Interview for Weekly "Nedeljnik"
Prior to his multimedia performance “The Inner Light” at the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad on April the 21st, the creator of eclectic band SVAROMFAL and acoustic sculptures on which he plays the concerts talks about ASL* sculptures and how they are used at performances, about collaboration with famous jazz musicians Hamid Drake and William Parker and about the invitation to perform at Milan La Scala.
Music is not just what is written in the notes
Vladimir Labat Rovnjev is a unique and original multimedia artist: sculptor, painter, graphic and heraldic artist, author, composer and a designer, well-known and renowned for his work, locally and globally. Mr. Labat is the first who created unique acoustic sculptures, extraordinary sculptural works of art, uses them to play concerts, creates artistic soundtracks for film, radio and television.
Vladimir Labat is the founder of eclectic band SVAROMFAL, set to perform in the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad on April 21, oriented towards ARS-integral improvisation with elements of jazz and spiritual music.
Hamid Drake and William Parker, well known jazz artists, will be special guests at this multimedia performance.
Enchanted by art and inspired by light, music and sound, you have created these extraordinary acoustic instruments…
I am fascinated by the sounds of the outer world, but also of my inner being. I believe that humans inherently need to grasp, understand and explain every personal tone, chord, harmony and the beauty of music, and everything else that the world is made of.
My artistic expression is a collage of all of my life experiences, my everyday practice, and the knowledge I have acquired in different areas, not only in music and art, but in science and technology.
Acoustic Sculptures Labat (ASL sculptures) have emerged as a joint creation of artistic ideas and craft skills. There are sixteen different crafts responsible for the creation of rare works of art my studio. The works represent a fusion of shape and sound, a wide variety of colors and tonal colors, and as such, they occupy all the senses.
The sounds coming from ASL sculptures form a theatrical visual-acoustic picture which fills space and time, serving its multimedia function.
These instruments are huge sculptures you can enter easily and thus they are totally authentic and genuine. Several drummers can play one set of drums simultaneously. Guitar and bass guitar are completely different in sculptural sense. There’s also the fujare, a special Slovak instrument used to be played by shepherds. All sculptures have been undergoing improvements for 40 years now. Many musicians have tried them, and they have been perfected to that extent that today the instruments play with us in harmony.
When you are facing ASL sculptures, there is always a possibility that something unexpected or unusual can happen, and that is the real challenge. That is also the very moment when you are motivated to react inspirationally and get involved into the creation of musical unison in a meaningful way. Can all of that become a part of musical notation? Maybe it can, but it isn’t possible to repeat that moment of creation. Luckily, now we have the technology that enables us to record and capture in the best possible way every creation that we make, an invention that appeared in one moment and, probably wouldn’t be repeated in that very form again. The final goal is to reach the soundscape that brings us all together in balance - the space, the audience, and us, the musicians. Then everything becomes music. If I drop my drum stick, for instance, that could be a new musical moment that will lead us all towards completely different direction from the one planned beforehand. And that is why you have to be completely open and ready to let go in front of ASL sculptures, because only then the instruments will best let you play them.
The first globally unique ASL sculptures were created in the seventies. With them came creative-spiritual music technique called SVAROMFAL (The Inner Light). In time, more ASL sculptures saw the creation of improvised vocally-instrumental pieces that found their place in many musical scores of worldly known composers and performers. Today we have numerous musical recordings from various concerts, films, radio and TV shows and stage performances.
At this point there are over 50 ASL sculptures, enough to play even 5 concerts not using the same instruments. It isn’t about making a new shape anymore, it’s about the constant eternal need to come to a new sound, a new sensation.
The Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad will be the host of multimedia performance “The Inner Light”. Actually it is an improvised sound and visual performance being created through the synthesis of unique acoustic sculptures, their completely authentic sound and a new way of aliquot playing and singing.
Ars integral improvisation gives the opportunity for 5 or 6 people to play as if they are well rehearsed, but as a matter of fact, they are doing it on the spot, with given inspiration, feeling and transmission of creative energy. It is all about spontaneous playing, no matter how many people or instruments are on the stage, or how big the audience is, it is about whether or not the synchronized creative miracle will happen and take and reshape time and space and everyone involved.
The very manner of creative playing on stage is a complete whole that represents an authentic form of multimedia performance. During the performance on ASL sculptures, spiritual ars-integral improvisation is being created between the new form of the instruments (ASL sculptures), new authentic sound and new way of aliquot playing and singing. Today, all those aesthetic, visual, musical and spiritual elements together, along with adequate scenery, interesting display and short introductory film, awaken and integrate one’s dormant potential that has always been there. Those exceptional musical pieces activate parts of personality that could not be recognized and registered by contemporary octave form of playing.
“The Inner Light” project is unique and inspiring in view of its multimedia content, and I honestly believe that its greatest value is in simultaneous actuation of human mind, body and soul as singular wholes through which we define our human being and cognize the truth of life.
Special guests on this concert will be Hamid Drake and William Parker. Can you please tell us something about that collaboration?
Hamid Drake is one of the world’s best jazz percussionists, and William Parker is one of the best free jazz bass players. I am honored that the two of them have recognized my work and that they will be my guests, and that we will create an unforgettable performance, of which I am sure.
When you have a sound sculpture in front of you, you have a wonderful opportunity to go back into your childhood game play, where everything is pure and unburdened fun. Music is not just about what is written in the notes and musicians that still have that urge for the unknown can easily let themselves enjoy the acoustic sculptures. They are like huge toys we are in total harmony with so that we can erase all boundaries of reality and experience ourselves and the world around us in all its truthfulness and authenticity.
Since your creativity knows no boundaries, will you be performing abroad?
In the last 40 years we played in the tunnels of Petrovaradin Fortress, on the hillsides of Fruška Gora Mountain, in Rakovica stone pit, on the Republic Square, at the Confluence of the Sava and the Danube, at The Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad and in Belgrade’s theatre Madlenianum. It is always the right time and place to live your dreams and let the play spring out of your soul.
I am looking forward that soon the audience abroad will have the chance to get see us. We have an invitation to play at Milan La Scala and we already have plans for Moscow, Russia.
I am sure that many doors are about to be opened and that our performance will leave its mark, move things forward and touch people through the frequency of love, beauty and kindness.
Life energy vibrates through the vibrating notes which I selflessly share and multiply through each of my artistic and human expression. The things we are searching for actually search for us, so I am looking forward to all new encounters, the exchange of positive energy and mutual creation of new and brighter reality.
*ASL - Acoustic Sculptures Labat