London-based composer, pianist and organist Kit Downes dives into the space between the organised and the disorganised. His work as an organist is as much one of explorer and archaeologist as sparkling improviser and virtuosic interpreter. Studying extended techniques derived from instruments that are sometimes in a state of disrepair, he connects and adapts the improvised tradition of the instrument to explore themes of duration, vibration and mechanics.
At Rewire x Dag in de Branding 2019, Downes presents a new collaboration with Dutch new music group Ensemble Klang. Commissioned by Rewire and Festival Dag in de Branding, the project sees Downes compose a new set of works for the Lutherse-kerk organ in which his subtle textures and ineffable harmonies combine with the sound profile of the church’s architecture. Organ, electric guitars, piano, percussion and saxophones will resonate around the furthest reaches of the Lutherse-kerk.
Pete Harden of Ensemble Klang about the project with Kit Downes:
‘Kit and I met when we performed in Ivo van Hove’s Network at the National Theatre in London last season. The invitation to work with Ensemble Klang on this project came from admiring not only the sensuous and intricate harmonies that you’d expect in his music – given his jazz roots – but also his fantastic ear for colour and unorthodox instrumental use. His recent focus is on organs, particularly mechanical organs, whose systems he manipulates to find exciting new sounds and textures in this oldest of instruments. Here he’s set loose on the historic 1762 Bätz organ of the Lutherse Kerk, combining it with Ensemble Klang’s sextet of horns and rhythm section.’