Kaoru Watanabe (USA)
I usually work with ensembles, collaborating with musicians, dancers, visual artists, etc. but during the pandemic, I was able to devote time to explore creating solo material for myself. Part of this exploration was using technology to record and playback improvisations and to create loops.
Some of the challenges: 1) how to seamlessly incorporate improvisation and set music with the recording and looping 2) balancing acoustic and recorded sound in live performance 3) using different methods for triggering loops/recordings 4) how to deal with bleed between recorded music and music being played live to loop.
About the compositions and compositional process: Many of my compositions are explorations of re-contextualizing traditional Japanese music (ie. Noh, Kabuki, Gagaku) into the modern world (especially music, ie. Black American jazz, new music) and contemporary themes (US politics, race relations, the pandemic, etc ) and personal stories (my family, my upbringing, my heritage).