Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces
Alexander Hawkins & Siska: “SUNNOSPHERE”
With this new commissioned work, the British pianist and composer Alexander Hawkins and the Berlin based video artist and rapper Siska create a sound sphere for the silent green Kuppelhalle, performing with top-class musicians from Berlin and London within the unique visual world arising from Siska’s installation.
The sublimely flexible British pianist Alexander Hawkins – a trusted collaborator of Louis Moholo-Moholo, Evan Parker and Anthony Braxton, among others – joins forces with the Berlin-based Lebanese visual artist and rapper Siska for a special Jazzfest Berlin commission. The music, composed by Hawkins and played by a stellar international cast featuring the celebrated British reedist Shabaka Hutchings (The Comet is Coming, Sons of Kemet), the Toronto/Berlin trumpeter Lina Allemano, British electronic improviser Matt Wright and ubiquitous Berlin bassist Petter Eldh (Koma Saxo, Y-Otis), will collide with an otherworldly atmosphere designed by Siska, who will also contribute his Arabic-language rapping to the performance. He will use three analog projectors to cast found films focusing on the natural world – something that’s come into sharper focus for all of us during the coronavirus pandemic – onto an old spinning disco ball, doubling nicely as a miniature sun to refract and abstract those flickering images as they fill the space with light and motion. The title of the work echoes this process, while also referencing two key influences on the music: Sun Ra and Thelonious “Sphere” Monk. Wright’s practice processes the sonic output of his collaborators, mirroring the work of the disco ball, and suggests an oblique form of live sampling, while Eldh’s own work has creatively explored shifting jazz and hip-hop hybrids.
This concert is part of Jazzfest Berlin Outer Spaces
This pandemic has rendered the project even more experimental than originally planned: For “SUNNOSPHERE” by Alexander Hawkins and Siska, most likely not all artists will be able to perform together live in Berlin. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to play together. Via algorithms by Matt Wright, not only fragmentary studio recordings from the London-based musicians will be fed into the musical process, but also electronic real-time interventions, which will result in surprising twists and turns during the Berlin concert.
Alexander Hawkins composition, musical direction, piano
Siska visuals, artistic direction, vocals
Petter Eldh will be replaced by Nick Dunston bass
Shabaka Hutchings tenor sax, clarinet
Lina Allemano trumpet
Matt Wright electronics