Max Baillie & Vahakn Matossian: SonnenStories
Light painting which guides a digital audience around the Festival of New spaces
Director: Spencer Young
Director of Photography: Alfred Thirolle
Participants | Max Baillie, Vahakn Matossian
SONNEN are a new experimental electro-acoustic duo with Max Baillie on Viola and percussion and Vahakn Matossian on electronics. Think Colin Stetson eats Stockhausen.
Dancing the line between left-field, experimental music and music rooted in pop-culture, Max and Vahakn create a blend of powerful explorational sound journey and tangible concert experience for the listener with viola, percussion and electronics.
Max’s viola – heard both live and amplified is split and fed into an array of electronic resonators and phase shifters. Vahakn re-sculpts the vibrating strings creating sub-sonics and audible ghosts, creating careful analog synthesis and ‘touchable’ rusty-chain-rubbed and feather-soft sounds they call ‘grain rain’.
British-German violinist and violist Max Baillie is sought after as soloist, chamber musician, and orchestral leader in the UK and abroad. His musical life reflects his interest in the cross-pollination of musical styles, having led Bjork’s string orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall, recorded with guitar maestro John Williams, and dueted with Bobby McFerrin in New York. From folk tunes in the Welsh hills to major festivals across the world, Max leads a chameleonic life-embracing classical, improvisation, and appearances on stages big and small.
Vahakn Matossian also known under his DJ moniker ‘Harky’ live-twists the electro-acoustic world with left-field bleeps and percussion. Son of electronic music pioneer Rolf Gehlhaar (of the Stockhausen generation), he is one half of the GENTLE MYSTICS SOUND SYSTEM DJ duo. His radio show LOST TRACK on musicboxradio.co.uk pulls together other-worldly ‘music from the other side’ and regularly writes and performs with Noemie Ducimetiere in the band NOUM.
SONNEN sọn·nen take their name from the German word ‘to leave in the sun’, also mis-spelling of the German word ‘sons’ as a nod to their musical heritage and as a word which contains the multilingual root word for sound; Son. Sonorous, Resonate, Sonnet, Sonic Consonant, Dissonant, Asonant, Unison, Resound….
Just before the residency at Snape Maltings, Max and I had been planning, formulating and exploring musical ideas for about 18 months. We’d played a handful of small shows and a live radio spot on Resonance FM, we’d played for friends and loved ones in intimate settings, letting our creations be heard but with care, a gentle emergence for a sometimes delicate sound. We’d begun to understand each other in the studio during long improvisation recording sessions.