Vitalija Glovackyte creates deep-felt chirpy music using acoustic instruments, electronics and lo-fi devices. Her works span from small tape miniatures, live solo sets to large-scale multimedia performances. Her recent work Virtual Love for mini synthesiser and slide projector was described as “A small, touching tale…in which nostalgic music emerges as a careful chaos. The effect is very evocative.” (Seismograf, Spor Festival 2016). Currently she is working on a new 40-minute work for four performers, live electronics and lights to be taken on a UK tour in July 2016, as part of her Sound and Music residency with experimental group Apartment House.
As a composer, Vitalija has worked with such groups and artists as London Symphony Orchestra, Distractfold Ensemble, Video Jam, Antoine Francoise, and Ex-Easter Island Heads. She has performed in AHEAD Festival (Vilnius), 840 Series (London), Bastard Assignments (London), Tubers Festival (Manchester), Impuls Academy (Graz) and Spor Festival (Aarhus). Aside from her solo work, Vitalija co-runs Almost Credible Music, and is part of the Manchester experimental music collective Idle Chatter. With fellow sound artist Michael Cutting, she is also devising a new duo called Kinder Meccano, creating pop-inflected experimental music involving various keyboards, tape machines and various objects.
Vitalija's track Thursday was released as part of FLECK EP, a limited run of handmade CDRs under the Manchester label Ono, with music by Joe Snape and Michael Cutting, and her music has been broadcast on PAKARTOT in Lithuania (hour-long portrait show) Ryto Allegro in Lithuania and The Lake Radio in Denmark.
Vitalija studied music composition in Royal Northern College of Music. She is based in Manchester, UK.
Past / Present projects include:
Sound and Music Embedded residency with ensemble Apartment House
FLECK - UK and European tour with ACM and Joe Snape
IMPULS academy 2015 - Beyond Composition
AHEAD 2014, Vilnius Lithuania
London Symphony Orchestra, Panufnik Scheme 2015
London Contemporary Music Festival 2013
British Museum, Sound Histories with RNCM
New Music North West Festival
Mario goes frippertronics was a collaboration with Michael Cutting, and was the result of experiments with a couple of reel to reel tape recorders, several lengths of tape and an old Casio monophonic keyboard. The piece explores the idea of process as performance, with the act of live recording and analogue delay reminiscent of the 70s tape technique Frippertronics, made popular by Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. The music itself is heavily reliant on the capabilities and limitations of the instruments, conjuring hints of vintage arcade game sounds alongside an analogue reimagining of Japanese glitch music. While the work is carefully structured and preplanned, much of the drama comes from the possibility that at any point the whole piece could collapse, as the nature, age and condition of these old machines means the risk of failure is pretty high.
At Clean and Fresh, Bastard Assignments, London
At electronic music festival AHEAD, Vilnius
Last April I was selected, alongside some very talented folks, to write an orchestral miniature for the London Symphony Orchestra, as part of the Panufnik Scheme. In this work, I got a chance to try out some cheeky instrumental writing, that I wouldn't necessarily have used in the past, especially in an orchestral context. The work is called study – 3 and it solely focuses on extreme multiplication of the most minute squelches or cracks that would normally sit on their own in my work. For this I used many additional objects that will be handed to the orchestra and used as a helping hand towards the amplification of these sounds.
The performance is on the 5th June at St.Lukes, if you're around come and hear. Details.
Last April I started an Embedded Residency with Apartment House, generously supported by the wonderful people at Sound and Music, in which I have been working on a new large scale piece, of which the initial idea was recycling. The piece will be taken on a UK tour in early 2016.
Without wanting to repeat myself from the detailed blog post I wrote about this project in Sound and Music's Sampler Blog, in a nutshell, the concept of the project is RE-, meaning: re-cycling, re-building, re-contextualising, re-creating and so on. I'm planning to have live reconstructing on stage which will be highly important towards determining both the structure and soundworld. I will also be using technology and instruments built from lo-fi devices and discarded objects which I found in recycling centres or collected from other pieces of music, where destroying an instrument is part of the work. As well as these instruments, I will be using self-built instruments that I built in various DIY workshops. Also, I'll be re-melding existing music, kindly given by friends and artists I've grown to admire deeply!
All of this will become music and I can't wait to finish it!
As well as the Sound and Music blog post, there is also an article in Lithaunian, about the residency as well as recent works. Check it out if you speak the language!
MAY 2014 - DECEMBER 2015
This year we at ACM (the experimental group I co-run back in Manchester) were very fortunate to receive funding from Sound and Music, for a UK tour of an exciting and fresh program we put together in collaboration with composer / performer Joe Snape.
With our main idea being to experiment with new musical storytelling, we set off to create a program, which strives to cross lines of genre, medium and practice in search of unexpected connections and new forms. Here it is:
1 - Fleck, Flob, Flop - Joe's large scale work for chamber ensemble, electronics and live-typed text projection, around which the whole program is centred. The sixteen-part piece explodes a mythical dispute between a beautiful bird and an ugly fish into a contemporary sonic drama. Documenting the complicated relationship between an elderly lady, her infirm husband, her onetime lodger and the audience, it poses big questions about love, death, and difference in small, off-kilter ways. Expect xylophonic melodies, half-working synthesisers and a kaleidoscope of weird, multi-coloured counterpoints.
2 - Friday - this is a work of mine, in collaboration with Dave Bainbridge (text) and Michael Perrett (voice) in response to Joe's work which experiments with narrative. This piece is for surround sound and narration, in which the narrative is built by a voice, which belongs to a composer brainstorming through a wave of ideas and trying to get to a starting point of writing a piece.
3 - Tape Talk, Flutter and Warp - Michael Cutting's new work in collaboration with Sarah Hill plays with the notion of storytelling; using devices and machines associated with narrative, such film projectors, slide projectors, reel to reel tape recorders etc, to produce an abstract work that blurs the boundary between sight and sound. The effect is as if one is witnessing a story being told, but to an audience in another room, and one is instead watching the machines in operation.
4 - Superb guests in each city! - accompanied by a fresh commissions from local guest musicians or collectives in each city, every performance was set to become a unique, collaborative event. We had the ultimate pleasure to work with Bastard Assignments, Darren Joyce [Modified Toy Orchestra], Andy Ingamells [Los Caballeros] and Immix Ensemble, who were our grand finales for each night!
MAY - JUNE
As a companion to ACM's tour Fleck, a suite of works by Joe, Michael and me was released as a limited edition on Manchester’s DIY label Ono, hand printed and nurtured by the ever so devoted and, in general, awesome person - Michael Holland.
1. Scandinavian Natural Roman
4. Morning Breaks On Bones In A Bed And A Closet Full Of Clothes
5. Tape Talk, Flutter And Warp
7. Mount Olympus
After a very productive 3 weeks of rehearsing and gigging, we were all very happy to find a really nice review about the FLECK release by Manchester's finest Piccadilly Records:
Sound installation: X-RAY GOES ANALOGUE
A radio frequency engineer once told me, as we stood in a city park, that if we could see the invisible electromagnetic waves surrounding us, the air would look the consistency of pea soup - we'd be lucky to be able to see our toes.
In February 2015, I traveled to Graz to participate in an exciting course called Composition Beyond Music at the IMPLULS Academy 2015, led by Georg Nussbaumer, in which the participants created individual (yet simultaneous) sound installations in the ESC Gallery.
X-RAY GOES ANALOGUE was an installation in which my main goals were a) to sonify the activity of incessant waves of communication from our daily devices like cell phones, lap tops or radios, an activity, that always surrounds us, constantly passes through us and around us, but is never directly seen, heard or felt and b) to have the musical outcome be highly dependant on the activity of the public.
During the project the public was directed from the main gallery space in to the realms of this storage room sized 3m x 2m, at the back of the gallery, where the owners kept their cables, tools, lighting systems, speakers and anything else they could fit there. After 2 days of reorganizing their stuff the room became acessable fr more people. The plan was to get the public in and once they were inside, they would immediately be surrounded by sounds created by and based on this technology. There would then be clear directions for the public to engage with the installation: the public were provided with pickups that read magnetic waves and were given a chance to hear their technology. All this would then be accompanied by extra pre-composed musical materials based on the sounds, that would appear live. I was very pleased that my expectations went beyond what I imagined, it all resulted in a communal piece, in which one (I hope) felt a highly performative involvement and looks at daily tech. in a different way now!
Hailed as 'one of Manchester’s most innovative nights' (Manchester Wire), Video Jam is an ongoing series of unique, experimental events which seek to explore and re-examine the relationship between moving image and live sound. Each programme features a wide variety of contemporary short films of all genres, with a particular emphasis on experimental and independent moving image by emerging and professional artists alike. For each of these films, a different musical act or sound artist is commissioned to compose an original soundtrack of their own interpretation to be performed as a live accompaniment, resulting in what they call a ‘blind collaboration’.
I was very excited to be part of their program at the Manchester Art Gallery with a work responding directly to Ryan Gander’s exhibition ‘Make every show like it’s your last’.
My 'blind collaborator' was Joe Whitmore, to whose experimental animation I prepared a live solo set, of which you can have a listen below.
Studies 1 and 2 are part of an ongoing set of experiments towards my residency with Apartment House. In these short pieces I deal with an array of tools, narratives and devices that are going to be used in creation of the main piece for its UK tour in 2016.
Study - 1 consists of purely electronic sounds and processes, juxtaposed with sounds created by an electric bass.
Study - 2 is a juxtaposition of 3 violins and sounds (or magnetic waves) extracted from all sorts of technology with telephone coil pickups, piezos and recycled electric guitar pickups.
JUNE - DECEMBER
Buy an oven that he can use, use it to cook your dinner for you, a stew. Clean your eyelids from the inside with your own eyes (pour this liquid in and blink very fast). We Will Keep Your Gold Safe For You So You Don’t Have To. Be a Bee-have, not a Bee-have-not. ‘I used to never sue people’. Your statutory rights. Holiday in the depths of an underground lake the waters of which will swallow your torchlight. Very Much Like Sex. There is inside you, deeper than you know, a hole that bleeds endlessly into a sunken lake whose waters are so black as to swallow the brightest torchlight within eight feet.com. And obliterate the microbes.
In our age of capitalism, mass production and consumerism, the omnipresence of unrelenting marketing campaigns and advertising has become inescapable. Whether brutally affronting, or subtley subliminal, the influence of such psychological attacks is significant. EIGHT FEET.COM is a large multimedia work for ensemble, dance live electronics and visuals, which was created and performed in collaboration with the performance artist Denisas Kolomyckis and video artist Sarah Hill and explores the idea of mass commercial brainwashing. The work brings to attention this human flaw, in which the sole character's susceptibility to be influenced determines his own fate.
This is a work for music, dance and film, in which I wanted the interdependence of these elements to be highly important. Thus, throughout the narrative of the work the music is both directly and indirectly affected by certain actions of the dancer, blurring the boundaries between composition and choreography (e.g. the violinist bows the strings with a piece of cardboard or manipulates the sound of the violin with a small wooden box). The dancer is also affected by the actions within the film, which begins as background and gradually becomes visually overpowering by the end. Have a listen to a short excerpt of this project, from which I learnt a great deal (like: if you're using a grand piano, always make sure the venue has a grand piano).
Relief meta-mecanique sonore
This was my first significant experiment with noise music, in which the main goal was to turn the ensemble in to one meta-instrument, something along the lines of Jean Tinguely's work, after who's music sculpture this piece is named.
Distractfold were a great bunch of folks, from whom I learnt a lot and they carried out a superb performance of this work. Below is a shot of the rather fun percussion set up.
A strong feature of the current music scene in Manchester is its openness to collaboration and experimentation. In keeping with this, ACM made the potentially fatal decision of asking 8 composers (present and past students from RNCM) to collaboratively create two new works for them, which was performed as part of the New Music North West Festival in RNCM.
During the summer of 2013 I attended the Dartington Summer Course, where I, alongside a group of fellow composers, wrote a new work for the Composer's Ensemble, under the mentorship of Francesco Antonioni. SMACK is a very small experiment of juxtaposing extreme dynamics and playing with the idea of one's expectations.
Music for no time
A recent discovery of Manchester’s derelict Albert Hall (at least in 2012 it was) became the inspiration behind this piece, a building whose primary function as a high-class event hall seemed long forgotten in the city’s past. Although music for no time evokes a certain amount of nostalgia, I hope, one might feel the focus is on timelessness and the desolate beauty the hall then embodied. The piece was premiered by Carla Fernandez Boix.
This work is based on the nature of a specific type of Lithuanian folk music called Sutartinės. Its strongest features are syncopated rhythms, compressed intervalic relationships and a strong sense of simplicity and meditativeness found in no other type of folk music. (You can listen to examples of this type of music here, here and here.) As well as basing the musical language on this type of song, I also wanted the phonetics to have a significant role in the process of building tension and the overall development of the sonic material. Lithuanian language has a lot of words, which when pronounced evoke the action that is being made e.g. the words used in this piece are ūkanota and švelnus virpesiai.
The translation is:
ūkanota - foggy, vaporous
švelnūs - delicate, tender
virpesiai- rustling, silently vibrant
The pronunciation is:
ūkanota - oo-ka-noh-ta or as in italian ucanota
švelnūs - shvel-noos
virpesiai - ver-pe-say (rolling r ) or as in italian verpesei
These three words come in one after the other in the span of 5 minutes and as they appear, the overal sounds in the choir become much more noisier (sh, s, p, r and so on ), which brings me to the other important element: in order to amplify these sounds I incorporated the use of some extra 'instruments', that would sound like some of the wolves I want to highlight, 'instruments' like:
Aluminium metal foil (approx. 15cm) - for all Sopranos and Tenors
One page of newspaper - for all Altos and Basses
Deck of cards - for one Alto
Two small pieces of cardboard (ideally from a cardboard box) ‒ for one Bass
A paperback book containing approximately 450 pages (a medium size novel) ‒ for two Altos
Rolled-up A4 paper (roll the long side into a cylinder/tube) ‒ for two Sopranos
Below you can find a few examples of this type of music as well as the actual piece itself.
Glitch was written in collaboration with the Manchester based double bass player / improvisor Otto Willberg. The work is for double bass and portable music player, in which we were exploring the sound of radio interference and old analogue systems. All the source material is taken from the double bass, processed to resemble the sounds of an analogue radio flitting through stations, but magnified significantly. We wanted to evoke the impression of the two instruments being simultaneously pushed to their physical limits, with the increasing possibility that one might break down before the piece ends (hopefully this will happen at some point).
The premiere was in the British Museum as part of Sound Histories project in collaboration between RNCM and The British Museum, in which 60 premieres occurred simultaneously around the whole museum in the span of an hour, which resulted in a totally glorious cacophony of music and noise. A very nice review was written about this - Otto's performance made the top notch!
After this project, I was super excited when this piece got a second life, as part of the London Contemporary Music Festival 2013. Although I couldn't make the performance I was very happy to find out from a review, that Otto's performance made the papers again:
from 'Daybooks 1970-1972'
This work is based on a setting of a text taken from a collection of short poems written by one of the most distinguished and internationally renowned living Lithuanian artists, who's also a brilliant writter and father of avant-garde film Jonas Mekas. Having been based in New York throughout most of his professional life, Mekas has been hugely influential in shaping American avant-garde cinema and has also contributed an extensive amount of works to the modern literary scene.
Like his American contemporary, poet Frank O'Hara, who must have been a source of influence, Mekas was a practitioner of a new, improvised, seemingly casual but instinctively structured poetry. The text set in this work typifies this style, written in plain language but suggesting something deeper, a suspension of time. The music aims to capture this extra layer of meaning through affecting the perception of musical time as the narrative unfolds.
In moments of pure isolation, one feels truly insignificant.
Performed by Robbie Gardiner (clarinet) and RNCM Symphony Orchestra