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Maelström

Stéphane Roy

  • Year of composition: 2014-16
  • Duration: 12:00
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501910050

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

Maelström is a dissonant work made unstable by a development cadenced through sets of opposites, a fertile ground for expressing something dramatic.

The musical discourse never reaches a complete conclusion, except at the end of the piece. It moves toward peaks of tension that get rerouted, interrupted, or only partially resolved. This kind of dodging is an archetype that finds its way in works in various forms; it is tied to an original persona, a common, primitive pool of imagination that transcends modes of expression. Creativity is a way to drink from that spring, to give it shape in the materiality of the work.

Of matter and form…

Maelström is built over wavering fluxes, roughly textured musical motifs with sharp morphological edges, powerful energy profiles and a mobile spatial presence. These motifs occasionally coalesce into “sound walls” and form energy vortices that border on saturation. These walls rise at the beginning, middle, and end of the work, highlighting major articulations.

Within this larger scale, nocturnal moods unfold. Sounds infiltrate the ear like a whisper, a friction, or an obsession, planting a seed of apprehension. A leitmotif, whose apparitions are often cut short, adds to the expressiveness of the discourse through recalls – or even only evocations – of the prominent sonic motif that introduces the piece.

[English translation: François Couture, x-19]


Maelström was realized in 2014-16 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec), and was premiered on November 3, 2016 as part of the concert Résidence 1 in the Studio multimédia of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.


Premiere

  • November 3, 2016, Résidence 1: Stéphane Roy, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

Train d’enfer

Stéphane Roy

  • Year of composition: 2010-11
  • Duration: 20:54
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501910051

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 88 kHz, 24 bits

Train d’enfer is built in three sections. It begins unassumingly, in an unstable manner, with obsessive halftones interrupted by lively, noisy little sonic beings. Gradually, processes appear, and their teleological character becomes increasingly prominent. These processes, deployed forcefully, are made of metamorphosing materials that fuse, pushed by the pulse. Iterative voices grow thunderous, occasionally letting brief minimal sequences emerge, their out-of-phase lines almost sketching new sonic textures. The pulse morphs slowly into a screaming machine, metal against metal, that hurls forward, despite the obstacles, toward the breaking point that provides the conclusion of the work.

[English translation: François Couture, x-19]


Train d’enfer [a play on words meaning both “Hellish Train” and “Hellish Drive”] was realized in 2010-11 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec), and was premiered on March 30, 2011 as part of the concert Électrochocs 5 in the Studio multimédia of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal. It received its European premiere on October 26, 2011 as part of the concert Neue elektroakustische Musik aus Kanada at the Hochschule für Künste Bremen in Bremen (Germany).


Premiere

  • March 30, 2011, Stéphane Roy, diffusion • 20 Years of empreintes DIGITALes, Électrochocs 2010-11: Électrochocs 5: Stéphane Roy, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)
  • October 26, 2011, European premiere: Stéphane Roy, diffusion • Neue elektroakustische Musik aus Kanada, Konzertsaal — Hochschule für Künste Bremen, Bremen (Germany)

Les aurores pourpres

Stéphane Roy

  • Year of composition: 2017-19
  • Duration: 13:54
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501910055

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

This work conjures up a dreamy vision. Two spaces, two constrasting climates. First, at the edge of dawn, a calm and serene horizon, cold and blue. Suddenly this space becomes enclosed, the cold light growing purplish to the point of becoming incandescent. The place fills with wild, excited creatures whose acoustic traces are contrapuntal to the clash between tectonic materials in motion.

Here again, the acousmatic writing proceeds from an esthetics marked by contrasting morphological signatures whose mutations are unpredictable and bring to mind colours, textures, and shapes. The work starts with long, stable, diaphanous stretches of sounds, akin to laments. These are brutally perturbed by cracklings, granulates, and “acoustic arcs” generated by saturation that rips the sound screen apart.

The materials in Les aurores pourpres come from sound synthesis and treated acoustic source recordings. To achieve this result, I had to go back to old sound banks from the early 1990s I had collected in the course of a year of creation and programming at Stanford University (California, USA).

To form the materials of the work, I used an infrared motion sensor that allowed me to control, through the gestures of one hand, up to five audio parameters simultaneously in additive synthesis and modelling synthesis applications. I used the same controller to treat my materials old and new, notably in the software Cecilia. Using this infrared sensor allowed me to imprint a gestural signature, lively and organic, to the morphology and outlook of the sounds, and to let the expressive qualities of the material come through.

[English translation: François Couture, x-19]


Les aurores pourpres [Purple Dawns] was realized in 2017-19 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec), and was premiered on April 11, 2019 as part of the concert Résidence croisée presented in the Studio multimédia of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.


Premiere

  • April 11, 2019, Résidence croisée: Gilles Gobeil, Stéphane Roy, Studio multimédia — Conservatoire de musique de Montréal, Montréal (Québec)

Les territoires secrets

Stéphane Roy

  • Year of composition: 2008, 19
  • Duration: 15:04
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501910056

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

This work was inspired by travel diaries, notably Nicolas Bouvier’s L’usage du monde, 1963 (published in English in 2007 under the title The Way of the World). Composing it was an opportunity for me to make an inner journey: a kaleidoscope of impressions, striking sound images that, once juxtaposed, facilitated the drawing of unpredictable musical travels. In Les territoires secrets, I staged abstract landscapes inspired by the poetic and spiritual realms of the book. The travelogue is revealed by the reference to space and the organizing of shapes in various sonic planes down to the limits of hearing, which to me expresses the feeling of vertigo generated by new cultural and spiritual horizons.

As for the musical writing herein, I partly set aside the event approach that ruled my latest productions in favour of a weft-like, occasionally minimal approach. For me, this orchestration of sonic strata symbolizes a form of meditation on the human experience.

[English translation: François Couture, x-19]


Les territoires secrets [Secret Territories] was realized in 2008 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec), and was premiered on June 29 2008 by Lucio Garau, spatialization, at the 5th Festival di Interpretazione della Musica Acusmatica in Cagliari (Italy). It was revised in 2019.


Premiere

  • June 29, 2008, Lucio Garau, diffusion • Festival di Interpretazione della Musica Acusmatica: Lucio Garau, Auditorium — Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia — Università degli Studi di Cagliari, Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy)

Voies crépusculaires

Stéphane Roy

  • Year of composition: 2013-14
  • Duration: 15:28
  • Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

Stereo

ISRC CAD501910057

  • 44,1 kHz, 16 bits
  • 96 kHz, 24 bits

Like most of my works, Voies crépusculaires originates from experimentations with sound materials I had selected and captured for their morphological qualities. While exploring their plasticity, I was led to oppositions of textures, and used multiple transpositions, filters, and successive mixes in order to highlight the edgier qualities of the material. Voies crépusculaires consists of pulsed units that unfold through an additive texture to the point of reaching audio fullness that evaporates suddenly over a furtive atmosphere. Sometimes, these processes are cut short – even before reaching their crepuscular horizon – by meandering sequences peppered with antagonistic sonic motifs and allusive returns that tug at the narrative, which eventually gets back on its original course and flares up into extreme agitation. Reiterated, these pulsed units function as a structuring axis, at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels.

This research work inspired by the plasticity of the material arks back to my first pieces, among them Crystal Music (1992-94), with the difference that here I am using a pulse as the main unifying factor, in order to allow the development of multiple musical objects deployed into various planes of the sound field.

[English translation: François Couture, x-19]


Voies crépusculaires [Crepuscular Ways] was realized in 2013-14 at the composer’s studio in Montréal (Québec), and was premiered on November 16, 2014 at the 21st Festival acousmatique international L’Espace du son, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium). It received its North-American premiere on November 3, 2016 as part of the concert Résidence 1 in the Studio multimédia of the Conservatoire de musique de Montréal.


Premiere

  • October 16, 2014, L’Espace du son 2014: Concert portrait Stéphane Roy, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)

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