- Year of composition: 1983
- Duration: 11:12
- Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
- 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
•• Abstraction: Perhaps it is here that we come closest to what is ‘musical’ in the sense of an abstract writing (fourth step of knowledge), a voluntaristic writing, pre-existing to sound. Also abstract is the écoute réduite [Schaefferian term, in French, for ‘sound object perception’] of the allures [Schaefferian term, in French, for ‘sound behaviour’] or vibrato, their amplitudes, their speeds.
•• Energies / vibrations: Percussions / decreasing free resonances (allures).
Percussions / resonances kept constant (itérations [Schaefferian term, in French, for ‘constant retriggering’]).
Percussions / penetration of resonance (vibrations). Smooth rubbing.
Free bounces. Controlled bounces. Swaying. Rolling.
•• Form: Starting out in silence, contemplation of a still line on an asserted tonic axis — pipe 3: Chang —, the form moves towards the diversified and the complex. The first part of Métal deals with the sustain of resonances; the second deals with their spectral content, before gradually returning to the original line and ending with the same material already encountered in Eau (but transposed a fifth above the pipe 4: Yu).
•• Anecdote: As with fire, metal inverts the perceived object depending on whether sight or listening filters the stimuli. A solid matter, it becomes, after impact, pure vibration.
•• Spatialization: ‘Ambiophonic’ spatialization: let the public settle in an atmosphere of meditation, of inner contemplation, by an almost still diffusion on a set of 12 or 16 loudspeakers placed in a circle. Tésseral blocks of gold and enamels radiate a light that bathes the darkness of Byzantine domes; similarly, the loudspeakers here are “radiators” — term taken from French composer François Bayle — of vibrations coming from all over and from nowhere.
Métal [Metal] was realized at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio (Ohain, Belgium) and premiered at the Café-théâtre Stalker in Brussels (Belgium) on December 18, 1983. Énergie / Matière, made of the works Feu and Métal, was awarded the 1985 SABAM Special Prize of the Year of Music. Many thanks to Violette Beaujeant, instigator and performer of the zheng version of Métal, and to André Van Belle who so generously allowed me to explore his vast collection of extra-European percussions.
- December 18, 1983, Concert, Café-théâtre Stalker, Brussels (Belgium)