Travaux mécaniques (Download) Track listing detail

Antithèse électronique

Nicolas Bernier

  • Year of composition: 2011
  • Duration: 1:00
  • Instrumentation: 3.1-channel fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501210006

  • AAC, 320 kbps
  • MP3, 320 kbps
  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
  • 44,1 kHz, 32 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

As an introduction, here is a piece that represents everything the other works on this album are not: electronic sounds, synthesis, pure sounds, white noise, beats, specific materials, punk-style one-minute tracks. Perhaps it evokes a certain form of labelling refusal, or something like that. The track’s rhythm is actually borrowed from my favorite math / core / grind / punk band… Can you recognize it?

[English translation: François Couture, xi-11]


Antithèse électronique [Electronic Antithesis] was realized between January and May 2011 at the composer’s studio. Thanks to Pierre Alexandre Tremblay, University of Huddersfield, Perte de signal, and Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC). I would also like to thank Jean-François Denis at empreintes DIGITALes.


Premiere

  • February 9, 2012, Nicolas Bernier, diffusion • Électrochoc 2011-12: Électrochoc 5: Nicolas Bernier — Travaux mécaniques, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

Dans le ventre de la machine

Nicolas Bernier

  • Year of composition: 2010-11
  • Duration: 10:40
  • Instrumentation: 5.1-channel fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501210007

  • AAC, 320 kbps
  • MP3, 320 kbps
  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
  • 44,1 kHz, 32 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

Wood, metal, electricity, frequencies, water, flesh, fuel, violence. The Machine is very much alive. Amid its organized chaos lies an unfitness to operate objectively. It can trap us in its inescapable cogs in a momentary lapse of concentration or, worse, a moment of bad luck. It is at that moment that this piece was composed, when I felt like a prisoner of the Machine, unable to stop it, unable to escape from its belly, to focus my energies where I needed. The resulting work shows the undeniable presence of the body; gestures are torn between will, lethargy, and spastic frenzy before the last breath dies.

The basic materials were generated in a live session with a loudspeakers and piezo microphones system that produced feedback, and a machine built by my carpenter friend Alexandre Landry. This machine full of cogs, wheels and levers always brings to mind Mario Savio’s famous Bodies upon the gears speech from 1964, in which he vigorously talked about freedom and resistance: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious — makes you so sick at heart — that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

[English translation: François Couture, ii-12]


Dans le ventre de la machine was realized from June 2010 to April 2011 at the composer’s studio. Thanks to Olivier Girouard, Gilles Gobeil, and Pierre Alexandre Tremblay for their valued ears. Thanks also to University of Huddersfield, and Fonds de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC). Dans le ventre de la machine was awarded the Motus Prize at the 4th Destellos Electroacoustic Composition Competition (Mar del Plata, Argentina, 2011).


Premiere

  • November 7, 2011, Concierto de música electroacústica, Auditorio Noel Werthein — Instituto de Tecnología ORT, Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Awards

Liaisons mécaniques

Nicolas Bernier

  • Year of composition: 2006-07
  • Duration: 10:02
  • Instrumentation: fixed medium
  • Commission: Musiques & Recherches

Stereo

ISRC CAD501210008

  • AAC, 320 kbps
  • MP3, 320 kbps
  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
  • 44,1 kHz, 32 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

Krrrchstchack.

The event is triggered by a profound attachment to physical matter and nostalgia of an era I did not live through: the era of machines, real ones, set in motion by physical mechanisms.

I proceeded to gather peaces of machines and gears. My collection held reminiscent objects: cameras, 8mm projectors, music boxes and antique toys. I discovered naturally rich materials made of different granular textures and an abundance of micro-articulations. The gears are expressive and precise; they engage a defined process.

I sampled the small objects before deconstructing them, splitting them, dividing them up. From these fragments, I constructed new gears. I wanted to maintain, as much as possible, the essence of the physical characteristics of the sounds. The only thing left to do was to activate the musical mechanics.

In this context, the gears are release mechanisms. They engage a change in space, a material transformation, a stop, a change of direction or simply another mechanism. They play a double role: sound material and transition between events, just as the ties and slurs of musical writing.

[xi-11]


Liaisons mécaniques was realized from December 2006 to April 2007 in the studios of the Université de Montréal (Québec) and Musiques & Recherches (Belgique) and premiered on April 27, 2007 at Petit théâtre Mercelis in Brussels (Belgium). The piece was commissioned by Musiques & Recherches. It was realized with support from the Conseil des arts des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Agence Québec-Wallonie-Bruxelles. Thanks to Robert Normandeau and Annette Vande Gorne.The work was awarded the 2nd prize (ex æquo) at CIMESP 2007 (Brazil) and mentions at Concurso Internacional de Composição Electroacústica Música Viva (Portugal, 2007), Digital Art Awards (Fujisawa, Japan, 2007), and 34th Bourges International Electroacoustic Music and Sonic Art Competition (France, 2007).


Premiere

  • April 27, 2007, Concert de créations, Petit théâtre Mercelis, Brussels (Belgium)

Awards

Les chambres de l’atelier

Nicolas Bernier

  • Year of composition: 2008, 10, 11
  • Duration: 10:48
  • Instrumentation: fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501210009

  • AAC, 320 kbps
  • MP3, 320 kbps
  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
  • 44,1 kHz, 32 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

The workshop. A place of sudden agitation, of ideas both clear and unclear that disappear just as quickly as they surge. A place inhabited by reflection, frustration, near-silence, hypnosis and obsession. The piece was composed like seeing through the lens of a camera, flipping from one room to another, from one state to another.

[xi-11]


Les chambres de l’atelier was realized between December 17, 2007 and April 10, 2008 (reworked in July 2010, and in January 2011) at the composer’s studio and in the studios of the Université de Montréal. It premiered on April 14, 2008 during the concert Pulsar *3 presented by Réseaux des arts médiatiques at the Planétarium de Montréal (Québec). Thanks to Louis Bernier, Réseaux, Robert Normandeau, John Young, to Université de Montréal, and to Perte de signal. Les chambres de l’atelier was recorded on the disc usure.paysage [Hrönir, HR 7963] in Febuary 2011.


Premiere

  • April 14, 2008, Nicolas Bernier, diffusion • Pulsar *3: The Book of Spaces, Planétarium de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

Writing Machine

Nicolas Bernier

  • Year of composition: 2005
  • Duration: 15:28
  • Instrumentation: 8-channel fixed medium
  • Commission: ZKM

Stereo

ISRC CAD501210010

  • AAC, 320 kbps
  • MP3, 320 kbps
  • 44,1 kHz, 24 bits
  • 44,1 kHz, 32 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits

Writing Machine is inspired by the American writer William S Burroughs and by some similarities between his writing method and electroacoustic composition. The starting point was his “cut-up” technique, which consists of taking several text sources, cutting some parts of text, and reorganizing them into new structures and getting a new text. So I applied Burroughs’ technique to his own words focusing on the notion of language deconstruction. I have used the words for their material, morphological and musical properties rather than only for their semantic qualities.

The following quotation from Robin Lydenberg’s text Sound Identity Fading Out William Burroughs’ Tape Experiments summarizes my intention:

[…] Burroughs’ tape cut-ups often produce an assaultive pulsation […] leaving the listener unable to construct context, linear sequence, or even syntax from what he hears and thus liberating him or her from these imposed patterns of thought. As he (Burroughs) explains in The Ticket That Exploded, “The content of the tape doesn’t seem to effect the result”; the power resides instead in the rhythm, in patterns of alternation at specific intervals.

Aside from spoken words, Writing Machine is built around the sounds of writing machines. Sounds that have been electrified, metalized, pulsed and distorted in order to create the sound universe evoked by my reading of Burroughs’ books.

[xi-11]


Writing Machine was realized from December 2004 to February 2005 in the studios of the Université de Montréal and of the Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe (ZKM, Germany). The work premiered on February 10, 2005 during the trans_canada festival in the ZKM_Kubus in Karlsruhe (Germany). The piece was commissioned by the ZKM and made possible with the support of Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (CALQ) and the Canadian Embassy in Berlin. Thanks to Ludger Brümmer, Sabine Breitsameter, the entire staff at ZKM, Université de Montréal, and André Garant (recorded voice).


Premiere

  • February 10, 2005, Nicolas Bernier, diffusion • trans_canada: Générations • Generationen • Generations, ZKM_Kubus, Karlsruhe (Germany)

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