Metafonie – 50 anni di musica elettroacustica (2 × DVD-Video) The Vox Cycle: Vox 5

The Vox Cycle, 5: Vox 5

Trevor Wishart

  • Year of composition: 1979-86
  • Duration: 5:42
  • Instrumentation: 4-channel fixed medium
  • Commission: IRCAM

This is the only entirely electroacoustic piece in The Vox Cycle, and presents the image of a single supervoice located at front centre stage, whose utterances metamorphose into natural events—the sounds of crowds, bells, bees and other creatures, and less specific sound events—poetic images of the creation and destruction of the world contained within one all-enveloping vocal utterance (the ‘Voice of Shiva’). This piece was submitted as a project to IRCAM in 1979-80 but, due to a complete overhaul of their hardware environment, could not be fully realized until 1986. The piece was made using computer programs I wrote to manipulate sound-analysis data obtained from Mark Dolson’s Phase Vocoder program. These programs permitted the spectra of vocal sounds to be stretched (making them bell-like) or interpolated with the spectra of natural events. The original four-channel version makes special use of sound spatialisation so that natural events appear to be physically ejected from the mouth at front centre stage, circling and scattering around the space of the auditorium to converge again at front centre stage for the start of a new syllable.

[source: Réseaux des arts médiatiques]

Vox 5 was commissioned by IRCAM and premiered in the Ina-GRM Cycle Acousmatique at the Radio France Studios in May 1987. I would particularly like to thank Thierry Lancino, Etienne Bultingaire and the many other people at IRCAM who helped me in the realisation of this piece. Also the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust and the Arts Council of Great Britain for their financial support during the preparatory stages of the project.


About this recording

Stereophonic version realized from the 4-channel original.

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