photo by Owen Lucas
“Unlike an instrument where the length of string determines pitch, in ‘Killing Time’ the length of string determines time between stitches and therefore the timing of the music. Jobina’s innovative brainchild features performing knitters who by their knitting action generate the timelessness of sounds of nature in a far more immersive and evocative manner than a mere field recording ever could.”
‘Killing Time’ is part of Jobina’s SURREALIST COLLECTION OF COMPOSITIONS EXTENDING ON THE IDEA OF MUSICAL TIMING. NON-MUSICIANS AND MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE INSTRUMENTS PERFORM PARTS WHERE THE SOUND and rhythms THEse activities CAUSE IS A indirect, SECONDARY, result of THEIR MAIN ACTIon. Tinnemans’ wild and wonderful explorations in composing for stochastic musical timing has brought her to work with prepared knitting needles.
‘Killing Time’ for ensemble, field recordings, performing knitters and a custom-made digital audio interface, was commissioned by the MATA Festival in New York. It’s a bold statement of a composition full of contrasts, using innovative digital technologies in combination with ancient craft and embedding natural primitive sounds of Pembrokeshire in the heart of hyper urbanised New York.
Jobina’s passion for her wild outdoor surroundings living on a peninsula in Pembrokeshire is such, she wanted to share it with the MATA audience. Yet, field recordings, like photographs, are documents of the past. The one ingredient that triggers Tinnemans’ interest most in a soundscape is the lively unpredictability of the timing of its sounds.
Tinnemans designed software instruments from her field recordings, which needed a randomised triggering or, in other words, a randomised playing, similar to the unpredictability of natural sounds. Rather than having the sounds magically appear from loudspeakers and programming ‘natural timing’, she added a human emotion to the software instruments by introducing performing knitters.
The act of knitting generate micro randomisations with the timing between each knitted stitch and macro pauses when a work is being turned or wool is gathered. In order to use knitting as her field recording software instrument performing tool Jobina adapted pairs of knitting needles and designed an interface to connect the needles to the software.
The title ‘Killing Time’ projects an act of leisure, the timelessness of the depicted soundscape, as well as the unpredictable timing engineered within the composition. In the performing ensemble acoustic instruments are sitting side by side to the software instruments as Tinnemans’ personal statement that ecological sounds are equal to man-made sounds.
MATA Festival announces Jobina Tinnemans’ selection on their Benefit Gala
I Care If You Listen – New York New Music blog, October 2013 reports from the MATA Benefit Gala introducing Jobina Tinnemans’ MATA New York commission
NY Phil archive gem!
This New York Philharmonic program booklet dating from 1914 adds another dimension to ‘Killing Time’ :
posted January 22, 2014
Sound And Music article
Killing Time explores Tinnemans’ fascination with the timeless natural sounds of her adopted home of Pembrokeshire, recreated through the innovative use of performing knitters who will be generating a soundscape to invoke in the listener the atmosphere of the majestic scenery of this remote yet beautiful corner of the Welsh countryside. The knitting ensemble perform on custom developed prepared knitting needles which each trigger tiny snippets of sound. Together, these sound snippets recreate the wild sounds of Nature in a far more immersive and evocative manner than a mere field recording ever could. The performing knitters are an integral part of the orchestra along with classical instruments and Tinnemans herself on electronic instruments. Every concert the performing knitters make additions to the knitted “score” which are a living document of the history of the piece, visualising the passage of time through its trace in fibre.
MATA festival in New York, founded by Philip Glass, Eleonor Sandresky and Lisa Bielawa, commissioned Jobina Tinnemans out of over 600 submissions to write a new work for their 2013 edition. The MATA composition is called ‘Killing Time’, for piano, cello, clarinet, guzheng and 5 knitters on electronics. It blends the grid structure of the Big Apple with the mercurial natural sounds of Pembrokeshire..
The piece has since been performed in St.David’s Cathedral, Sheffield Doc Fest, Norwegian Arts Centre Cardiff and the Wales Millennium Centre. In January 2016 the concert featured on the catwalk of the Vogue Knitting Live! New York gala dinner.
“I often include non musicians to be part of my ensemble, who, by their activity, create a rhythm or sound secondary to their action, for the particular timing it generates. I currently live in Pembrokeshire and for this work I approached its majestic coastal soundscape as an education in timing of my music. A key inspiration to ‘Killing Time’ piece has been this field recording I made of this same spot in Pwll Deri in 2010, during the aeroplane free days by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption. In order to keep the timing of a field recording alive and natural – since it’s a document, much like a photograph is – I dissected the recording of a flock of arctic terns into single calls and turned them into a software instrument to be live reconstructed again, back into a flock of birds, at the MATA concert in New York.
The sound segments needed to be triggered in a nonlinear way and I used 5 knitters knitting with prepared knitting needles to act as a cloud-like sequencing sampler. Which resulted in the electronics part of the piece being conducted. Performed by members of an ensemble consisting of both conventional instruments and knitters. Similar to a conventional instrument, the audience witnessed a physical presence of an electronic sound by it’s performer.” – Jobina Tinnemans
Meanwhile, back in Pembrokeshire, knitters tested the purpose-built computer interface. Many of these meetings and developments were filmed, by friends or even strangers, for which I’m thankful, the concert was beautifully documented. I turned it into a film.”.
‘Killing time in New York’ (54mins), an art house documentary, is set in New York and Pembrokeshire, showing the making of this contemporary classical MATA composition with knitted electronics. It also shows an intimate look into my sketch book for the piece. Followed by the actual ‘Killing Time’ documentation of the MATA concert in Roulette, Brooklyn, on April 19th 2013. Stunningly recorded by Q2, New York.