La vie mécanique

Åke Parmerud

La vie mécanique

  • Åke Parmerud
  • Year of composition: 2004
  • Duration: 12:52
  • Instrumentation: 5.1-channel fixed medium
  • Publisher(s): Ymx média
  • Commission: IMEB
  • ISWC: T2050131160

La vie mécanique is an acousmatic composition dedicated to the world of sounds emanating from mechanical machines and tools. Living in a modern Western society today means that you are more or less constantly exposed to sounds that are the result of human inventions. It seems that for every little thing meant to make our lives more comfortable there is yet another noise added to the acoustic environment in which we live. In a sense, composing this work was a way of exorcising the madness of the sound pollution surrounding us everyday.

La vie mécanique is also a sonic comment on the idea of living matter as an “organic machine.” The body (so far unsuccessfully) viewed as a structure that may be deconstructed into increasingly smaller units and finally explained as a very sophisticated robot. The piece is built, using only sounds from various kinds of machinery (mechanical, electrical, etc.), as a kind of storyline describing the birth, death and rebirth of a mechanical life structure. The piece also, in a sense, alludes to the birth and death of aesthetic values connected to the use of machines as tools for making music.

Starting off in a style of electroacoustics, building through the increasing use of repetition and rhythm, ending in a style reminiscent of electronica or techno, this piece marks a kind of “rite of passage,” at least for me personally as a composer raised in the modernistic tradition.


La vie mécanique [The Mechanical Life] was realized in 2004 at the Charybde studio of the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB, France) and premiered on June 10, 2005 during the Synthèse festival (Bourges, France). The piece was commissioned by the IMEB. La vie mécanique was awarded one of the Special Prizes at the Giga-Hertz-Preis 2008 (Karlsruhe, Germany).



  • June 10, 2005, Synthèse 2005: Concert, Bourges (Cher, France)