The trumpeter and modular synthesist duo share their latest collaboration, recorded in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg's disused water tank
“Working with Axel is always an interesting balance between knowing and unknowing and weighing up which of the many paths available in any one moment to take,” says UK modular synthesist and composer Richard Scott, speaking of his sometime collaborator, German trumpeter Axel Dörner. “One is never certain one has taken the right decision, or how long that decision remains valid but it is essential to commit as completely as possible to what is happening between us at any one moment, without distinction over which one us is playing. That individualistic aspect really has no meaning in the moment of playing the music.”
Scott is reflecting on their latest duo project A Journal Of Elasticity – a two-part site-specific composition recorded at the disused water tank in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin (also the site of Paris based musician Tomoko Sauvage's 2020 recording Fischgeist).Amplified through a hexaphonic sound system, Scott worked with a Eurorack modular synthesizer, an EMS Synthi A and a Ciat-Lonbarde Tetrazzi (in its maker's words, "a mandala of analogue oscillator circuits that can cross-modulate to form an empire of infinite circuitry"), while Dörner played trumpet with additional live sampling via Max/MSP and a controller interface developed by Sukandar Kartadinata. “The Near-Field Of An Accelerating Dislocation” making up the first side of the LP was recorded in the tank with only the musicians present, whereas “Discontinuity Within A Continuum In The Presence Of Electromagnetic Fields” was recorded with an audience, altering the building's resonance.
“This sense of constant ambiguity and elasticity between the two of us, and between listening and making decisions was further multiplied on these two recordings by the influence of the fascinating sonic environment,” continues Scott. “I am not sure how well a recording can witness just how non-linear the environment was, constituting an interactive compositional element in its own right, creating transformational possibilities and limitations on literally every sound we perform. Despite being midsummer, and by far the hottest part of the year outside, I recall it was pretty bloody cold in there too. Is that audible? Perhaps...”