Read more about the concept and creation of Digital Hybrid (ENG only)

How does our background influence the way we listen to music? What aspects of musical presentation shape musical perception? Can we perceive and compose sound free from the presupposed context that we operate within? Can we reduce the influence context has on an audience? Can we hybridize genres without the issues of miscommunication of musical meaning? If yes, what are successful ways of communicating this meaning? These are the questions that often arise in my work as a composer-performer, both when I compose music and when I think of how to program it with the work of others that I perform.

 

My musical interests have always been multi-directional, which resulted in exposure to a variety of influences, modes of musical thought, and performance practices. As a result, while both composition and performance are essential parts of my musical identity I have gravitated towards exploring different means of musical expression rather than subscribing to one style. Consequently, the two issues I face in my work are: how can I combine my varied influences in a meaningful way and what is the most effective way of presenting these combinations to the audience? At the same time I hope to keep my identity as a composer-performer intact and non-compromised.

 

These questions have led to my interest in appropriation and stylistic juxtaposition and a tendency towards hybridity within pieces and larger concert programs. I employ appropriation as a means to connect my own musical language with musical traditions, styles and cultures that I enjoy as a listener but haven't explored or internalized as a composer or performer. While close to my identity as a listener these interests can be far from my identity as a performer or composer. Thus, through this engagement with unfamiliar musical cultures, I can slowly gain the knowledge and musical understanding that allows them to become parts of my active musical identity.

 

I have found juxtaposition to be useful means of exploring my varied interests in my own work in composition and performance. I had concerns that if I enjoy performing Baroque and Renaissance music on solo marimba, I should probably separate those performances from when I want to improvise a drum-set piece or present a newly composed chamber work. If I want to play jazz, pop or techno, I should probably keep that separate from the “seriousness” of my “art music” pieces, or my presentations of established works of Western classical music. I should find separate venues and audiences for each of the projects I had in mind that would each explore one source of inspiration without running into a “danger” of having them cross paths with each other. However, it occurred to me after a while that if I don't have a problem with this combination of influences should others? This realization was the impetus for the idea of Hybrid Recitals that I started to organize in 2016.

 

The Hybrid Recitals (which precede the creation of Digital Hybrid) juxtapose my works in different styles and genres with improvisation and transcriptions of classical Western music compositions from different periods. The recitals are solo performances with occasional inclusion of other musicians and/or fixed media. Each of the three recitals was a logical step in the process of the idea's development that at the end lead to its most refined form in Digital Hybrid.

 

The first recital, entitled Hybrid Recital no. 1, was presented at Wesleyan University in May 2016 and included my electronic music pieces Micro Symphony, Birds and Significant Silence juxtaposed with works of J.S. Bach, Mark Applebaum, Ralph Towner, and Snatches of Memory (a piece I did in collaboration with my father). I have performed this recital in May 2016 at the Ring Family Performance Theater at Wesleyan University and in an art gallery on ulica Florińska in Krakow, Poland. Here you can see a summary of the Wesleyan performance:

 

 

The second recital was entitled Happy Hybrid and included two semi-improvised works of mine for drum-set and electronics (Cause there is no one like us and Scatter in the Sky), a chamber work of mine that involved non-western instrumentation (Village of Control), an electronic composition by Robert Morris entitled Rapport, and Bach's E-minor lute suite transcribed for marimba. Here you can see a short promo video I made before the recital:

 

 

The third recital of the series Hybrid #3 → Dance and Noise included three pieces of mine: Dance and Noise – a piece for Cajon and electronics combining elements of noise with IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), Intermission Music – an IDM/Drum 'n' Bass track that was played during the intermission of the concert, One of These Days – a Jazz/Funk tune. The concert also involved transcriptions of lute music of John Dowland and harpsichord sonatas by Scarlatti, a study after Sam Pluta's piece Switches, and John Cage's Child of Tree. Here is a short promo video again:

 

 

It is important to mention that while juxtaposition is clearly a prominent element of the Hybrid Recitals, they are not focused on the sharp contrasts that can result from these juxtapositions. The Hybrid Recitals are about achieving musical hybridity through these sets of juxtapositions that I attempt to connect with each other in meaningful ways. I'm interested in keeping the identity of each musical work intact, and connecting them with one another into larger structures using my identity as a performer as the “glue”. In a way this idea of connection is similar to the work of DJs. The hybridity achieved by transitioning the juxtaposed works is my attempt to reduce the impact of cultural connotations these works carry and achieve listening experience based on purely sonic and kinesthetic elements of the music.

 

The Hybrid Recitals present one way I think about hybridity. However, many my pieces included in these programs are hybrids within themselves. They explore varieties of issues I face with my diverse musical interests. Some of them, such as Village of Control explore the concept of hybridity in terms of the cross-cultural exchange and appropriation. Others like Cause there is no one like us or Scatter in the Sky tackle on the problem of hybridity within the “taboo” genres that musically educated people often call “guilty pleasures”. Others simply hybridize works of established artists that I admire. For example, my multimedia piece Birds appropriates footage and sound from Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Most of the works, however, are about connecting musical identities with each other rather than forging foreign musical elements into a new identity.



INCOMING TOMASZ ARNOLD MARIMBA

Contemporary marimba music featuring solo marimba compositions and "Rounders" by Michael Burritt for marimba and percussion ensemble.

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KOMPOZYCJE

March! (orkiestra symfoniczna)
Double Major (cl, sax, trp, vib, pno)
Dissonant Relations (sax, akordeon lub pno)
Five Impressions on Human Life (solo pno)

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