Some questions for you:
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
I'm very much intrigued by Hahn-Bin and I think you pose an interesting question when it comes to outside appearance and associations that come with it. If I closed my eyes before listening to the music of the video I would never have expected to see a guy with black lips, black eyeliner and a mohawk. At the same time seeing the still of the video, even though I see a violin, I still didn't expect a classical piece. However I find it beautiful and the way he moves and plays is so passionate I quickly forget my initial surprise. I think it also reminds us not to judge a book by its cover. Maybe his aesthetic choices convey a deliberate message and is his way of standing out. To me it reminds me yet again that music is universal, we may appear different on the outside, but we all share a musical passion that translates into a universal language.
I'm particularly impressed with Alaa Wardi's use of various parts of his body for percussion - something which seems to be rarely done these days. We often fail to make use of our entire instruments.
Bjorks voice used to seem too crude to me, but now days, I appreciate the honesty in her expression - I'm starting to learn that brute emotion is ok, and I realize it's crucial for good singing in Blues and Folk, especially.
And Bravo to venues like Le Poisson Rouge for giving artists like Hahn-Bin a place to be heard. Where are some of the other leading venues for experimental music and artistry?
thanks for your observations, Jonathan... yes, the voice has so many possibilities as an instrument. i often like to imagine what kinds of sounds people made before there was language, to communicate or to express their feelings, and appreciate when singers/ voice artists bring that part of the range of expression into their sound. and then there is classical music of all kinds-- opera (western, chinese), indian classical music, korean pansori to name a few-- vocal sounds that call for techniques that have been refined over centuries and centuries. this spectrum from the raw to the classical really informs my own work...
bjork is interesting because her technical work with sound is so precise, and her voice so wild. hahn-bin is wild in spirit/ appearance, and his music so classical (though he also ventures into the avant-garde quite a bit).
and i totally agree that alaa wardi's use of his whole body as an instrument is something we can all learn from! there will be a video on the next set (coming very soon) that will address that...