NYX is an electronic drone choir amplifying mindful experiences, psychoacoustics and sound healing through an immersive exploration of ambient noise and electronic music. As the presse release reports, it looks to reshape the role of the traditional female choir, testing the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument.
They started a collaboration series which involve Gazelle Twin, Hatis Noit, Iona Fortune and Alicia Jane Turner with Dead Light. The first event in October kicked off with Erased Tapes affiliate and Japanese artist Hatis Noit.
This Sunday, December 9th at Pickle Factory in London, there will the second “episode” with Elizabeth Bernholz aka Gazelle Twin which will collaborate with the choir and will now be her London debut of the new album “Pastoral”. Tickets are available here. Check our talk with NYX below.
This Sunday, there will be the second episode of collaboration series which will involve Gazelle Twin (and more next year for next episodes). How is born the idea of the series and what is the concept and inspirations behind it?
NYX came out of a shared music taste and interest in the physical performance and the ‘live-ness’ of electronic music. How can we create a safe space for artists to play with their work and practice? How can a choir have agency within a performance?
Sian is a long term member and former Creative Director of the London Contemporary Voices and has led choral collaborations with Alt-J, KARYYN, Active Child and Elbow. For this project, we’re looking to expand the role of the traditional female choir – to explore the colours of the collective voice by experimenting with acoustic and electronic manipulation. We have a pool of about female 10 singers – all from a range of music backgrounds (opera, noise, pop….) who are undergoing sound engineering and music production training as well as traditional extended vocal techniques such as harmonic overtone singing and non-vocal bodily sounds. The result of a collaboration is to imagine a holistic sonic space reacting to emotional, political and technical ideas of the artist we are working with.
How do you build the performance in collaboration with different guests of the series?
We’ve been exploring the artist’s current limitations performing live, consider how we can create the original sound more acoustically (using the voice as the source instrument) and how far we can extend these sounds with music production. We generate a couple of demos together, develop with NYX vocalists and then we’ll invite the artist to join a couple a workshops to pull the idea together. And so far each artist has asked to join the choir once their show is done, so maybe a NYX super group will appear one day soon 🙂
The focus of performances is “to reshape the role of the traditional female choir, testing the limits of organic and synthetic modulation to explore the entire spectrum of collective female voice as an instrument”. This is true experimentation. What is your concept (and meaning) of experimentation and how important is for your project?
The experiment lies in trying to create a distinct sound and experience but also an environment that can react uniquely to the artist and audience. In some way, we’re developing a set of evolving rules to play within. Once the rules are set, artists feel pretty safe taking risks because the space is ready to react.
It’s a very different performance experience for the choir, part-improvised/ part-rehearsed, who are working as a collective but also with particular technical and vocal roles. We’re lucky to be working with Ableton to further develop our engineering and music production skills together as we make each show.
We want to work with collaborators who are up for rewriting our own performance rules together. I think audiences can feel the energy and instinct of new conversations between live musicians.
Are you thinking also about a (possible?) physical release of this project as a follow-up? And what about the chance to set up a festival focused on this kind of performances?
We’re all from festival backgrounds, and in some ways NYX is a response to an appetite for more experience-driven work. We’ve enjoyed a series model to test out different ways of working but would love create work in new environments. We have a long list of new collaborators from spatial designers, movement directors, visual artists, classical composers, filmmakers to DJs. We’ll let the project decide where it wants to live 🙂
In terms of a physical release of music, things are bubbling, lets see what happens in the new year
What are the best releases of 2018 you appreciated more?
Hmmmm, to name a few: Bliss Signal by Bliss Signal, Ultraviolet by Kelly Moran, Rex by Object Blue, Entanglement by Jessica Moss, Compro by Skee Mask , Corner of a Sphere, Alabaster Deplume and of course, Gazelle Twins’s Pastoral is top of the list. 🙂