Amelia Cuni –voice
Werner Durand – invented wind instruments
Robin Hayward – microtonal tuba, tuning vine
Hilary Jeffery – trombone
Ralf Meinz – live sound, electronics
TONALIENS bezeichnet sich als die erste Phase eines langfristigen Projektes, in dem in Berlin lebenden und aus unterschiedlichen musikalischen Hintergründen kommenden MusikerInnen zusammenschliessen, um sich mit mikrotonaler Stimmungen und außereuropäischer Musiktraditionen mittels des vor kurzem erfundenen Hayward Tuning Vines auseinanderzusetzen. An einem Abend werden zwei kontrastierende Aspekte dieser Auseinandersetzung dargestellt.
Die Musik dieses Quartetts, bestehend aus der Sängerin Amelia Cuni, den Blechbläsern Hilary Jeffery & Robin Hayward sowie dem Multi-Instrumentalisten Werner Durand, hat sich angesiedelt am äussersten Rand dessen, was als Konsonanz gelten kann. Zuhause in der Welt der Reinen Stimmung bewegt es sich in Intervalstrukturen, die aus den Ober- und Untertönen auch höherer Primzahlen als den gebräuchlichen 3 & 5, die der konventionellen Stimmung am nächsten kommen, abgeleitet sind. Ausgehend von ihrem Hintergrund in der indischen Musiktradition des Dhrupads führt Amelia Cuni eine melodische Reise durch den allmählich wechselnden harmonischen Raum. Mit den glissandierenden melodischen Gestaltungen des Dhrupads setzt sich der Posaunist Hilary Jeffery mit den Melodielinien des Gesangs in Bezug, wobei er eine verlangsamte, auf die Posaune übertragende Version der Gesanglinie spielt. Mit nochmals reduziertem Tempo spielt Robin Hayward eine mikrotonale Tuba, mit der er den vom Tuning Vine eröffneten harmonischen Raum bis zur untersten Hörgrenze allmählich erfroscht. Durch Verwendung der Halbventilgriffen und die dadurch entstehenden Klangfarbenveränderungen nimmt er manchmal auch auf die Vokale von Amelias Stimme Bezug. Als Gegenpol dazu spielt Werner Durand auf von ihm selbst explizit für die Mikrotonalität entwickelten Blasinstrumenten in einem wesentlich schnelleren Tempo auf den Ober- und Untertonverhältnissen der Harmonien basierende Rhythmen. Dadurch wird sowohl ein harmonischer als auch melodischer und rhythmischer Bezugsrahmen zwischen den MusikerInnen hergestellt.
TONALIENS is a new Berlin based group, investigating the inner dimensions and outer limits of Just Intonation. Exploring harmonic space with voice, brass, invented instruments, sine waves and live electronics,Tonaliens navigate intricate musical relationships using the Hayward Tuning Vine. Drawing on her background in the Indian music tradition Dhrupad, Amelia Cuni makes a melodic journey through the gradually shifting harmonic space. Her winding melodic lines are suggestive of a non-European tradition and at the same time they manifest the relation with the Just Intonation system through microtonality and further explore it. Hilary Jeffery connects with the melodic glissando of the voice through playing a slowed down version of the vocal lines on trombone. With the use of a wa wa mute and sometimes hinting at jazz improvisation, his slower articulations echo the voice and provide timbral shading. A further temporal layer is introduced by Robin Hayward, who along with playing the Tuning Vine gradually explores the harmonic space down to the deepest limit of audibility using the microtonal tuba. Through using half-valve combinations and the resulting shifts in timbre he also refers to the voice. The position of Werner Durand in the ensemble sound is multifaceted. Sometimes enhancing the drone of the sine waves and the tuba, at other times sharing melodic contours with the trombone or responding to the melodic shapes of the voice. Additionally he adds a rhythmic dimension by articulating the interval relationships of the over and undertone series. A harmonic, melodic and rhythmic network of relationships between the musicians is thereby created and explored over the course of the music. The ensemble is amplified and Ralf Meinz ompletes the picture with his subtle use of live electronics and spatial sound projection.
Amelia Cuni occupies a unique position in between traditional Indian music and Western contemporary performing arts. She studied Dhrupad, the most ancient genre of classical Indian singing, with renowned masters such as R.Fahimuddin Dagar, Bidur Mallik and DC Vedi. Many renowned musicians have composed and performed with her including Terry Riley, Maria de Alvear, Roland Pfrengle, Chico Mello and Sandeep Bhagwati. Her interpretation of John Cage's "Solo 58" (18 microtonal ragas from the "Song Books") was premiered at Maerz Musik (Berlin) in 2006, performed internationally and released on Other Minds. Other notable collaborations include her work with minimalist- experimental wind player Werner Durand and composer CC Hennix. She teaches Indian singing at the Vicenza Conservatory in Italy and in Berlin. ameliacuni.de
Werner Durand has been involved with Just Intonation since the mid -80s and has performed on
saxophone and with his own invented wind instruments. He has played with many groups including Armchair Traveller, Arnold Dreyblatt's Orchestra of Excited Strings, Born of Six with CC Hennix and Amelia Cuni, The Beatless Saxodrones with Ulrich Krieger, and has collaborated with many other artists and musicians including David Behrmann, Ellen Fullmann and David Toop. He has curated programs in Berlin including programs at the Ethnological Museum, USArts in 1993 - presenting works by The Harry Partch Ensemble amongst others, and the Festival "Intonations" at Podewil featuring James Tenney, Tony Conrad and Wolfgang von Schweinitz.
The tuba player and composer Robin Hayward was born in Brighton, England in 1969. He studied classical music at the University of Manchester and tuba at the Royal Northern College of Music. After graduating in 1991 he was involved in the improvised and experimental music scenes in Manchester and London. In 1998 he moved to Berlin, where he played an active role in the shaping of the Echtzeitmusik scene. He has introduced revolutionary playing techniques to brass instruments, initially through the discovery of the 'noise-valve' in 1996, and later through the development of the first fully microtonal tuba in 2009. In 2012 he invented the Hayward Tuning Vine, partly out of a desire to visualize the harmonic space implicit within the microtonal tuba. His approach to the tuba has been documented in the solo releases Valve Division, States of Rushing, Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse and Rubble Master, along with numerous collaborative releases, such as with the microtonal tuba trio Microtub and the tuba and double bass duo Reidemeister Move. In 2005 he founded the ensemble Zinc & Copper to explore brass chamber music from an experimental music perspective.
Hilary Jeffery describes himself as a "desert trombonist" after his journey to the Sahara in 1990,
accompanied by a trombone. The sense of silent space experienced during this journey is a central and sustaining influence for his music. As a musician he aims to share this experience, creating inner-space for fellow musicians and listener's to explore. Hilary’s trombone playing encompasses improvised and notated music. In 2013 he began a study of Dhrupad with Amelia Cuni, with the aim of applying the microtonal melodic techniques of this Indian classical music tradition to the trombone. As a trombonist he has a direct and intuitive knowledge of playing in just intonation, based on the physical properties of his instrument. In recent years he has started to explore this area further through his work with zeitkratzer, CC Hennix, Zinc and Copper Works and now Tonaliens.
Audio engineer, composer and musician Ralf Meinz has a long term experience of music and sound design in a colourful career spanning over twenty years. He started out as a drummer and played with Faust, had a succesful recording studio and also ran two record labels, which championed projects from former Zappa band members Ike Willis, The Fowler Brothers, Arthur Barrow, Chad Wackerman and Robert Martin. For eight years Ralf worked with Reinhold Friedl and his group zeitkratzer. This collaboration included highly acclaimed concert and recording productions with artists such as Lou Reed, Lee Ranaldo, Carsten Nicolai, Terre Thaemlitz and Keiji Haino. In recent years Ralf has made audio designs and compositions for many art installations and theatre productions, including work with Berkan Karpat in Istanbul's Hagia Sophia museum and with Kasia Krakowiak and Michal Libera for the Polish pavilion in the 13th Venice Biennale Di Architettura. Ralf makes ongoing productions with his composition project Chamber of Art. Other recent productions include CC Hennix and the Chora(s)san Time-Court Mirage (Important Records / Sonic Acts 2012) and Lotte Anker’s “What River Is This” with Fred Frith, Chris Cutler, Phil Minton, Garth Knox.