The daydreamy world of sound behind the window of Moniek Darge
Born in Bruges, Belgium, in 1952, Moniek Darge has worked as a composer, violinist, performer, and installation artist. She studied music theory and the violin at the Music Conservatory of Bruges, painting at the Ghent Royal Academy of Fine Arts, and art history, philosophy and anthropology at the University of Ghent. Since 1970 she has performed around the world and has been an active stage artist with the Logos Ensemble at first, then with the Logos Duo, and more recently with the M&M robot ensemble - the largest fully automated acoustic orchestra in the world, which can play written compositions and can interact with performers using gesture recognition technology to create new music in real time. Darge co-founded the Logos Foundation together with Godfried-Willem Raes in 1970s. Throughout the years, she was also an assistant professor at the "Hogeschool Gent" for a long time, where she taught courses in 20th Century Art History, Audio Art and Non-Western Art Studies, and an introductionary course in Ethnomusicology. She retired in 2012.
Moniek Darge has built many soundsculptures, installations, and musical instruments. For many years she has been constructing alternative music boxes, which she also uses in her performances. Her specialties are soundscapes, interactional improvisation on the violin, and live-art performances, which can occasionally be somewhat eccentric. For example, she has been known to sometimes perform nude. During the years Darge has published numerous recordings based on her musical experiences in Kenya, Rwanda, Japan, China, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. During the last 5 years Kye records has reissued some of her most luminous recordings as well as released some of her new field-recording experiments, including a kaleidoscopic collaborative effort with Graham Lambkin called “Indian Soundies”. Her first solo record, “Sounds Of Sacred Places” (1987), could serve as a good starting point for those wanting to know more about the works of this extraordinary person.
Moniek Darge has compiled and recorded an animated mix, which includes some of her hard-to-get field-recordings and experiments produced throughout the latter four decades. It is, in fact, not unlike a complete album. Shifting smoothly, it fills the environment with such fluid and bizarre sounds, that the listener imperceptibly loses himself in time and space. Very detailed, organic, and meditative recordings are the main focus here. They serve as a nice reflection of Darge’s perception of sound in all its underexplored microworlds.
Eyvind Earle’s magical realist landscape painting “Reflections” could easily stand in parallel to Darge’s mix - it was created on earth, but certainly represents the entire known celestial universe. Through sound the mix fuses so many different cultures and visual perspectives, that it can easily be considered a cosmopolitan recording, indirectly inviting us all to unite and forget any kind of cultural and ethnic discord.
Darge describes the recording in the following words
All the music in the mix is mine, except for "Klankboek", which is a piece I made together with Eric De Visscher.
I wanted it to begin with lots of what I would call "soft" sounds. I don't mean silent, but rather soft to the touch. Then the bells/gongs become a theme and they come on and off, as do the voices near the end. It wasn't easy for me to make, because I don't like to cut existing pieces, and I realized that it’s the same with my surroundings: I don't like to tear down parts of my environment. I prefer the things the way they are. And then all of the sudden - bingo! - that's why I don't usually change the sounds I'm using. I don't want to make them abstract, or work too much on them with filtering and all kinds of effects. I just enjoy the sounds as they are, or I don't use them in my music.
01. Caete (1997) 00:00-6:11
02. Budapest (2014) 6:11-10:46
03. Turkish Square (1984-85) 10:46-19:59
04. Tamil Nadu (2011) 19:56-33:125
05. Tree Sunbeams (1985) 28:285-34:175
06. Solstice Sun (1985) 33:56-44:25
07. Magnesia (2006) 38:44-40:558
08. Klankboek (=Sound Book) (1988) 44:08-51:47
09. Anemos (2007) 48:43-53:00
10. ManMo (1987-88) 51:47-59:594