Lukas Ligeti

I do have some more music posts to share, but first I would like to talk a little about Lukas Ligeti (left). If you're thinking what I was thinking when I first heard his name, then you are correct: he is the son of the late composer György Ligeti (right).

The reason I am bringing this up is because I actually got to see Lukas perform yesterday, since my school is hosting a sort of festival where we are able to be exposed to new music. Lukas Ligeti plays music of a strange kind... there are some, though I really wouldn't call myself one of them, that might even argue that what he does is not music.

Lukas Ligeti was born in Vienna, and studied from an early age at many different conservatories and schools. He first traveled to Africa in 1994, and from them on he began to study African music in a way no one has before. He started some groups, namely Beta Foly and Burkina Electric, which combined traditional African music with urban/techno/electronic music. When I saw him play, he was playing on a Marimba lumina, an instrument built by the synthesizer engineer Don Buchla. It is really quite a marvel to behold, played or just gazed upon.

From the way Lukas described it, I understand that there are magnetic coils beneath the different panels as well as inside of the color-coded mallets, of which he used four, so that when the mallet and the surface make contact, a pre-programmed sound can be heard. I was quite close to the stage and I could tell that each of the mallets on each of the different panels (or the "keys" of the instrument) produced a different sound, or series of noises. He had a computer up on the stage too, connected to the marimba lumina, but Ligeti noted earlier that in modern electronic performances, he dislikes how the artist is usually simply sitting on the stage with a computer. He would rather be engaged in the performance, active, constantly making decisions, so that the audience can clearly see the amount of effort put into the music.

I made the mistake of sitting right up at the front of the auditorium, and I was really close to the speakers. It. was. so. loud. I had to close my ears the whole time... I kept giggling to myself because this guy in front of me had his head in his hands and looked like he was in pain from the level of the noise. One of my friends told me he saw a girl crying! Anyway, I can't say I really enjoyed it, but I was reminded time and time again of... Coil. There was a guy alll the way in the front, right in front of the amplifier (and he never covered his ears!), who, I swear, looked exactly like Peter Christopherson. He was nodding his head and getting really into the music, so it was interesting to look at him and imagine that he was the spirit of Coil's late instrumentalist looking on at the manifold wonders of Ligeti's artistic expression.

Here is a group performing one of Lukas Ligeti's works, "Pattern Transformation."

Here is Ligeti himself performing "Great Circle's Tune II." This is the first piece he played for us at the performance I attended, but it is slightly different, as most live music is. What do you think of it?

1 comment:

  1. I'm jealous that you got to see him! I really enjoy his work, and I think the Marimba Lumina is a really cool instrument. I really really like his band Burkina Electric as well.