Dance: Yukiko Masui
Music: Ezra Axelrod
Improvisation is an exercise in empathy that can change the way we communicate and inhabit space. To improvise, I must first trust myself, and believe that my instinct and capability are valid. If I am improvising in a group, I must extend that trust to my collaborators. We agree, in a sense, to be naked in front of each other, with all our rawness and imperfections. When we improvise, we open the door to the possibility of our personal and collective expression. If I manage to apply the lessons of trust, candour, humility, and spontaneity I learn in an improv session to my life outside of the studio, I feel I am truly practicing the lessons creativity can teach.
This improv video came about simply because I missed @yukiko.masui, and I wanted to connect outside of specific project work. By meeting each other in the improv dimension, I feel like we can fuel our respective creative fires while we’re not working on a specific commission.
Yuki helps me reconnect my music to my body. Her movements are powerful, fluid, and androgynously sensual. One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my creative process is getting sucked into making music while sitting at my computer, staring at a screen, playing sounds on a MIDI controller. Voice is my main instrument, and improvising is an opportunity for me to step back from the computer, and explore how I can generate sound with not only my vocal chords, but my whole body.
To make the music for this video, I extracted a vocal line from my improv session. I duplicated it five times in Logic and repitched each new instance with Melodyne. I then improvised a glitchy percussion rhythm on top of this, added some reverb, EQ and compressors, and that’s about it. I recorded my improv in a noisy space in Cali, Colombia. You can hear the birds chirping throughout. Usually I’d be freaked out by how noisy the recording is, but the exercise of accepting these types of imperfections made me fall in love with the ambient sound. Because it’s there, I’ll forever be reminded of the place I was in when I had this experience.