- Year of composition: 1991
- Duration: 6:35
- Instrumentation: fixed medium
This work takes as its point of departure the sounds of human voices from different religious ceremonies. Among them are Tibetan and Mahayana buddhist monks, Japanese shomyo and African native song. These voices were treated to a variety of digital signal processes and combined with other digital and analog sounds. This work was recorded directly to 8-track analog tape without the use of computer sequencing programs. The inspiration for the piece is the strange hypnotic power and evocative beauty of the human voice and mankind’s eternal appeal to “higher forces”. The opening voice is by Alain Presencer from his Saydisc recording, “The Singing Bowls of Tibet” and is used with kind permission.
[source: Réseaux des arts médiatiques]
Ode to the South-facing Form won the Stockholm Electronic Arts Award in 1992.
Jeux imaginaires [Imaginary Games] is a fantasy on time and strategies as found in a famous game of chess (Anatoli Karpov vs Garry Kasparov, 22nd round, 1992 World Chess Championship). Actually, the piece does not try to mimic the game itself apart from the middle section where the rhythm of the drum beats were derived from the pondering times of the first 19 strategic moves opening the round. The game came to be more of a meditative offset for composing the music. Every night after ending my composing session in the studio I played the game (or maybe only a few moves) on my portable chessboard. Apart from it being a nice way to turn my attention away from pure musical problems for a while, I found that playing the game made me more and more aware of the likeness between chess playing and composing. Apart from the obvious similarity of the strategic opening and ending sections (with fantasy being most important in the middle of the game), I like to think of musical components (sound objects, phrases, structures…) as pieces (of chess) with different charges and strengths that may be placed in a variety of relationships, and where the object of composing is that of finding solid constructions of relations throughout the whole musical time. Thus, playing the game as a small ritual every night released new musical ideas and composing energy without necessarily creating detectable parallels between the music and the game itself.
Jeux imaginaires was realized in 1993 at the Charybde studio of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB, France). The piece was commissioned by the (GMEB). Jeux imaginaires was awarded the Prize of the Stockholm Electronics Arts Award (Sweden, 1993).
“… here, on the roof of the world, I feel a shadow of uneasiness… It’s not at all the height, nor the kind of suction exerted by the abrupt depths and its emptiness which troubles me. It’s an altogether different emptiness which affects an altogether different sense… the essence of solitude…”
— Paul Valéry, Le solitaire
Le vertige inconnu [The Mysterious Vertigo] was realized in 1993 at the studios of the Groupe de musique expérimentale de Bourges (GMEB, France). It premiered in June 1993 at the 23rd Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Festival (France). Le vertige inconnu received the 1994 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden) and was selected for the 1994 World Music Days (Stockholm, Sweden) and the 1994 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC ’94) in Danmark. The piece was commissioned by the GMEB, with support from the Canada Council [for the Arts] (CCA). Le vertige inconnu was awarded the prize of international competition Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden, 1994) and an Award of Distinction at the Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 1995).
This work initially grew out of my daily travels to the studio in Birmingham, from my then home some thrity kilometers away. Melt is a poetic depiction of a train journey and draws on Turner’s painting Rain, Steam, and Speed (1844). By its very subject matter, it makes reference to Schaeffer’s early work Étude aux chemins de fer (1948). The quality of Turner’s later work that appeals most to me is the sense that more definable objects have been painted over, how hard lines have been dissolved. There is a sense of implication and suggestion. The work is based on the mediation between extremes: smooth to pulsed motion and raw to processed sonic material. The sonic material for this piece comprises unprocessed recordings of trains, station announcements and station concourses, synthetic materials which are modelled after the motion and characteristics of the raw source materials and finally, synthetic materials of a dream world. Throughout the work, sounds of the real world melt/morph into their dream-world equivalent as a traveller lapses in and out of a daydream.
Melt was realized in 1994 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of the University of Birmingham (UK) and premiered in 1995 at the Synthèse Festival in Bourges (France). The work was awarded a Prix Résidence at the 22nd Bourges International Electroacoustic Music Competition (France, 1994) and the First prize of the Stockholm Electronic Arts Award (Sweden, 1995).
Inner extends out of the sound and sensation of human breath — from a visceral and magnified perspective. The starting point was concentrated listening to some straightforward electroacoustic transformations of breath sound. Because the spectrum of the sound is rich and noisy, as well as capable of being articulated with seemingly infinite variety, it felt almost as though a whole world of new sound identities might be heard ‘within’ a single breath sound itself. So following that idea I tried to draw attention to the way vowel-like colourations and the rhythmic contours of the breath can be developed and related across a range of noise-based gestures and textures. In seeking to anchor the sound transformations against recognizable sound, the gesture of the opening intake of breath became a key figure, hinting at a surface of realism during some of the more abstract extensions of the material. But perhaps one of the most important motivations for me as composer was the innate potential of the electroacoustic medium to exaggerate the apparent physical scale and presence of such a very intimate and personal sound.
Along with Virtual, and Time, Motion and Memory, this work forms an integrated sequence of three electroacoustic works exploring movement between sound sources which are ‘internal’ and ‘external’ to human sensibility.
Inner was realized in 1995 in the Electroacoustic Music Studios of Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) and premiered at Concordia University (Montréal) on February 23, 1996. The work was awarded first prize in the 1996 Stockholm Electronic Arts Award.