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Please read below
or download the CD BOOKLET at www.ictus.be/onwaterlines

✪✪ TRACKS ✪✪

✪ Christopher Trapani : TWO FOLKSONG DISTORTIONS
performed by Liesa Van der Aa, voice, violin, electronics ;
& Tom Pauwels, guitars, electronics

1. Wayfaring Stranger
2. Freight Train
8. [Full cycle in one track] Two folksong distortions

Christopher Trapani, 2015, after 'Wayfaring Stranger', public domain (first published in 1858) and 'Freight Train', Elizabeth Cotten (1905).

✪ Christopher Trapani : WATERLINES,
Five Songs about Storms and Floods
for voice, 8 musicians and a touch of electronics
with Christie Finn, soprano
Ictus conducted by Georges-Elie Octors
[See the complete credits below]

3. Can't Feel at Home
4. Wild Water Blues
5. Poor Boy Blues
6. Devil Sent the Rain Blues
7. Falling Rain Blues
9. [full cycle I-V in one track] Waterlines

This album can be considered as an ode to the blues, sung by two different voices: the classically trained voice of Christie Finn who’s at the same time very much easy with vocal techniques specific for Country music, and the voice of Liesa Van der Aa, a young singer/violinist who can be considered the leading lady of the Belgian experimental pop scene. Both performing works by Christopher Trapani, re-writing popular American music, using all means of a refined microtonality, modality and spectral harmony.

Read the COMPLETE text + DUTCH version and FRENCH version
on the Ictus website: www.ictus.be/onwaterlines
Christopher Trapani’s ‘Waterlines’, in the words of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’, rescues from a disaster something rich and strange. That disaster was Hurricane Katrina., the costliest storm in American history. Katrina struck Louisiana on 29 August 2005, killing around 1200 people, and afterwards the damage was exacerbated by the government’s stilted response. President Obama later remarked: ‘What started out as a natural disaster became a man-made disaster – a failure of government to look out for its own citizens.’ New Orleans’ population, in 2000 half a million, had by 2006 been decimated to 230,172.

‘That immediate sensation of shock after the storm is still emblazoned in my mind,’ Trapani, a native of New Orleans, recalled: ‘the fear of losing everything from the concrete to the intangible, from houses and photo albums to cultural traditions.’ As he sifted through vintage recordings of Southern music recalling the earlier cataclysm of the 1927 Mississippi River Flood, Trapani began to conceive a substantial work commemorating Katrina and paying tribute to Trapani’s Southern musical heritage. The result is ‘Waterlines’, a song cycle in which Trapani channels the cataclysm into a brilliant celebration of an extraordinary musical culture.

Trapani draws germs of musical material from late 1920s and 1930s recordings by the Carter Family, Kokomo Arnold, Bessie Smith, Ramblin’ Thomas, Charley Patton, and Lonnie Johnson. These old blues and country songs provide lyrics and elements of harmonic, rhythmic, and gestural material. In instrumental terms, to Ictus’s winds, strings and percussion are added folk instruments such as harmonica, Appalachian dulcimer, and steel-stringed slide guitar. Here the composer is archivist as well as artist, and each of Waterlines’ five songs takes a different perspective on the disaster.

On a technical level Trapani filters his source material through a post-spectralist framework. For Hugues Dufourt, inventor of the name ‘musique spectrale’, spectralism had a transatlantic origin: scientist-artist interactions in the 1960s in the USA, applying information technology to electronic sound synthesis, in the 1970s fed into musical acoustics in France among the inheritors of the post-war avant-garde. That cross-cultural exchange resulted in a powerful new approach to musical composition. It’s thus fitting that one of the most compelling post-spectralist voices is an American composer, trained in Harvard and Paris, steeped in the music of the American South. It’s a synthesis that in ‘Waterlines’ creates unforeseen musical forms. 
[...] »

✪ Read the COMPLETE text + DUTCH version and FRENCH version
on the Ictus website: www.ictus.be/onwaterlines


released August 29, 2020


Lisa Van der Aa: voice, violin, effect pedals
Tom Pauwels: guitars
Recorded by Alexandre Fostier
Edited and mixed by Alexandre Fostier and Tom Pauwels

Christie Finn: soprano
Ictus conducted by Georges-Elie Octors
Michael Schmid: flute
Dirk Descheemaeker : clarinet
Philippe Ranallo : trumpet
Tom Pauwels : guitar, dulcimer
Tom De Cock : percussion
Aurélie Entringer : viola
François Deppe : cello
Gery Cambier : double bass
Recorded by Alexandre Fostier
Edited by Georges-Elie Octors and Alexandre Fostier
Mixed by Jean-Luc Plouvier and Alexandre Fostier
Mastering: Alexandre Fostier


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ictus ensemble Brussels, Belgium

Ictus is a Brussels-based contemporary music ensemble. The ensemble's home since 1994 has been the Rosas dance company's premises.

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