A project by contrabassist, composer and theorist of experimental and improvised music Christopher A. Williams, inspired by Kantian proposals for perpetual peace, applied to collective musical composition and performance.
"On Perpetual (Musical) Peace?" (PMP) is a project by Christopher A. Williams—an experiment in musical cohabitation with large improvising ensembles. It is inspired by Emmanuel Kant's essay "Zum Ewigen Frieden: ein Philosophischer Entwurf" which speculates that nations do better for themselves by sorting out their differences through an international federation instead of through warfare, thus proposing a path to lasting peace. (It later influenced the UN Charter and EU Constitution.)
Williams argues that Kant's idea of hospitality, publicity (transparency), and perpetuality (sustainability) may help players in improvising ensembles to articulate and transform their ways of playing and thinking, thus opening up new ways of interacting with each other. Composing in this way becomes less about giving the players a compositional structure to realize, and more about tweaking inherent constellations that are already present within the ensemble.
This LP features the results of PMP realized in Mexico City in 2019 with the Mexican ensemble Liminar. An extensive PMP concert took place at Bucareli 69, an art and concert space in a late-19th-century villa near the city's historical centre. The recordings for this LP were made afterwards in the studio NAFF.
Edition of 300 pressed on UN-charter-blue vinyl, with printed inner sleeve.
Christopher A. Williams (born 1981 in San Diego) makes, organizes, and theorizes around experimental music and sound. As a composer and contrabassist, his work runs the gamut from chamber music, improvisation, and radio art to collaborations with dancers, sound artists, and visual artists. Performances and collaborations with Derek Bailey
, Compagnie Ouie/Dire, Charles Curtis, La Monte Young's Theatre of Eternal Music, Ferran Fages, Robin Hayward
(as Reidemeister Move
), Barbara Held, Christian Kesten, Christina Kubisch
, Liminar, Maulwerker, Charlie Morrow, David Moss, Andrea Neumann, Mary Oliver and Rozemarie Heggen, Ben Patterson
, Robyn Schulkowsky, Ensemble SuperMusique, Vocal Constructivists, dancers Jadi Carboni and Martin Sonderkamp, filmmaker Zachary Kerschberg, and painters Sebastian Dacey and Tanja Smit.
This work has appeared in various North American and European experimental music circuits, as well as on VPRO Radio 6 (Holland), Deutschlandfunk Kultur, the Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona, Volksbühne Berlin, and the American Documentary Film Festival.
Williams' artistic research takes the form of both conventional academic publications and practice-based multimedia projects. His writings appear in publications such as the Journal for Artistic Research
, Open Space Magazine
, Critical Studies in Improvisation
, Contemporary Music Review
, Journal of Sonic Studies
, and diverse anthologies.
Liminar is a Mexican ensemble that works at the boundaries between composed and improvised music, performance and sound installation, and regularly performs in Mexico City's main chamber music halls as well as in museums, galleries and alternative venues.