… a thoughtful and gentle composer… — The Sound Projector, UK
… a fine combination of pure sound and treatments. — Vital, Netherlands
- University of Aberdeen
- Label: empreintes DIGITALes
- IMED 11111 / 2011
- UCC 771028111114
- Total duration: 66:39
- 125 mm × 125 mm × 10 mm
- 50 g
- Label: empreintes DIGITALes
- IMED 11111_NUM / 2011
- UCC 771028111176
- Total duration: 66:39
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In the press
Subtlety is also a keyword to bring into the classroom as we approach Scènes (empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 11111) by Pete Stollery, an electroacoustic composer who studied under the great Jonty Harrison and is now a Professor at the University of Aberdeen, where he is a strong advocate for new music in Scotland via the agency of InvisiblEARts. Since Radiophonic Music is never out of fashion, readers may initially be drawn to the six minute track Serendipities and Synchronicities, which was composed for a stage play about Delia Derbyshire. In it, Stollery attempts to express his personal affinities with Delia’s work, by refracting it through his own very similar compositional methods. There are also two pieces excerpted from his ongoing Gordon Soundscape project, which is a plan to compile an aural map of Aberdeenshire, through collaging field recordings and processing of same; his chief aim as gazetteer in this instance is to identify and record endangered sounds, such as certain activities found within the dying distillery industry. He also aims to map Paris in like manner, on scènes, rendez-vous which has its origins in his childhood memory of a 1967 Claude Lelouch documentary, and uses information from the film as rules to govern his sound-gathering and compositional actions. Fields of Silence is also based on field recordings, themed around the intriguing idea that a field of grain falls silent “after it has been harvested”. This very much reminds me of a Ray Bradbury story 3. Or that Roald Dahl story where an inventor is able to hear the cries of plants being cut by secaturs 4. Stollery somehow manages to discover sound events and textures within the mown stubble itself, as well as collaging in “before and after” sound events from combine harvesters. In all ind value="Pete Stollery">Stollery seems to be a thoughtful and gentle composer, one who wouldn’t want to impose anything on the landscape, but rather cares to ask interesting questions about our relationship to our sonic environment. In some cases I find his explanatory notes more interesting than the sounds he produces. This is particularly so with Back to Square One, where he writes with something approaching passion about the excitement he feels when listening to the “musicality” of sports commentators on the radio and telly, yet very little of that passion or excitement has found its way into the muffled, pedestrian music.
Als Direktor des elektroakustischen Studios der Universität Aberdeen mit einem besonderen Interesse an Klangkonservation und akustischem Gedächtnis, sind Fieldrecordings insbesondere des Umlands (Gordon District) immer wieder Quelle von Stollerys Arbeit; drei der sechs Stücke dieser CD, alle aus dem letzten Jahrzehnt, verarbeiten Klänge aus Landwirtschaft und Whiskydestillation und thematisieren deren Wandel auch via O-Tönen aus Interviews. Dazu kommen drei ganz andere Stücke: eine Hommage an die Klangpionierin Delia Derbyshire, eine an Claude Lelouchs Kurzfilmklassiker “Rendezvous” und ein Stück, das die Musikalität der Struktur von Sportübertragungen zum Ausgang nimmt. Ein bunter Strauß, der die ganze Bandbreite akusmatischer Produktion von fast purer Klangdokumentation bis zu abstrakter Elektronik auffächert und dabei auch immer wieder auf das surreale Element der Verfremdungseffekte abhebt. Stollery stellt dabei ein durchweg klares Konzept über subjektive Expression; die oft unspektakuläre Oberfläche verlangt Aufmerksamkeit und belohnt Vorstellungskraft.
Two releases from two composers I never heard of on the Empreintes Digitales label, home of the world of acousmatic composers.
Her [Elainie Lillios’s] biography reads like a list of official institutions and festivals, which is no doubt to impress the reader, but none of these mean much to me. The music however on this CD is quite interesting. Unlike others on this label not all here is about putting sounds through computer processing, which in this circle of composers often leads to similar results, but the power here lies in the use of field recordings (cars, voices, water) to come to the listener untreated but put together in a radiophonic manner. Sometimes the use of electronics is a bit too much of a cliche, me thinks, but the poetic Arturo and the filmic car sounds of three piece suite of Backroads are quite nice.
From the UK is Pete Stollery, BMus(Hons), MA, PGCE and PhD, a professor of electroacoustic music and composition. His music seems to be build from field recordings which sometimes shimmer through all the electronic processing that is going on. Like with the release by Lillios, things for me are most interesting when it moves away from all the well-known practice of acousmatic sound processing and focussing on primarily field recordings, such as in Field of Silence. In Resound he uses interviews with people and here its is where the music becomes great. It has a fine radiophonic character, with mumbling voices, street sounds and what seems an absence of electronic processing. It’s only with the third piece, Still Voices, that we hear more and more of these field recordings, as the first two sink away in sound processing. A combination of electronics and pure field recordings done well is the closing piece, scènes, rendez-vous, which has a fine soundtrack like capacity.
I wasn’t too happy a few years with the direction this label heading, but these two pick up matters where I like to see them best: a fine combination of pure sound and treatments.
I have known electroacoustician Pete Stollery for a long time — almost since I started hosting Délire actuel. Fifteen years ago, he was one of the very first composers to send me material for my show. The works that ended up on his first empreintes DIGITALes releases, I had first heard and broadcasted them from DAT tapes he had mailed me. What a pleasure, then, to listen to this new album (a CD, not a DVD-A). Six works made between 2004 and 2007. Stollery has become a master in the art of lively acousmatic music. He has gained the aesthetic perfection of a Jonty Harrison, the elegance of a Francis Dhomont, and the soul… of Pete Stollery. The short Serendipities and Sychronicities represents the best of what can be found in this genre, including in terms of narrative/inspiration (it derives from Delia Derbyshire’s life and work). And Scènes, rendez-vous is a rereading/reimagining of Claude Lelouch’s famous short film C’était un rendez-vous. Strongly recommended.
The Atrium is a fantastic venue for certain kinds of music and electroacoustic performance definitely gains something extra special from the sheer vastness of its acoustic. Surprisingly, this entailed little or no loss of clarity or precision in the diffusion of the sounds.
Tuesday night’s performance for University Music in association with Sound was more than just a concert however. It was the occasion of a launch of a new CD of music by Pete Stollery and a surround sound DVD-Audio by Adrian Moore. These two releases are published by the Montréal-based label empreintes DIGITALes.
Electroacoustic music is a relatively new artistic endeavour and in listening to the works of new composers in the genre I am constantly amazed by the sheer variety of technical, musical, artistic and imaginative approaches to the genre. In certain respects the three pieces we heard by Adrian Moore and the two pieces by Pete Stollery approach the medium from radically different directions.
Adrian Moore’s compositions started with piano, violin or horns as sources and then moulded and transformed them into a whole mind-expanding new world of sound. His three pieces taken together were on a symphonic scale and the sounds of piano, violin and horns blossomed into a magnificent musical sound garden. Above all, his pieces were richly musical in their inspiration.
Pete Stollery two pieces come at the enterprise from a quite different direction. In his first piece Still Voices especially, he is acting partly as a preserver and curator of sounds in North East Scotland particularly those that are about to disappear because for instance their source is to be destroyed. In his second piece, scènes, rendez-vous which has become a kind of classic of its type, his sources are recorded direct from points in the streets of Paris along which the cinéaste Claude Lelouch drove his sports car during the making of his film short C’était un rendez-vous (definitely worth a look on YouTube if you have not seen it).
Thus if Adrian Moore takes a musical source and expands it out into a world of sound, Stollery starts with sounds throughout the world and moulds them into music. In both his pieces there are moments of recorded sound which are specific to a certain place or event but his work is not merely a series of these at random, the artistry comes first from the way in which these are arranged in order and then when these basic sound sequences are magically transmuted into musical creations that live in the realm of pure imagination.
I particularly love the sequence where the sounds of a French ambulance siren becomes like a huge organ cord or traffic passing over a grille on the road becomes almost like pizzicato strings.
I have heard scènes, rendez-vous in several venues, the Mitchell Hall, the Belmont Cinema, the Left Bank in Tarland and now in the Atrium. It has always been subtly different. This is partly because of the radically different venues, but also because Pete diffuses the sounds differently each time which gives electroacoustic performance the same immediacy and individuality as any live performance.