Discrete Yantra

Roberto Laneri: choir director

Luigi Marino: live electronics on mono portable amplifier, conduction

Nel Cielo di Indra - Overtone Singing Choir (Sandra Amati, Luca Biasini, Gabriele Di Giuseppe, Massimo De Simone, Maria Fanciulli, Massimo Ius, Maurizio Matteucci, Susanna Ricci, Eugenio Rosselli, Alfredo Serafini, Eleonora Vulpiani)

Session @ Totemtanz

Discrete Yantra is a project which deals essentially with a single hard task: combining the identity of an uncompromising digital sound with a complex and self-sufficient organism such as an overtone singing ensemble, without loosing the character of one or the other.

Concerning this work, after an initial introduction, from the incoming of the electronic sound (after 3-5 minutes) the piece is a structured improvisation based on elements of conduction. The electronic pitches are mostly harmonics of a 50hz fundamental, generated through semi-random processes. The initial and final sound is a 100hz sine wave (same pitch as fundamental but as 2nd harmonic); 50hz sine waves aren't reproducible by many portable speakers and this work is thought to be performed live, with the electronic material cominng out of a mono speaker as another voice of the group. This is also how it is recorded.
Three colours are used by a conductor to call different scenes:

YELLOW - Each element of the choir has to tune his/her fundamental with the sounds coming from the computer. Often there are multiple pitches in the electronic material (multiple harmonics belonging to the same harmonic series), so each singer can arbitrarily choose one as fundamental. Other times the electronic pitches are accidental, but the above indications apply the same way. Tuning on a different octave of course is allowed when the voice register does not match the exact pitch.
Electronic material and singers must use the same harmonic series.

BLUE - The singers must find their own common fundamental, listening to their closest singer and gradually converging towards a unique fundamental -this process in similar to the one used in Sonic Meditations by Pauline Oliveros.
Here there is no dialogue between electronic material and choir.
If this instruction is called after the yellow one, it doesn't mean that the choir have to move towards a different fundamental (NB no dialogue does not mean contrast), but should keep its current one while the electronic material is left free to improvise.
Once the fundamental is established the choir sings according to the directives of Roberto's overtone singing groups, so if the musicians are skilled enough, harmonic convergence is encouraged.

RED - Free. Avoid common fundamentals. Move away from an established common fundamental using slow glissandi. In this phase you can use kargiraa.

NEL CIELO DI INDRA is a harmonic choir, meaning its members, none of them a professional singer or musician, have learned to various extents the techniques of overtone singing during my yearly course held at the Totemtanz school in Rome.
The course deals primarily with the 3 main techniques of overtone singing, “one cavity” and “two cavity,” which allow the vocalist to produce clearly audible overtones on top of a sustained drone, and kargiraa. While it doesn’t take long to learn the basics of vocal overtone production, technical refinement and control of the resulting overtones is and will remain an ongoing process. Personally I tend to regard overtone singing as an essentially endless task which involves several factors, from a constant refinement of hearing to personal growth.
In this context, the aim is achieving the minimum necessary control in order to perform pieces which can be notated in various ways, from verbal instructions to graphic processes to thru-composed structures.
(Roberto Laneri)