With 100 cymbals, Ryoji Ikeda dives us into the abyss of vibration. A unique listening experience.
Created in 2019 at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, in the sumptuous hall designed by architect Frank Gehry, 100 Cymbals is as much a stage performance as an audiovisual installation. Ryoji Ikeda highlights the rich potential of cymbals by following the thin line between noise and harmonic resonance. The seemingly rudimentary instrument, a convex disc made of an alloy of copper, brass and bronze, which is more commonly used to accentuate certain times of the measure, is transformed into a powerful polyphonic resource. The different modes of playing, more or less conventional, maintain a fusional – almost choral – sound and allow harmonic strata and other acoustic results to emerge within a process that a simple line could represent: an infinite crescendo, leading from an almost imperceptible murmur to the brilliance of the final fortississimo.

John Cage’s “But what about the noise of crumpling paper” celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dada co-founder Hans Arp, and was composed in 1986 for Les Percussion de Strasbourg. But Cage specified neither the number of players nor the durations, tempo or repetitions. There is only a system of five different punctuation marks that has to be reinterpreted for every performance. The Japanese sound and video artist Ryoji Ikeda has devised a new version of this conceptual score.

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