False Harmonics #13: Amir ElSaffar & Lorenzo Bianchi-Hoesch's Inner Spaces and Amirtha Kidambi & Matteo Liberatore (Duo)

The thirteenth installment of False Harmonics will feature an evening of sonically rich and explorative duos. Trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar teams up with electronic musician and composer Lorenzo Bianchi-Hoesch to premiere their project Inner Spaces. Amirtha Kidambi and Matteo Liberatore will present their glacial duo of voice and guitar.

About the artists:

Inner Spaces:

Trumpeter, santur player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar joins electronics performer and composer Lorenzo Bianchi-Hoesch in a new project exploring electro-acoustic spaces, maqam, microtonal harmonies, and improvised and composed structures in a modular musical composition that accommodates a variety of musical styles across genres. Together, they create an immersive sound that transcends notions of form, musical language, electronic, and acoustic categories in music. This new work will be a modular composition combining pre-determined structural elements with freely improvised sections, played live by ElSaffar and Bianchi-Hoesch. The work will explore electro-acoustic spaces in a microtonal environment that embraces the sonic spectra of multiple musical languages.

Bianchi-Hoesch and ElSaffar are interested in creating a transcultural collaboration combining jazz, contemporary classical music, maqam, raga, and other musical backgrounds, inclusive of all the richness, complexity, and idiomatic expression, without compromising or oversimplifying in order to be compatible with others. They are in search of boundary-less spaces in music.

Amirtha Kidambi and Matteo Liberatore’s duo of voice and guitar creates improvised aural landscapes that are glacial and highly evocative, unfurling through dynamic gestures that are at once spacious and restrained. Juxtaposed against the frenetic pace characteristic of the New York improv scene, the pair applies the compositional aesthetics of Morton Feldman and Pauline Oliveros to a free environment.

The project is set apart from Kidambi’s work with Lea Bertucci, Mary Halvorson, and Elder Ones, and Liberatore’s past collaborations with musicians including Elliott Sharp, Mark Kelley, and Catherine Sikora. Each piece explores the unique possibility space created by the union of voice and guitar, delving deep into specific permutations including registral extremes, detuning, and quiet mouth sounds.

While Kidambi and Liberatore come from radically different backgrounds, they draw from universal sonic signifiers, such as the ringing of the bell at a Hindu temple threshold or the echo of church bells across the piazza of a small Italian town—invocations to prayer and reflection. The duo’s interactions simmer beneath an anti-climax, begging the listener to observe one’s surroundings, turn inward, and confront the self.

The performance of Inner Spaces is sponsored by the French American Cultural Exchange.