Ethan Braun’s expansive work Ambition is spacious in every sense of the word. Spanning a 90 minute duration, electronic drones flicker in the distance while the live instruments, spread across a wide open space, conjure waves of harmonic sound with flurries of thousands of notes. Through the physical and sonic space, large metal sheets resonate sympathetically but are also encouraged into life by a wandering percussionist. Similarly the audience navigate the work, wandering through the sonorous landscape freely.
Ethan Braun on Ambition:
Ambition. Ambience. The first term involves desire. The second term involves atmosphere. Both share a Latin root. “Ambītus” could mean “having encircled,” a “circuit,” “having surrounded.” An ambience encircles us, envelops us, but it’s a thing to which we can barely attend; it’s nebulous, or vaporous.
In the experience of Ambition, a veritable forest of suspended metals stands in place, carrying out reverberations of electronic and acoustic drones – translations of each other. We – auditors, ensemble members, listeners, lovers, and haters – sit outside it, we wander through it, we play with, in, and through it by listening, striking, confronting, engaging the metals, and the people involved. We encircle and surround much as sound encircles and surrounds. What’s at stake here? Questions about supposed binaries like attention/inattention, concert/installation, or purity/impurity, digital/analog?
- 9 Sep 2018, Nikolaikerk, Gaudeamus Festival, Utrecht