In Russia, COH signifies sleeping and dreaming. This is the name chosen by Ivan Pavlov, a veteran engineer in acoustics currently established in Sweden, to denote the music he's produced for several years under labels as reputable as they are cosmopolitan-among others his own Wavetrap. This eloquent repertoire and the nomadic nature it represents is an appropriate reflection of his work with audio material-which he shapes and synthesizes with a control that never deviates far from humour. It's no coincidence that Pavlov proudly boasts a notable collaboration with members of the British group Coil.
Whether in his paintings or in his musical compositions, Richard Chartier explores the relationships that exist between existence and nonexistence. His works, at once musical and illustrative, are precise and minimalist; they summon a kind of firm and dedicated attention span. They've often been found exhibited in galleries and museums or presented at numerous events and festivals. This visit from the musician and founder of the Line label, a subdivision of Taylor Deupree's 12K, marks a return to the festival line-up after his initial presence at MUTEK 2000.
Based on the strategic moves of two chess players, Chessmachine places the two composers in a climate of strategic exchange. The image is powerful, but also deeply metaphorical. The project was born after the two met at MUTEK 2000, leading to a mutual desire to exchange ideas while respecting their differences and their distances.
Based on the game of chess, where during the Cold War decades the matches progressed via courier correspondence between adversaries separated by great distances (and perhaps, even, by human arrogance), the two composers have, over the last two years, exchanged musical moves with the goal of convincing the other of each move's certitude. Thus, over the course of each action and reaction of the exchange process, each artist's compositional principles is transformed, producing semantic and aesthetic shifts. Up to this point, only one match has been completed, and it has materialized into a CD to be released the very same night of the performance at MUTEK. But the confrontation between the two opponents is yet to be concluded, and will continue to unfold.
So the Chessmachine performance explores a new dimension: the unraveling of a real-time, face-to-face display between the two players. The visual and theatrical element also plays an imperative role: the two composers square off amidst a backdrop of biomedical animation created by Russian-American artists Evelyna Domnitch and Dmitry Gelfand, reflecting the reactions of a nervous system with each move's execution.