The UK premiere of a transcendental new music experience that finds singular US composer/inventor Ellen Fullman building and performing on her remarkable self-designed Long String Instrument, in collaboration with German experimental guitarist Konrad Sprenger.
The Long String Instrument is an installation of dozens of tuned wires fifty feet or more in length, suspended across a space. In performance, Fullman slowly processes across the instrument, ‘bowing’ the strings with rosin-coated fingers to produce warm, immersive and overtone-rich drones that use the acoustic properties of the space as the body of the instrument itself. The Long String Instrument will be purpose-built on the panoramic top floor of the Arnolfini building, with Fullman joined by long-term collaborator Konrad Sprenger on computer-controlled multichannel electric guitar.
Ellen Fullman is a composer and performer based in Berkeley, California. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, as a teenager she became inspired by the sounds native to her region: Delta blues music. At the age of one, she was kissed by Elvis, who said to her, “Hi-ya baby!” Fullman studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute where she learned of the work of Harry Partch. Inspired by Alvin Lucier’s Music on a Long Thin Wire, she suspended long wires in her loft studio in St. Paul Minnesota and experimented with different forms of manual articulation. Through an accidental discovery of the longitudinal mode of vibration, Fullman invented the Long String Instrument, which has remained at the core of her creative life. The process of refining and articulating this instrument has led her to experimenting with wire alloys and gauges; designing resonators and tuning capos; creating a graphic notation form that defines time by distance walked; and the study of natural tuning and North Indian vocal music, among many other things, in her quest to “Let the strings sing their own song”.
Konrad Sprenger is the pseudonym of Jörg Hiller, a composer, music producer and artist based in Berlin whose recent focus has been on live performance with a computer-controlled multichannel electric guitar. Aside from his work with Fullman, Hiller regularly performs together with minimal music composer Arnold Dreyblatt, and he has performed live with the bands Ethnostress and Ei and the art collective Honey-Suckle Company. Hiller also runs the Choose record label, for which he has produced recordings by artists Ellen Fullman, Arnold Dreyblatt, Robert Ashley and Terry Fox among others. His music and installation work have been presented at Hamburger Bahnhof, and Berghain (Berlin), PS1 (New York), Cubitt Gallery (London) Sonar (Barcelona) among others.
Please arrive early at Arnolfini – the performance will take place on the 5th floor and will start promptly.
Supported by Arts Council England. Produced by Out of Place for Bristol New Music.
Supported by Arts Council England. Produced by Out of Place for Bristol New Music. Out of Place is a co-production between Arnolfini and Qu Junktions. It is supported by PRS for Music Foundation’s New Music Plus…UK an initiative developed in association with the hub, with funding from Arts Council England, Arts Council Northern Ireland, Arts Council Wales, Creative Scotland, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Ellen Fullman photo credit: John Fago