Kaffe: The reason the speakers are cracking right now is these are actually sub-frequencies. They are actually moving along your body. I was interested in the map of human body as score, aligning along different spots of the body.
Did the same in Ghent, which turns out to be one of the oldest cities in Europe: hence a bicycle opera called The Swamp That Was, trying to draw power from the presence of all the animals and plants and humans who’ve ever been there, still there.
12 bicycles, three different routes, including a spiritual route past a women’s commune where they work with plants and planets; past a pair of brothers who brew elderflower wine. Including stories of the river, featuring an opera singer and a clarinetist as accompaniment. Including a sonic garden, a sound installation of grass and birds and bees in a built-up spot where there was nothing.
Kaffe: Essentially the whole piece was performed by you as you cycled through the streets. The listener with the Music for Bodies project becomes involved in the making of the music. You’re experiencing the music as it unfolds around you. It’s not like going to a concert that has a beginning and an end. As with the Sonic Beds, it’s possible to make music that has no beginning and no end. You can go wherever you like. Take your picnic box with you and you’re independent.
Kaffe: I have always been looking for things other than my own ideas to make music, be it chance, be it the weather, and the other thing is machinery – computers, samplers. They do things I could never think of.
[Correction from Kaffe herself: "Yird Muin Starn is old Scots for Earth Moon Star . Its a collaborative project directed bvy Mandy McIntosh. She also directed Weightless Animals which is another space project but researched at NASA and completed in 2004. Please check www.weightlessanimals.com and www.kaffematthews.net/yird_muin_starn.]
Several ideas that had to be junked: a sonic bath, where you immerse yourself completely except for your head, pedaling tuning forks at the bottom. A silent hole for gazing, where you can lie in a hole in the ground and stare at the sky (she says it’s gorgeous, I say it reminds me too much of my army days digging trenches, the Foresty Department said no digging).
Finally, an adaptation of a Victorian astronomers’ chair, where you simply lie back with your face upwards, the noise of nature around you, the noise of the stars all over your body. Also on your body: portable shelters, like space-age pyjama suits, beautiful printed with designs from collaborator Mandy Mcintosh.
And finally, an all-female music collective, The Lappetites, which Kaffe formed partly because there seemed to be so few women doing crazy things with synthesizers. She recently wrote an opera remotely with two other members: Japan, Finland and the UK, all about their fathers: a Zainichi businessman, an old East German soldier, a farmer who lives in the same house where he was born.
Large worlds, little worlds, old worlds, new. We are already living in the future.