Petites étincelles (Download) Track listing detail

Javaari

Manuella Blackburn

  • Year of composition: 2012-13
  • Duration: 10:19
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501710103

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits
  • 48 kHz, 32 bits

Javaari is the term given to the bridge of the sitar where the melodic and sympathetic strings run and create the sound. The term also refers to the unique buzzing tone produced by the sitar. This piece explores these fascinating timbres originating from this instrument and pays particular attention to the beautiful pitch bends that arch over and under like vocal melismas. The work is structured into four episodes, each exploring a different intensity of explicit cultural sound use — often the sitar material is in the fore and sometimes it recedes or pokes through intermittently.

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Javaari was realized at the Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC, Sweden) and at Liverpool Hope University (England, UK). This acousmatic work is the first in a series of pieces composed in collaboration with Milapfest based at Liverpool Hope University. The yearlong project aims to examine the translation and transference of cultural sound to electroacoustic music and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Many thanks go to Roopa Panesar (sitar), Kousic Sen (tabla), Raaheel Husain (sitar), Kiruthika Nadarajah (violin), Senthan Nadarajah (mridangam), Kaviraj Singh (santoor), Upneet Singh (tabla), and Rohan Kapadia (tabla).


Premiere

  • April 4, 2013, NYCEMF ’13: Concert 10, Segal Theatre — Graduate Center — City University of New York, New York City (New York, USA)

About this recording

This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February-March 2017 in Montréal.

Ice breaker

Manuella Blackburn

  • Year of composition: 2015
  • Duration: 7:10
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501710104

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits
  • 48 kHz, 32 bits

When ice is placed into a glass of water it cracks and pops due to the phenomenon known as differential expansion. Because the water is warmer than the ice, the outer layer of the ice expands and fractures while the core stays cool. This micro-scale cracking was captured with tiny microphones inserted into tall drinks glasses and provided the concept for this composition. Additional sounds of effervescence, bubbling and pouring liquids were recorded to accompany the smaller ice sounds.

Ice breaker follows on from my earlier works Switched on (2011) and Time will tell (2013) that both explore the use of small sounds within an acousmatic context. New techniques for clustering small ice sounds were explored in this work along with Horacio Vaggione’s concept of micromontage.

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Ice breaker was realized in the summer of 2015 at the composer’s studio in Manchester (England, UK) and premiered on October 23, 2015 during the L’Espace du son festival at Théâtre Marni in Brussels (Belgium). Ice breaker was awarded the 2nd prize at the SIME International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Lille, France, 2016).


Premiere

  • October 23, 2015, L’Espace du son 2015: Manuella Blackburn, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)

Awards


About this recording

This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February-March 2017 in Montréal.

Snap happy

Manuella Blackburn

  • Year of composition: 2016-17
  • Duration: 8:45
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501710105

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits
  • 48 kHz, 32 bits

Snap happy is a collection of three miniatures exploring the sounds of cameras. Older cameras from around the 1940s (Kodak Brownie cameras) provided heavier clicks and clunks from their internal mechanisms. Contemporary cameras provided sounds of flashes, zooms, digital functions and focus lenses. All these sounds tended to be short in duration, enabling me to continue my interest in building compositions from miniature, barely there sound materials. Listening to many cameras demonstrated how distinctive different brands could be. I became acquainted with the Canon AE-1 program, which appeared to ‘cough’ with each photo taken. It was fascinating to listen to modern cameras (including camera functions on phones), which use camera shutter sound effects to indicate the taking of a ‘snap shot.’ Older functions of winding a camera film, opening up a camera back and cartridge chamber, along with winding mechanisms are sounds that feature in this work. This composition is part of a series of pieces looking at ‘domestic’ sound sources, where sound objects are chosen for being a personal possessions, as found around the home.

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Snap happy was realized in 2016-17 at the composer’s studio in Manchester (England, UK) and premiered on March 4, 2017 during the MANTIS Festival March 2017 at the John Thaw Studio Theatre of the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama at The University of Manchester (England, UK). Thanks to Francis Voce at Liverpool Hope University for contributing his time and knowledge of cameras.


Premiere

  • March 4, 2017, MANTIS Spring Festival 2017: Concert 1, John Thaw Studio Theatre — Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama — The University of Manchester, Manchester (England, UK)

Awards


About this recording

This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February-March 2017 in Montréal.

Time will tell

Manuella Blackburn

  • Year of composition: 2013
  • Duration: 8:24
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
  • Commission: EMPAC

Stereo

ISRC CAD501710106

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits
  • 48 kHz, 32 bits

Tiny, micro-scale ticks, tocks, clanks, bumps and rings combine together in new shapes and forms. Miniature sounds from time keeping devices, old and new, were sourced and isolated for their brevity and barely-there quality. Reassembling regular clock rhythms from an abundance of single clock ticks and strikes was a fundamental composition methodology in this work, along with the simulation or illusion of internal clock mechanics churning, rotating and sometimes malfunctioning. The idea of clocks being wound and reset features as a structural device. Clock gongs, bells and chimes also provided pitch content and harmonic moments throughout the work. This composition builds upon the microstructures constructed in Switched on (2011), which deals with small on/off switches, button and dial sounds for powering up electrical devices.

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Time will tell was realized at the Goodman Studio of the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY, USA) and at the Liverpool Hope University (England, UK). The piece was commissioned by EMPAC. Many thanks go to Harry Vannucci from the Waterford Clock Co (Waterford, NY, USA) and Sir George White, keeper of the Clockmakers’ Museum (London, UK) for access to all the clocks in the collection. Time will tell was awarded First Prize in the Musica Nova 2014 International Competition of Electroacoustic Music (Prague, Czech Republic) and was awarded an Honorable Mention in the Sonic Research category of the Sonic Arts Award (Rome, Italy, 2014).


Premiere

  • November 22, 2013, Manuella Blackburn Concert, Goodman Studio — EMPAC — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy (New York, USA)

Awards


About this recording

This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February-March 2017 in Montréal.

New Shruti

Manuella Blackburn

  • Year of composition: 2013
  • Arrangement: Arr. Manuella Blackburn, 2013
  • Duration: 11:58
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501710107

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 48 kHz, 24 bits
  • 48 kHz, 32 bits

In the same way that a shruti box or tampura provides the supporting drone for many Indian Classical music performances, my composition seeks to create a complementary line for the sarod material within the piece. Derived from recordings of sarod, sitar, veena, violin, tanpura, swarmandal and ghungroo ankle bells, New Shruti forms a montage from all these sounds while exploring the possibilities of sound transformations common to electroacoustic music. In places the work goes beyond just a drone function — it aims to instigate, provoke, and energize the sarod material through three main sections (i) glitch and crackle (ii) pitch curves and (iii) minor slow section. Through creating this work I have discovered the beauty of both the timbres of Indian instrumental sounds, and also stylistic features commonly associated with the tradition and performance practice such as gamakas (pitch bends) and tihai rhythmic cadences. Interpreting and reworking these features into my own music language has brought me closer to a musical culture previously unknown and unfamiliar.

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New Shruti, realized in collaboration with Rajeeb Chakraborty, is the second in a series of pieces composed in collaboration with Milapfest based at Liverpool Hope University (England, UK). The yearlong project aims to examine the translation and transference of cultural sound to electroacoustic music and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Many thanks go to Rajeeb Chakraborty, HN Bhaskar, Gaurav Mazumdar, Aditi Sen, Shyla Shan, Rashmi Patel, and the whole Milapfest team.


Premiere

  • May 1, 2015, BEAST FEaST 2015: Concert 2, Elgar Concert Hall — Bramall Music Building — University of Birmingham, Birmingham (England, UK)

About this recording

This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February-March 2017 in Montréal.

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