Ensemble Pleebland is a modular ensemble and collective, meaning that there is a roster of involved people, who are members of the collective and may change from performance to performance. The purpose of the ensemble is:
- To develop non-idiomatic, group improvisation practices;
- To explore structured, seeded, and composed improvisation and composition practices of its members;
- To explore interactions between electronic technology and acoustic instruments;
- To undertake practice-led, or practice-based research in composition and improvisation adhering to the above and below, and;
- To undertake research-led practice in the performance of composition and improvisation adhering to the above and below.
The name “Pleebland” comes from Margaret Atwood’s MadAddam trilogy of books, as Cooke (2006) summarises:
Atwood manifests this divide between rich and poor, haves and have-nots, in the splitting of urban environments into the Pleeblands — places of filth, disease, poverty, bioterror and chaos; and the Compounds — walled, secure, tightly-controlled and policed districts of biotechnological and capitalist production.
Which suggests a degree of political engagement in the ideology of the ensemble. Indeed, the notion of improvisation in this context is informed by a notion of freedom.
As Barrett (2002) says:
I prefer to think of contemporary art music not as another convenient category but, from a more idealistic standpoint, as describing those musics which refuse to be categorised, in other words as a phenomenon which is collectively not smaller but actually larger than the profit-friendly musics which seem to surround it, because of the breadth of its imaginative horizons, and the freedom we have, both as musicians and as listeners, to explore them. This is one of the few real freedoms available to us, after all.
Lebowski’s (Dev)elopment (Res)idency IX
The current recipient of DEV RES IX is composer/producer Vincent Giles and his ensemble Pleebland. There will be three performances which will take place on the following dates:
- March 15th
- May 17th
- July 19th
This residency will develop my composition series threads, which is based on the concept of algorithmic music for humans. I will create three new works in the series, one for each of the three performances, and refine the syntax and documentation that supports the series.