Prizm is a free improvisational duo project between Gabby Wen (electronics and guqin) and Kip Kipperman (double bass). Premiered in August 2017, the two began this project based on their particular interest in improvisation and the practice of listening as their essential mean of healing and meditation. Through creating musical dialogues from sonic manipulation and attentive listening, they manifest, exchange and transform mental energies, examining and contemplating upon traumatic past, ancient wisdom, intangible beauties, the presence of mind, and self-care, building strength and mutual supportive force from within.
Gabby’s setup includes guqin, an ancient Chinese plucked string instrument that was mainly played by the literati class with its history dating back more than 3000 years ago, in improvisational styles for personal meditation or small gatherings among the sages. With the hope of breaking the elitist, patriarchal and Confucianist connotation of the guqin, Gabby de-romanticizes its sound, reimagining the instrument as a vehicle of a radical grassroots resistance fueled by feminine and queer energy with unorthodox performance and electronic processing. Extensively trained in Deep Listening, performance and composition, Kip uses the double bass as their primary instrument, employing a repertoire of sonic meditation, contemporary extended techniques as well as traditional approach with roots in classical and jazz music.
The two instruments share similar sonic qualities of warm and harmonically rich tones in the lower register, especially in the use of glissando, though coming from entirely different backgrounds - just as the two performers. Gabby and Kip had bonded through playing and sharing incentives on psychiatric struggles, with each sonic encounter they nurture their kinship.