Day 1: 11/03/1999
19:30 St Paul’s Hall Polyphony
Day 2: 12/03/1999
13:00 Recital Hall Octophonic Concert 1
16:00 Lecture Theatre Paper Session 1
19:30 St-Paul’s Hall Sonic Arts Network Concert 1
22:00 Recital Hall Octophonic Concert 1 (as 1pm)
Day 3: 13/03/1999
09:30 Lecture Theatre Paper Session 2
13:00 St Paul’s Hall Sonic Arts Network Concert 2
15:00 Lecture Theatre Paper Session 3
19:30 Phipps Recital Hall Octophonic Concert 2
Day 4: 14/03/1999
10:00 St Paul’s Hall Sonic Arts Network Concert 3
14:30 Lecture Theatre Pre-Concert Talk – Yves Daoust
16:00 St Paul’s Hall Sonic Arts Network Concert 4
Geoff Cox – Last Train
Though not initially intended, this piece is a kind of homage to the train; as a means of transport, I have always considered it superior to any other form of motorised travel and also found the whole sound world of the train so evocative and strangely allegorical.
All the sounds used were recorded either on Huddersfield station platform or on a round trip in the area. The opening immediately plunges one into the slightly surreal world of the station – a train is readying leave, then does so; these literal aspects are then subsumed and transformed before a sudden return to the station ambience. As the aftermath of a passing goods train begins to fade a kind ofscene change occurs, forming a coda, and for the first time one is really travelling.
Jo Thomas – Glitch
Can a disturbance in the flux of sound inspire opportunities for, rhetoric and discourse? Over the past year I have been collecting sounds that have made me question the aesthetics of my ‘perfect’ sonic world. I have chosen to work with the traditional ‘off cuts’ of the tape composer. Digital Clicks, hiss and distortion were the basis for source material. The essence of all the material in this work is animalistic and is tactile by nature. lt grows and transformations in a cellular manner adapting to different of landscapes. This piece was realised in the Studios of City University, University of East Anglia, and University of North Wales, Bangor.
Yves Daoust – La Gamme
April 1981. The Studio Charybde (GMEB) has become my refuge l am surrounded by electronic equipment. All these electron-twisters make me feel a little dizzy. I open the window for some fresh air. From the courtyard, faint sounds rrom the adjoining music school come to me. Scales go up and down, slow and meticulous, fast, restless, hesitant, naïve, virtuoso. The sounds mingle, overlap one another, and yet are drawn together by a single desire: order.
A stranger, so to speak, to the electronic tradition, I first tackled this complex apparatus of analog synthesis at the Bourges studio with the naivety of a child practising scales I was fascinated and awestruck by the rich raw sound produced by these machines. I took the oscillators at their word: I made these little producers of “pure” sound sing, groan, scream, and mostly spin in a sort of staggering and frenetic dance of electronic scales and arpeggios. This piece was commissioned by the GMEB
Lisa Reim – Requiem
Lisa Reim wrote her settings of texts from the Latin Requiem Mass for the singer Amanda Crawley, whose voice was used as one of the sound sources for the tape part, but the work can be performed either as a tape piece or, as tonight, as a work in which the live voice adds another textural layer to the music is. The tape part of the first movement ‘Dies lrae’ was heard on its own in last year’s electric spring, Amanda Crawley premiered the version with live voice at Sunderland University in the autumn. Tonight’s performance will be the first to include both the ‘Dies lrae’ and ‘Quid sum miser’ movements.
John Cage – Songbooks
John Cage wrote the ninety ‘solos for voice’ which make up the Song Books in two months in 1970. He had not expected the project- a commission from the Paris Festival d’Automne for Cathy Berberian – to be so large and had to find a way of writing lots of material quickly The result is a sort of compendium of techniques and material from many earlier pieces, so that the Song Books can be seen as a catalogue covering Cage’s career since the late 1940s. Each ‘solo’ is either a ‘song’ or ‘theatre’ and is either ‘relevant’ or ‘irrelevant’ to the overall theme of connecting French composer Satie with the American philosopher Thoreau, two of Cage’s great heroes. Tonight’s performance lasts I0 minutes and includes about thirty of the solos, which have been arranged in time and assigned to their performers by chance operations. As far as we know this is the first UK performance of the Song Books since the early 80s. The performers are as follows (not necessarily in order of appearance!):
Solo 6 – Clare Slate
Solo 7 – Mark Evans
Solo 9 – Max St John
Solo 10 – Sam Eastmond
Solo 15 – Vicky Webber
Solo 19 – Wendy Davies
Solo 24 – Allan McDonald
Solo 26 – Simon Dumpleton
Solo 28 – Matthew Dean
Solo 31 – Esther Wise
Solo 32 – David Mitchell
Solo 38 – Shawn Moore
Solo 39 – Amanda Crawley
Solo 43 – Nicola Cassidy
Solo 46 – James Hey
Solo 49 – Vikki Smith
Solo 54 – Robert Gorlik
Solo 55 – Nick Grage
Solo 56 – Ben Oldham Malcolm
Solo 61 – Jennie Spence
Solo 63 – Andrea Harrison
Solo 69 – Rebecca Patchett
Solo 78 – Christopher Barton
Solo 79 – Petar Curie
Solo 86 – Liz Hopkinso n
Solo 87 – Helen Amos
Solo 91 – Jonathan Wilby
James Liddle – Vivaldi’s Cup
Vivaldi’s Cup is my second electroacoustic work and was composed using an Akai S2000 sampler. It focuses on layering manipulations of the short percussive sounds created by hitting and scraping a cup. Contrasted against this are the softer sounds of a whispering voice. Recurring partial statements ofthe opening moments are set against both original and derived material from the main theme, much akin to a baroque ritornello structure.
Simon Dumpleton – New Work
Mark Bromwich – Zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is a new work which features EDT’s Bodycoder System; a wireless sensor suit designed to be worn by a dancer. The suit gives the performer real-time control of a variety of audio and visual parameters. The audio composition is ‘played’ by the dancer who controls the triggering and manipulation of sound files stored in a digital sampler. The visual elements of the piece consist of quick time movies and still images stored in a Macintosh computer. The images and movies are both triggered and modified in real time by the actions of the dancer.
Monty Adkins – Pagan Circus
This work is based upon two sources: the poem Pagan Circus by Rose Dodd, and the circus paintings of Frantisek Tichy. Tichy (1896-1961) was obsessed with the circus both as a phenomenon and the figures in it. In Tichy’s paintings, ‘The performers of these capricci have deformed faces, mushroom faces, elongated, bruised, nightmare faces, faces that melt into wicked sneers…In the end… it becomes a satanic circus in which clowns flaunting bugbear mugs turn every act into a lugubrious rite, send us to the devil, to eternal fire, in ignem aeternum.’ The idea of the circus being a satanic or ‘dark’ rite is also to be found in Rose Dodd’s poem Pagan Circus. This poem was inspired by a performance given by La Fura del Baus in Frankfurt, 1990. This group combines ‘circus’ and physical-theatre to create a ·circus of cruelty’. By allowing the audience into the performing arena the notion of ‘safety’ is overturned leading to a heightened sense of physical experience. This work was awarded the Prix de Studio at the Bourges International ElectroacousticMusic Competition (1997).
Hans Tutschku – Extrémités Lointaines
Extrémités lointaines uses recordings I made during a four-week concert tour in Asia in the summer of 1997. In Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, I recorded the sounds of big cities , the music of churches and temples , and the songs of children .
These sounds were then processed in the studio, using mainly real-time granular synthesis. This synthesis was controlled with by compositional rules set up in MAX, or gesturally- i.e. by “playing” a faderbox and listening to the results. In this way, all the recordings were cut into tiny pieces and reassembled, establishing many new relationships among the sources. Furthermore, filtering and cross synthesis of the sounds’ spectrums allowed me to achieve continuous changes between different sources.
For many years, I have been integrating vocal and instrumental sounds in my electroacoustic compositions, while maintaining the cultural context and sound environment of these sources. Extrémités lointaines continues and extends this process, presenting the sources within the cultural context of four different countries. The piece is structured in 15 pans, describing different places and atmospheres The intensity of the impressions I experienced during the trip led to a very dense compositional structure.
Ambrose Field – Till
Till is the detritus dumped by glaciers at the end of their travel. Composers working with environmental recordings have a huge repertoire of sounds available for potential exploration Yet, it is perplexing that similar materials crop up in enviommentally inspired electroacoustic music with great regularity. Till commits ‘sign-crime’ of the first order and plays a subtle game with a personal selection of cliche and context. Sounds used for their human implications are given a new twist. Archetypal electroacoustic gestures are excessively overblown, contributing little to structural integrity. Instead water; forests, footsteps; French-Canadian ambiguity; ‘technological’ listeners; Pierre Schaeffer; and at least one popular television series, come under the hammer in this electroacoustic black comedy.
Yves Daoust – Mi bémol
Around a small tonal object (E flat, Mi bémol in French) developed into a drone used as a thread in this piece, I have brought together some of my ‘fetish’ sounds. A stereotypical form emerged, a hyper-condensation of my style, of my articulation and construction processes: confrontation of widely different sound elements, a preference for the anecdotal, the crossfading of textures, oscillation between the musical discourse and the documentary approach. Mixtures of levels, polyphony of sounds and of meanings. A pastiche where I attempt to imitate myself…
Mi bemol was realized in 1990 at the composer’s studio. It premiered on 2 November 1990 at Théâtre Les Loges, during the New Music America/Montreal musiques actuelles Festival. Commissoned by empreintes DIGITALes, recorded on the Electro clips CD (lMED 9004, lMED 9604)
Yves Daoust – Résonances
I composed this piece out of a few bell sounds (recorded at Notre-Dame Basilica in Montreal), treating attacks and resonances separately.
Attack (verticality): outbursts, harshness, violence, dryness
Résonance (horizontality): melodies of allures (Schaefferian term, in French, for ‘sound behaviour’ or vibrato), thick polyphonic webs, plays of spectral colour, lyricism. Although designed as a discrete whole, the work was constructed out of the interweaving of the distinct atmospheres inspired by the multiple, ambiguous resonances which the sound of church bells stirs up in me.
Résonances was composed in 1992 at the studios of the Groupe de musique experimentale de Bourges (GMEB) and premiered in June of the same year at the Bourges International Experimental Music Festival. The work was commissioned by the GMEB
David Lumsdaine – Near and Far
Near and Far was composed with recordings made during several nights at a billabong by the Nicholson River in the Gulf country of Northwest Queensland in late November 1997. It was on the cusp of the wet season; each day dawned bright and clear but by late morning, the sky would be overcast with heavy storm clouds which constantly threatened but only broke locally into heavy rain.
The opening sequence was recorded at 10pm while the atmosphere was still very humid the midground choruses of frogs, fruit bats and insects were at their most intense. The next sequence cuts suddenly to the small hours, when the sky had cleared and the temperature cooled. The sounds now are of individuals: insects, fruit bats, Barking Owls, Brush and Koel Cuckoos, distant Willy Wagtails and Brolga Cranes, as well as many strange noises of the tropical night which I have been unable to identify. The final sequence follows the build up of sound over a wide area as the night moves towards towards the first light of dawn. Notable amongst the close sounds are the calls and songs of Variegated Fairy Wrens, Bar-shouldered Doves, Coucal Pheasants, Blue-winged Kookaburras (a wild cacophony, very different in character from the jovial choruses of their better known relatives, the Laughing Kookaburras), and closes with the chatter of a Dollar Bird and a fragment from the song of the Rufous Whistler.
I’ve always been fascinated by the exploration of distance and perspective in field recording, but in all my published soundscapes, this interest has been disciplined to the necessities of documentation. However, as the title implies, this piece is primarily a study in textures and perspectives and I’ve allowed myself the luxury of judicious mixing of close solos and distant panoramas without allowing them to disrupt the integrity of time and place. In fact, the greater number of dramatic contrasts of perspective (such as the resonant calls of a Koel about halfway through the piece) are present in the source recordings. In this kind of work, composing begins with the way one uses the microphones.
Near and Far was originally composed in stereo. At the suggestion of Michael Clarke, and with his assistance, I’ve made this eight track version specially for these performances. I didn’t want to gild any lilies, so there are no special effects. My aim was to explore the simplest ways by which we could use the information in the original stereo files to fill a three- dimensional space with those evocative sounds -large and tiny, close and distant- of the billabong and surrounding plain at night.
Sonic Arts Network Concert 1
Yves Daoust – Impromptu
This work was inspired by the Fantaisie-lmpromptu in C# minor Opus 66 for piano by Chopin, which I recorded note by note with a sequencer hooked up to a digital piano/synthesizer – a modem equivalent, so to speak, of yesterday’ s player-piano rolls. I extracted a few key motifs from the score and created a series of ‘Chopin’-objects defined by their characteristics attacks, resonances, allures, harmonic timbre…
The work is an attempt to convey the feverishness of Chopin’s writing through the unleashing of floods of MIDI data, pushing this technique to its limits· swirls of motives and arpeggios continuously accelerating to saturation, the crystallization of time into extremely dense units which are in turn modified and sculpted by various processes.
l had given myself the challenge of realizing the piece with very simple means, using commercial instruments designed for popular rather than experimental music. Impromptu was realized in 1994 at the composer’s studio. It premiered in Montreal in June 1994. The piece was commissioned by ACREQ with the help of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nick Fells – Vug
for Bb clarinet and computer
Vug uses real-time signal processing to granulate and expand material played by the clarinet. A densely interwoven texture results from the interplay between live and processed sound, which itself evolves gradually as grains grow and diminish through the piece. The software used was developed for this purpose by the composer.
The title is the name of a female character from the Crystals chapter of Calvino’s Time and the Hunter. Calvino evokes a strong sense of beauty and wonder by describing an alternative process of evolution taking place through crystalline rather than organic forms, and the piece is an attempt to convey something of the surreal and delicately structured world which results.
Mike Challis – Arboretum
If you are going to create an Arboretum then first you must go out and find the species and take cuttings (sound samples). Having gathered your species you bring these home, propagate them and graft them on to other root stock (sound processing). Others you cross-pollinate to obtain different species which are genetic varients of the “parent stock” (convolution). Having obtained a variety of saplings you then plant the sounds in a spatial pattern and let them grow. The finished piece is a walk through the resulting sound garden and an experience of the sounds. The path is not a straight one but loops through the space. Hence and parts of the garden are ‘seen’ more than once but from different angles and ‘ lighting’ conditions.
The original idea for this concept came from hearing that Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) used the aesthetic and structural model of the formal Japanese garden in many of his works. A Japanese garden is meant to be a miniature version of a natural environment. However, Takemitsu used the standard tonal palette of the orchestra with minor variations. I wanted to use the same idea but on the vast array of sounds available using electroacoustic techniques completely away from the know western tonal lattice. All the sounds in the piece are from natural sources and the majority of the processing carried out is with Soundhack. They have an environmental feel but not of any known environment.
Robert Mackay – Voicewind
The piece is based on this text by Sophocles:
The Earth’s strength fades,
And manhood’s glory faces.
And unfaith blossoms like a flower.
But who shall find,
In these open streets of men,
In the secret places of his own hearts love,
One wind blow true forever.
Voicewind was created in the electroacoustic music studios at Bangor in 1998.
Aquiles Pantaleao – Three Inconspicuous Settings
Three Inconspicuous Settings sums up a varied collection of personal references. Unrealized ideas kept for many years, object and observations from my daily life and current compositional interests suddenly met in the formalisation of this piece. This explains the choice of materials and the overall design of the piece’s structure. There is also a distinct environmental inspiration though clear references to nature and the use of environmental sounds are few, invariably disguised within more abstract contexts.
But perhaps more than landscapes or environmental settings, the piece is concerned with mental states or modes of perception. In this sense, the first movement – contemplative and static in its nature – best represents the intention to avoid my usual opinion of development as the creation of a ‘no-goal’ state of things was attempted. In this case no particular sense of flow back and forth while avoiding sudden surges and dramatic impacts or from the observer rather than a meaningful rendering ofnature itself. Hopefully this is reinforced throughout the piece by the recurrence of similar events and morphologies and the ubiquitous presence of pitched materials coming in and out of textures.
The movements were called ‘inconspicuous’ as they may be undistinguished from one another due to their possible likelihood. And also because they form what at first I considered to be a lesser or unimportant piece. But thankfully I changed my mind on that. And before I forget.. the movements are individually named as Outside, Inwards and Outbound.
Natasha Barrett – Red Snow
Red Snow is snow coloured rose to blood red by a growth of algae or diatoms. During seasons when there is little sunlight and temperatures are much lower than the freezing point, the algae are dormant. Red Snow is the second in a series of works entitled ‘ rnicroclimates’. Each work is structurally balanced, not in a symmetrical sense, but through the ‘life’ of one articulation resulting in a subsequent and counterbalancing reaction. Through the process of composition, the beauty and violence of a natural landscape is concentrated into the ‘microclimate’ of the work – forming a new ‘organisational space’ yet reflecting, in acoustic form, the natural world and psychological source inspiration. The original expression behind Red Snow can be found in Microclimate 1: ‘Snow & Instability’, for live instruments and acousmatic sound in this work the ‘balancing’ mechanism operates in the underlying acro- organisation – only apparent over the long-term structure – while the immediacy of the acoustic instruments articulate the surface ‘ecology’. In Red Snow the material has been reworked such that the source inspiration is manifest without the need for instrumental material
Luciano Berio – Laborintus II
for voices, instruments and tape
Text by Edoardo Sanguineti
Laborintus II, composed in 1965, was commissioned by the French Television to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Dante’s birth. It takes its title from the poetic collection Laborintus by Edoardo Sanguineti. The text of Laborintus II develops certain themes from Dante’s Vita nuova, Convivio, and Divina Commedia, combining them – mainly through formal and semantic analogies – with Biblical texts and texts by T. S. Eliot, Pound and Sanguineti himself.
The main formal reference of Laborintus II is the catalogue, in its medieval meaning (like the Etymologies of Isodore of Seville, for instance, also appearing in Laborintus), which combines the Dantesque themes of memory, death and usury – that is, the reduction of all things to market value. Individual words and sentences are sometimes to be regarded as autonomous entities, and sometimes to be perceived as part of the sound structure as a whole.
The principle of the catalogue is not limited to the text: it underlies the musical structure as well. Laborintus II is a catalogue of references, attitudes and elementary instrumental techniques; a rather didactic catalogue, like a school book dealing with Dantesque visions and musical gestures. The instrumental parts are developed mainly as an extension of the vocal actions of singers and speakers, and the short section of electronic music is conceived as an extension of the instrumental actions.
Laborintus II is a theatre work; it can be treated as a story, an allegory, a documentary, a dance. It can be performed in a school, in a theatre, on television, in the open air, or in any other place permitting the gathering of an audience.
Sonic Arts Network Concert 2
Douglas Doherty – Neptune’s Children (on the edge of Chaos)
Neptune’s Children is not a programmatic work, in that there is no specific story shaping the development of the work. It is made up of very dynamic, almost physical sound objects but these are not based on any particular visual or narrative images. Nevertheless there is a very clear sense of unfolding development and resolution, within a kind of submerged world.
The sounds used are nearly all synthesised. Simple sounds are combined and shaped to create complex movement around a 3 dimensional space. As the piece develops these are combined with other series of sounds; often there may be as many as 50 or more generations of material creating what have been described as “lush” dynamic textures building to a climax, which leads into a more stable relaxed resolution. Invisibly underpinning the whole structure is a very simple harmonic progression and hints of a melodic fragment.
Acknowledgements: This work was realised in the Hopkins Studio at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and at Mjumbo Studios. I would like to thank Charlie McGovern for all his help in the early days of the composition and Ron Berry for the acoustically modelled sounds used at various stages in the piece.
John Levack Drever/Alaric Sumner – Hope
Hope is a 60-second long sound work based on a poem written for the composer, John Levack Drever, by Alaric Sumner. The bleached presentation of Alaric’s voice reciting the text, and the accompanying textures, metaphorically reflect an emotional journey that the text may evoke. The recording of the voice and the more abstract sonic material derived from the voice inform each other. It was presented at isea98 (Liverpool).
Diego Garro – Voci dall’aldiqua
The title Voci dall’aldiqua is play-on-word that means approximately ‘voices from the material world’. In the context of the title, the word ‘aldiqua’ is meant to contrast the world ‘aldila’, one of the thousands different ways Italians refer to heaven or, broadly speaking, to life-after-death.
In Voci dall’aldiqua my intention was to use some particular transformations on to a limited set of vocal sounds as a triggering tool to develop a more general musical discourse. Thus my first concern was the creation of a coherent flow of musical information in which sometimes the vocal component is incidentally predominant and sometimes it is merely marginal.
The word voices mentioned in the title, therefore, has to be read in a broad extent. Along the piece, sometimes the ‘voice’ is human voice, clearly recognizable, either speaking or singing. Sometimes it is human voice deeply transformed, almost unrecognizable. Some other times the ‘voice’ is metaphorically speaking, the echo of the material world responding to the human call (or curse?). Therefore, human voices and inhuman sounds chase each other, blend and struggle depicting a separation between natural and supernatural that no longer exists.
The finale features the triumph of human voice singing an angelic chant which, nevertheless, dissolves in a sort of self-decomposition: does the transience deprive human attributes from beauty and spirituality?
Francesco Giomi – Agnaby
Agnaby is an electroacoustic drama freely inspired by the novel L’Etranger by Albert Camus. It is also an attempt to get in touch, from a musical point of view, with Arab culture and language.
The material is derived from (1) environmental sounds of the Arab urban life and culture; (2) fragments from Arab traditional music and texts; (3) excerpts from the French text of the book read by Daniel Arfib. The objects, having pre-existing functions and carrying intrinsic associations and meanings, have been processed with different algorithms in order to create different degrees of transformation and recognizability.
The formal structure of the piece is divided into two parts; the first allows the idea of a story taking place in an open and free space, with its noises and its sonic life; the second moves along the idea of a close and narrow environment, the courthouse of the novel, with its people, its atmospheres and its more introverted and predestined character.
Realized at the Sheffield University Sound Studio
Vassileia Boura – Choros ichthyon
Choros ichthyon (dance of the fish) is an attempt to experiment on composing an electroacoustic piece of music, which contains popular elements, such as, a popular theme, narrow structure, and a specific purpose of been used for entertainment reasons by a wider audience. The piece refers to the popularity of electroacoustic music, assimilating basic popular elements in the electroacoustic music form, without subtracting its originality and authenticity as an Art form. The original concept is that electroacoustic music can be used for every aspect and in any occasion o f human life.
For the composition of the piece natural and manipulated natural sounds were used only. The rhytmic pattem is produced from Fish sounds, as well as, most of the sounds in the piece.
Eduardo R Miranda – Olivine Trees
Olivine Trees is perhaps the first piece of electroacoustic music ever composed using a high-performance parallel computer. The piece is specifically composed using sounds synthesised by Chaosynth on the Connection Machine cm-200 COMPUTR. Chaosynth is a sound synthesis systems developed by Miranda at Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC). The synthesis technique of Chaosynth is inspired by the granular synthesis technique; it functions by generating a large amount of short sonic events, or particles, in order to form larger, complex sound events. It produces a wide range of bubbling sounds in various flow speeds and tone colours; most sounds resemble the morphology of the sounds of flowing water.
Olivine Trees is inspired by Van Gogh’s painting, Olive Trees. The varied and individually identifiable brush strokes of this painting inspired the composition of the sounds of the piece; in direct correlation, colour relates to timbre and length of brush stroke relates to the duration of individual “granular” sounds. Other signal processing techniques, such as convolution, were also used during the mixing process at the University of Edinburgh’s electroacoustic music studio.
lain McCurdy – Dualogue
For this piece l have tried to consider the possible relationships that can exist between natural and unnatural sound and between natural and unnatural gestures. Sounds generated by man-made substances and those of natural substances typically repel, but by exaggerating hidden similarities between the sounds they are reduced to a common ore. By imitating naturally occurring rhythmic gestures, governed by physical laws such as friction, tensile force, gravity and elasticity, with a new underlying sound, ambiguity can again be induced. Both cases force the listener to question assumptions made about the originality of sounds they have heard and ultimately whether such assumptions are beneficial to the understanding of sound at all.
The kind of interactions between sounds which ensue in the piece veer between dialogue and duologue. Sounds may fuse or repel, sounds may trigger subsequent sounds like a sonic Newton’s Cradle and sounds may seamlessly segue into one another drawing out their hidden similarities. In the end, the need for a sense of logical movement has been the overriding concern in the composition of this piece. In this way the piece can hopefully emerge as something more than a mere display of computer music technique.
David Lloyd-Howells – Fractosonic Graffiti – Prologue
In the everyday global urban underground – egocentric iconography consumes the commonplace in a transitory flux – saying as metaphor statement: Do I care what you think of me – such are the items of your baggage, not mine – transmogrifying the junk artefacts in the search for renunciation of the throw-away cultural graveyard of our nature and noise linguafranca cast-offs and waste – life signatures in our ephemeral orbits of existence: our fractosonic graffiti.
Rajmil Fischman – Kol HaTorr
For see, autumn is past,Song of Solomon, Ch2, 11-12
The rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The season of glad songs has come,
The voice of the turtledove is heard
In our land
Kol HaTorr– the voice of Torr (the turtledove)- celebrates the arrival of our son, presenting a subjective image of his budding personality and cheerful disposition.
The sounds in the piece originate from recordings made when he was two and six months old. However, while the generation of the different types of sonic material and their treatment and interaction are purposefully intuitive, the structure of Kol HarTorr is based on a hierarchy resulting from experiments carried out in other works, which are particularly concerned with derivation of musical structure and generation of material from the solutions of differential equations. The aim of these experiments is to present the listener with various levels of articulation through which musical development may hopefully be perceived and apprehended, and also to provide identifiable directional axes throughout this development which may give the work a sense of unity and integrity.
The particular structure of Kol HaTorr is akin to the energy levels determined by the principal and angular-momentum quantum numbers appearing in the solutions of a well known cornerstone of quantum mechanics; Schroedinger’s equation for a potential with radial symmetry. It consists of seven sections. Each section corresponds to an energy level determined by the principal number, which, according to quantum mechanics, sets the length and nature of each of the seven periods in the table of known elements. The duration of each section is proportional to the average atomic number of each period.
Sections are subdivided into subsections corresponding to atomic shells determined by the angular momentum number. The duration of each shell is also proportional to the average atomic number of its constituent elements and its character depends on the type of musical material associated with it. Therefore, every time a particular shell appears in a section, its material is re-encountered and developed further and, as a result of the increase in atomic number average, it lasts longer.
Ricardo Clement – NYSE
The concept: this piece has been written interpreting New York Stock Exchange statistics data as the “score” of the composition. Some important economic and social events of the last 110 years have been selected (in terms of data); the industrial revolution, 1929 Black Friday, the unpredictable financial markets of the nineties, etc.
Technical development: most of the composition was realized in Csound environment and mixed in Protools24, from January to April 1998, using Queen’s University School of Music facilities and under the supervision of Dr Michael Alcorn, Director of the Electroacoustic Department.
The composer’s aim: in a century where individuality has become much more important than the group, it would be advisable to think that every individual action is important but humanity’s work is much more important. The global addition of our daily work will be the history of the future, and we should live with this responsibility.
“In this composition each note is a number, a statistic, and each number is a symbol representing the effort of thousands of people’s work around the world. We are writing day to day the human race’s success and mistakes that our children will have to live with.”
NYSE is included in a package of compositions called Musicoho(phy)2 as a bridge of connections between music, economy and philosophy. These three disciplines have importance in the composer’s life.
Sonic Arts Network Concert 3
David Prior – Dense
In keeping with an aesthetic common to all my work so far, l have maintained and developed my desire to embrace the timbral polarity between the polished and the course, and have attempted to draw attention to the symbiotic relationship that naturally exists between the two. This notion of complementary polarities is also exemplified in the emphasis I have given to the relationship between ‘sound’ and ‘silence’ and musical division of time.
The piece moves from the relative tranquillity of isolated musical cells, placed on a bed of silence, to the central state of aural density where every element struggles to make itself heard above the jungle of sounds. Eventually a state of equilibrium returns – no more or less desirable that the cacophony which preceded it, but providing an aesthetic balance in a soundscape consisting of inter-dependent opposites.
This piece was realized in the electroacoustic music studio at the University of Wales, Bangor between January and May 1995. It won the University of Wales, Bangor prize for composition in 1995, a ‘prix de residence’ at the 1996 Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition and then in 1998, the George Butterworth Award following its performance at the South Bank Centre and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 as part of the State of the National Festival.
Coryn Smethurst – Density
Elements at different speeds and accelerations create an asymmetric network of relations in space, timbre, rhythm and pitch. Duration determines density. All the sounds for this piece were derived from seashells. Very little electronic processing was used.
Sam Fendrich – Etude Brutus
Part of the open-ended Etude-Brutus sequence. A two-tier construction. Tier One: general virtual keyboard improvisation (“everything you wanted to know about Cecil Taylor but were afraid to ask”). Tier two: 3D – cut and paste (“some things you didn’t want to know about William Burroughs but were told anyway”.)
Dennis Wiehahn – Cornish Voices
In the autumn of 1997 I was lucky enough to be living in the Cornish town of Fowey and the window in my studio looked straight on to the sea and the harbour – this piece was made from two recordings: one in Fore Street, Fowey; the other in St Austell’s pedestrian precinct – the recordings were layered and manipulated into five, stereo, five tone drones which were then layered again and organised using an interpretation of the dynamics of wave formations – as one falls into silence another is already building in either the right, left or centre of the stereo field.
This piece is an attempt to portray my emotions about Cornwall – which I once thought centred on landscape but now realise depend on people, weather, coastline, villages, friends, rivers, boats, memories, hedgerows, views, the moors, industry, ships, picnics, houses, seaweed, beaches, rocks … all of which are dependent not just on the ancestral Cornish but all those who live in Cornwall.
Paul Wilson – Air
Robert T Smith – Essential Torque
Tom Wallace – BrixtonQuatrain
This work explores some of the delicate attributes of the Brixton, London soundscape. As in many urban areas the listener is confronted with not only environmental and human- mechanical sounds but also with an array of speaker music. The last twenty years have seen a radical development in the dynamic and spectral make up of popular music. This process was heavily influenced by the studio alchemy of Jamaican dub and concluded with the speaker’s apotheosis in house where the music was perfectly intertwined with the attributes the system. One unfortunate consequence is that ringing in the ears…
Dugal McKinnon – Horizont im Ohr
‘There would appear to be a landscape whenever the mind is transported from one sensible matter to another, but retains the sensorial organisation appropriate to the first, or at least a memory of it. The earth seen from the moon for a terrestrial; the city for a farmer. Estrangement would appear to be a necessary precondition for landscape ‘ (Jean-François Lyotard).
John Ayres – Spare Notes
Spare Notes grew out of a deep dissatisfaction with many people’s listening habits, preferring to listen to well explored cliched territories and not explore music for themselves. So I decided to create a piece from music that many people see as sacred ‘Masterworks’ from the western classical tradition. The extracts are used in such a way that people will initially be able to relate to familiar cliches, but this soundworld is then twisted using humour as a way to destroy the cliches that many old dear.
Graham Hadfield – Europa
Europa is one of a group of four pieces whose titles are the names of the largest moons of Jupiter. The composer has used as an impetus for composition descriptions of the natures of the four satellites Ganymede, Callisto, lo and Europa. The listener is free to construct a synaesthesic image from the music which might have some supposable correspondences with the moons’ descriptions, but the pieces are not intended to be superficial imaginary soundscapes of the moon’s environments. Europa has a very bright, frozen crust. In parts it consists of small hills and in others it consists of longcracks, some of which are curved and others which are straight. It is conjectured that there might be a liquid, warm ice ocean beneath the thin water ice crust, and there might also exist water geysers. Europa was composed in the studios of City University, London in the autumn of 1997.
Sonic Arts Network Concert 4
Antti Saario – Soft lies soft icons
Soft lies soft icons is my second piece that is very much influenced by cybernetic theories and images of the “soft-machine” concept, or more importantly, their abstractions. Under the light of cybernetics, the metaphor of a machine in the age of cybernetics, is replacing the very act ofmaking metaphors, thus creating a situation where it is impossible for a human to realize their free will in their actions. There is a lie, it is evolving in time in order to confine to the rules of truth, which it is trying to imitate. Where do the lies become icons. The icons are simultaneously static and in constant chaos. The lie has no end. There is a machine in my lie. This piece was realized at the BEAST studios at the University of Birmingham during October 1997 to April 1998.
Tom Williams – Interference
Interference is a tape piece composed in the summer of 1998. It originates from a multimedia dance project directed by Guy Hilton, through Manchester’s Digital Summer and North West Arts, which involved the work of nearly 40 choreographers, the computer animation programmme Lifeforms, live dancers and a longer dance version of this music. The entire project went under the title of Interference and was performed in the Green Room, Manchester with a live webcast in September. The piece you hear now is a reworked concert version.
Interference. The music, is generated from a single source – a cello. All the sonic structures that you hear were once simply cello. I say simply but this is really a complete fiction as my starting point was from the extraordinarily complex playing of the virtuoso cellist Francis Marie Uitti and her wonderful 1710 instrument, Sir Carlo Tononi. The composition takes certain contemporary cello techniques and weaves, moulds, shapes them finding new expression and fantasy I would like to think it dances, dances with may shades and twists.
Ben Thigpen – Step, under
To Nikki Halpern, who wrote: this is an instant without time:
Above the grayblack wastes.
Grasps the light-tone: there are
Still songs to sing beyond
Composed at the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (Paris) using MARS work- station and spatialized in 8 channels by my program “Octopode”.
Yves Daoust – Toccata
From Suite Baroque
Suite Baroque was composed for the concert-performance Ni terrible ni simple by harpsichordist Catherine Perrin. Used as transitions between solo harpsichord pieces performed by the musician, each of the movements of Suite Baroque articulates a different dramatic climate which reflects various “moods” of the performer/actress. Each movement of the suite is constructed on a specific aspect of the baroque style, its rhetorical processes, its artifices – signs now almost indecipherable but for a small circle of experts. Toccata was done from the preface of the Premier livre des toccatas (1615) by Girolamo Frescobaldi.
Yves Daoust – L’Entrevue
for accordion and tape
Fourth in the solo performer and tape cycle, L’Entrevue (The lnterview) expands the same theme of solitude. As opposed to the preceding works where the musician is isolated on stage with a fairly aggressive tape surrounding him with sounds from daily life – various machines, “communication” devices, industrial music- in L’Entrevue the performer is facing himself: in an intimate approach, the tape is constructed exclusively from the speaking voice of the performer (Joseph Petric). The instrumental part is a mixture of quotes from the English Suite for Harpsichord by J.S. Bach and of stereotypical melodic and rhythmical phrases taken from the traditional accordion repertoire.
Adopting the form and shape of an interview, the piece explores the timbre and intonation of the speaking voice rather than its content. The recorded voice is punctuated by occasional sounds from the accordion recorded on tape or performed by the musician on stage, acting as a moan, a sigh, a burst of anger, an attempted flight of lyricism or nostalgia, all underlining the dramatic character of the moment, like an anamorphic mirror reflecting the unappeased aspirations of the passionate musician, in search of the absolute, prisoner of an instrument which is closer to a music box than a “majestic organ”… This piece was commissioned by Joseph Petric and realized with the assistance of the Canada Arts Council.
Risto Holopanien – Yariasjonar over eie stille (Silence and Variations)
Yariasjonar over eye stille (Silence en Variations) is based upon two poems by the composer, originally written in Swedish, although here they appear translated by Elin Lotsberg into her own West Norwegian dialect. Her readings of the poems – with widely differing characters, ranging from the childishly playful to darkest depression – provided the sonic and structural material for the entire composition. But this composition does not rely so much on the semantic aspects of the text. On the contrary, it seeks to draw attention to the musicality inherent in speech, for example by presenting ‘blown- up’ versions of some of the phrases that emphasize their melodic contour and emotional content. The material was recorded at the Norwegian Academy ofMusic and the work was realized at NoTAM (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music) in October 1997.
Peter Batchelor – Reel
Using the Uillean (Irish) bagpipe as principal sound source, Reel was composed in the hope of capturing the energy and intensity that characterises this traditional Irish dance form. Central to the innate ‘upbeat’ quality of this dance idiom is the upbeat itself (the anacrusis being fundamental to its iambic rhythmic structure) and the preparatory gesture that opens the piece thus becomes an important feature throughout. Ultimately, a lively disposition prevails, although allusion is also made to other, more melancholy folk genres – in particular to the air and lament – at which times the pipe sonorities are at their closest to their raw form; the sounds tend otherwise to be heavily processed and largely unrecognisable. Nonetheless, the essential quality of the instrument remains, as does the manner of its performance – particularly in the ever-present drone which underlies the intricacies ofthe surface material.
Reel was conceived in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Wales, Bangor during the summer of 1997 and completed at the University of Birmingham. Grateful acknowledgements in particular to Keith Powell who kindly provided the source material and who thereafter graciously allowed me to savage it completely.