Beeing part of my cycle for piano and tape music, "Série Rose" has been largely inspired by sex, pornography and love conversations... There is no point in expecting here a "pure" music that would be deprived of any expression or message : I have wanted this work to be deeply rooted in a suggestive and narrative process and I had no other intent than its evocative quality.
Roughly speaking, "Série Rose" tries to suggest that the fascination we feel for somebody, our attraction for his (her) body as well as his (her) mind and soul prevails on the crude instincts shown in a porn, second-class movie.
"Série Rose" takes you along a chaotic path interrupted by ambiguously coloured breaks ; we cling to a pulse and then get lost in imaginary conversations which may also have been taken from some referential movies, we are surrounded by voices and breathings, by sensual and pathetic groans.
What finally remains is only an art of time mingling hypothetical narration and musical energy. There is no other colour than this terrible pink, an indestructible and dreadful picture of love.
This work is part of the cycle "Series" for piano and soundtrack which I started in 2005 in close collaboration with Wilhelm Latchoumia. Its uniqueness is here to pay tribute to John Cage’s prepared piano (here in his work "Daughters of the Lonesome Island"). Composing for this instrument implies to find a way to escape from identity of Cage’s music intrinsically linked to the altered timbre of the instrument.
I have therefore chosen to work here with a very electric soundtrack, mainly carried out with a bass guitar. The first part is based on an alternance between two polar tones (E flat and G flat).
This opening, which develops slowly is folloed by a more "open area" with cadenzas in the low register (unprepared zone of the piano). Previously and carefully sampled, this piano is like "injected" into a soundtrack that borders areas rather dark, slow and tight, so much so that the reference to John Cage seems to disappear. Moreover, it is here that a loss seems relevant notion of honor ;
the traces constituting always for me the starting point and not new paths already marked with Cage... The link is finally also that in the music itself, in humanity and contemplation that are in them-all the sounds of this piece.
This project is part of a cycle of works written around the principle of cumulative writing. This principle consists in using electronic resources to pile up the live-played sequences. In the other cumulative pieces I have written (« 60 loops », « 24 loops », « Série Blanche »...) everything that is played by the musicians is gradually frozen in time by a looping system. Therefore, the music that is created is the result of the pileups of successive elements. We are here in an inevitably repetitive sonic context, but unlike the american minimalist school, the pileup phenomenon is sometimes really excessive which leads out to processes of tension and to a strong dramaturgical perception.
« Limite Circulaire » (« Circular Limit »), by its length, explores many sides of these principles of pileup. My initial idea consisted in realizing recordings of specific ways of playing in order to extend the montage possibilities ;
we have been looking for and recording exactly 1050 different sounds exploring, through 3 instruments (Bass flute, G flute, C flute), colors and tones effects (wind-driven sounds, noises of blowing), percussive effects (noises of keys, « slap » sounds, tongue-ram), harmonic effects (multiphonics). At this stage of research, we have determined 27 special fingering recorded by the three flutes and in a wide range of colors, lenghts and intensities. These 27 keys constitute a sort of compositional matrix present throughout the piece and which determine the unity.
Therefore, this is that already very specific material that served has a basis for accumulation processes, allowing me, through digital montage, to create the final score.
During the composition stage, by manipulating these already composed « sonic objetcs », I quickly thought of the painter Escher and most notably of his « Limite Circulaire I, II and III » series realized between 1958 and 1959. The principle here is very simple: one shape is offered in variety of forms on a circular surface with a zoom effect enlarging the central zones and scaling down the border zones. The look, as often in Escher’s work, loves to lose itself between the perception of the detail and the global perception, loves to identify paths, play with these scaling games, resulting in a process that always is simple.
The music I have composed doesn’t try to strictly reproduce the principle of Escher’s paintings but it shares the same type of perception, here transposed from the spatial domain to the temporal domain. Pileups bring us to perceive the relation to time in a non-linear way because, in each section, some elements are being repeated over and over and it is by their stubborn presence that the others are perceived. The piece structures itself in many zones that alternatively exploit the perceptive effects produced by the accumulation: harmonic effects, spatial effects, rythmic effects...
With the exception of the technique of repeat of more or less long elements, there is no other treatment applied to the original sounds. Indeed, it was necessary, into this kind of project, to impose ourselves frameworks, play with the notion of limit even if we sometimes had to be trapped in an inextricable labyrinth which solutions to get out of were never simple. These 1050 sounds have been our work companions, some kind of entities that I would position in time as many possible points of a completely utopian sonic architecture...
Criogenesis is based on an inquiry related to the writing of natural harmonics. Taking the metaphor of "criogénèse", the music unfolds in a small area, confined mainly in scanning harmonic glissandi.
To do so, I opted for a writing system in which I separated the parameters of bow pressure and position of the left hand, also the attack of the bow, to ultimately consider these parameters in a context of polyphony. Normal ponticellos always played very close to the bridge are producing continuous tones with the main mode of writing.
The result of those scans and figures are, in the form of a metaphor, what might happen if we applied (which in itself has value only poetic, or stimulation of the imagination, of course !) the technique of "criogénèse" to the harmonic series of strings of the
cello and then we discovered, after a freezing time ad. libitum, a matter still alive : a kind of "cello’s initial substrate"...
This may be used as a framework for interpretation involving a particular attitude like scientific approach to the instrument.
This composition has been inspired by the thriller universe and more particularly by movies. I have actually tried to build a multi fictional space where characters, heroes of different films would meet and exchange. There may be a story and a possible direction to follow : A man is missing, the people looking after him find out he is the victim of a conspiracy, he has been trapped and will be forever cut off from those who love him. The pianistic writing derives from these narrative issues and requires a highly concentrated material, made up here of three elements :
- a figure of three notes is used to begin with this composition and stress its transitions.
- very fast sets of chords are weaving chromatic lines, very intense trajectories which split up or, on the contrary, tighten in highly concentrated gestures.
- some chords sounding like bells to suggest an inner and suspended world.
Each of these elements is being developped and related to the soundtrack. The latter alternately suggests moments of great tension, of breaks and impossible conversations. A sense of humour and a hint to the notion of « cliché » are quite obvious here. The omnipresent voice-overs and referent noises in the soundtrack could make us believe in a film music.
It is actually the opposite as this composition is rather « a film of musics » : everyone here being able to use freely these sound-devoted spaces to imagine his or her own world.
"Série blanche" belongs to the "series" cycle devoted to piano works. This cycle which started with " Série noire" in 2005 was commissioned by the Orléans International Piano Competition.
In this cycle, each colour provides an opportunity to investigate a particular link of music with image. The latter may be cinematographic or mental ; it is a reference space, the writing starting point.
This project based on a cumulative writing principle develops the feeling of a meaningless,rather mechanical world. It might be considered as a possible transcription of "Un Roi Sans Divertissement ", a novel by Jean Giono that was published at the end of The Second World War. In this book and its film adaptation by François Leterrier, absurdity and violence are the result of man boredom.
There are pictures of white snow-covered landscapes around a grey village with its black figures . Red is added to this colour range only when blood is shed as if it were the only possible way of solving an absurd situation. Music, therefore, is characterized by an apparent nonchalance, by a sort of very simple sweetness, but the layers stack on, every recorded sign (ou mark ?) remaining and weaving the line of a crescendo that ends in excess. As Albert Camus did in "L’Etranger ", Giono wrote this book to say the people’s lack of understanding when concentration camps were discovered.
I have written this music to tell the relentless mechanism which implies the disappearance of our perceptual processes and the gradual erosion to which we are submitted.
TRACES - Pictures
Those pictures can be projected in silence before starting performance
The piece is trying to stage a singular object in the universe of the musician : the metronome. This "unit" of measurement usually accompanies the composer and performer in their stage of development and learning of a work and then it disappears at the time of the concert, giving way to an inaudible pulse and fluctuating.
In this music, on the contrary, the metronome is shown (small engine hitting the surfaces of the drums), imposing the mechanics of both static and fragile.
The music reveals itself as a construction game between man and the little mechanical arm...
This piece has been composed just after « People / Time », a chamber music work commissionned by the Donaueschingen festival in 2003. It shares with it a same interrogation about our society, our behaviors with time and money. It is somehow a way for me to contest our economical system, where this subject becomes a kind of framework of the music.
The pieces starts with a wood cube sequence which symbolises a rudimentary object which contrats with technologies (motion capture, real-time video). Then the music starts with loops and cycles of rythmic patterns in which the presence of radio and movie sounds (mainly dialogs) are producing a second layer of perception for the audience, activating some collective memories. And the music starts to go faster and faster, just like what we do
sometimes in our lives, as we are so frightened to loose time...
The video, from Vincent Meyer, is acting as an obsessionnal presence, creating a visual counterpoint of the theme of the project, a metaphor of drift.
The word "mixtion" is an old word which means mixture: "Heterogeneous elements are mixed and give birth to a new substance."
This composition has been imagined like a dialogue between the instrument and the sounds which surround it. It respectively investigates connections between pre-recorded sounds and sounds reacting in real time to the musician’s playing.
Here the saxophone reveals its numerous possibilities : sometimes in an expressive solo, somewhere else as a part of a jazzy polyphony, transformed sonorities which burst out in a quadriphonic space...
Listening to MIXTION is like discovering a many-sided town. Alchemy works here like the celebration of a possible difference: different elements might be linked together by often repeated touches of colour.
This performance may be compared to that of 2 actors in a play. Here we have two "characters" (the flute and the voice) and also two situations :
- Dialog : both characters are on the stage and after exchanging figures, establish a relationship in terms of seduction then of power struggle. - No Dialog : communication is broken and each character withdraws into itself.
In this piece, the flute may sound swift and garrulous at times, delicate then violent at others. Its musical ranges and speeds keep changing while its tones may be either resonnant or muffled.It is also submitted to electronic transformations which fill up the acoustic space. The second character is provided by a voice which is here virtual and comes to us through the loud speakers.
Now whispered and then sung, now just talked and then amplified, it is changed into dynamic phenomenons and leads to harmonic fields but above all it tries to oppose the flute and reach autonomy. Dialog / No Dialog was composed and first performed at IRCAM - Paris and was sponsored by the "Mécénat Société Générale".
This piece refers to the question of improvisation and pays tribute to personalities in the field of jazz music whose influence is very important for me. Here, a simple phrase of four notes, the opening of "Sun Ship", one of the most dynamic record of John Coltrane, is the basis for material of the part, both in terms of melodic rhythm. By successive construction and deconstruction that cell irrigates the "Chorus" at multiple levels. I could not help but think of the musical material of the "allegro misterioso" of Berg’s Lyric Suite, also from deploying four notes, the analogy with Coltrane saxophone, seemingly utopian existing indeed, beyond the notion of gender.
The relationship to improvisation appears here by a constant internal energy, as if the starting point of any musical act could not avoid a first impulse, a kind bounce required for any live music...
Hoarse blasts, fugitives, short melodies, broken gestures continually renewed, a creaking door, a very low drum, incantations, a distant fire burning, soft sounds feedback, these are the elements of "Shards of heaven." Fragments of a heavenly country, as conceived by the ancient Mexicans Aztecs, is divided into thirteen heavens one above another, thirteen allegorical worlds in the heart of the elements, colors and polymorphous gods.
According to "La Historia de los Mexicanos por pinturas extra" quoted by Jacques Soustelle, each of the heavens was a world apart in which the deeper meaning remains enigmatic. Thus, the first heaven the stars are associated with the second, the tzitzimime (skeletal-looking monsters that broke the world) in the third, the four hundred guardians of heaven (...), the seventh being the country dust (...), the thirteenth dedicated to divine couple : TONACACIUATL & Tonacatecutli. Through a distorting lens, I delivered a set of associations of each of the heavens in a "state musical" bottom-up and short phrases from the fire-flame-gesture, sounds of blasts in Figure wind, multiphonics to divine worlds, long songs down to the birds that descend on earth...
Beyond identifying these representations, the musical concerns, including the formal aspect, led me to the disruption to this chronology preserving the deeply poetic aspect of these different worlds. The allegory becomes musical, abstract, with ambiguity of poetic facing the unspeakable, the electro-dose bringing its disruption by the presence of sound symbols, such as opening the door on ever a new heaven... It is the emblematic figure Quetzalcoatl, the plumed serpent, which is devoted the central part of the work, entitled "Agony of the Serpent of Fire" ; its death is a symbolic transformation of the discourse, more refined, is deployed in space-time increasingly stretched. So the work is moving slowly to the incantatory resonance of the ancestral drum of sacrifice...
C’est dans un battement d’ailes que débute la pièce ; pour concrétiser cette idée, j’ai eu recours à des techniques particulières d’écriture, où l’instrumentiste joue sur la caisse de la contrebasse produisant ainsi des sons de type bruiteux qui se rapprochent de ces frottements de l’air produits par les volatiles. Par la suite, et dans cette logique de transformation de la matière sonore, l’instrument s’ouvre progressivement ; de ces gestes furtifs émanent tout d’abord quelques notes, puis se distinguent des figures rythmiques, des harmonies, donnant à leur tour naissance à un nouveau
matériau comme si la musique se construisait peu à peu d’elle-même.
Par ailleurs, cette idée de transformation s’exprime aussi dans la partie électroacoustique, qui peut s’envisager comme un élargissement du domaine instrumental. Outre quelques timbres de synthèse, la majeure partie des sons de cette pièce proviennent d’enregistrements de contrebasse qui ont été transformés en studio ; l’instrumentiste dialogue ainsi avec lui-même ou plutôt avec son propre miroir parfois fidèle, parfois déformant, tissant un jeu de va-et-vient musical entre la scène et les haut-parleurs.
Since the begenning of XXIst century, some historians have developped new approach and concepts about human conditions based on acceleration principle. Indeed, since around 20 years, networks, communication system, travelling, virtual realty and so one, have generated new behaviours and new definition of human relations. World wide network (internet and cellular phones) is now covering more than 60 percent of the part of the planet where humans are living and soon there shoudn’t be some place where we could not be connected in any manner to the rest of the world. And of course, due to time and space, this implies big changes in our everyday life and perhaps more deeply in our identity’s definition.
During the last past years, I have been quite "busy composer", travelling a lot, dealing with many different people in very different context and sometimes, to find myself in such a constant moving life, it was not so easy ! But I tried, always to keep one eye open and the other one closed, or more precisely blind to direct perception and which was focusing on a constant line, this one very personal of artistical approach. And the more spaces and time were disconnected, the more I could feel safe with this constant line and create some links between unpredictable situations.
So here is starting a kind of diary : videos, pictures, sounds and written notes, catched here and there sometimes on purpose and sometimes just by chance ! I was then shooting a lot of situations without specific accuracy, at least a conscient one… The semantic emptiness and lack of dramatic tension is sometimes obvious in those pictures ; but it represents the world as it is, without judgment, as a flow of energy.
This project is then a kind of trip thru different spaces with a constant line supporting the entire structure : a reflexion upon this acceleration process which I tried here to mix with humor aswell as some philosophical considerations…
This piece is dedicated to Anna Pétrini and Fabrice Jünger who commissioned it and first performed.
During a visit to the Arena of Nimes, I was struck by the series of hallways, corridors, perspectives, the inherent tension in those places, just if the architecture and the light kept track of antique violence.
I had a vision of a long shot at different levels, a succession of movements which were converging in a inevitable way to the center, no other outcome beeing possible.
The visual tension is the source of driving energy of the project, which is always towards the movement of tension and breakage. When it calms down, the music talks about dust, breathe and the inspiration preceding the entrance.
Not directly narrative the form is following a wandering path : a dynamic force and a set of opposit statements are divided or added. This piece is dedicated to the Ensemble Proxima Centauri and especially in Maribé.
As it is often the case in my work, this music refers to the state of the world, the shift of consciousness and the annihilation of critical thinking .
It is indeed about a form of degeneration that progressively limits our intellectual speculations.
The music here is trying to oppose this process by wrapping itself around an ascending structure made by successive crescendo, a gradual tension and a rise to power. But the process is not linear : each part is a
little longer than the previous one and it seems that a kind of inertia invades the speech like a trap preventing anything to happen.
the metaphor, my writing is based on simple gestures, repetitions and exchanges argued in a strong tempo significant of the intensity I try to convey through the musical act.
24 Loops is part of a cumulative music cycle initiated in 2006 with a piece for string quartet and which I developped as part of various projects. The principle of cumulative writing is to use electronic resources for stacking sequences played live.
In the pieces I’ve written on this principle all the music played by the musicians is frozen in time by a system of looping. The music created is the stacks of successive elements.
In this piece, a scenic process is added in order to create a kind of round where each musician turns around the percussions and "fill" the sound space.
After the 24th cell, the music can be improvised upon a continuous and free crescendo.
60 loops was commissioned by the Myriam Naisy’s Company for the project "backwards 2". Each project with this choreographer consists in a new challenge : here the opportunity to approach the music world of Steve Reich and give to musical time a funny and relentless meaning.
From Steve Reich, I borrowed the principle of repetition, but it is compounded by a stacking principle up to 40 quartets that play simultaneously. Each cell performed live is then repeated by a prerecorded soundtrack until a saturation of the sound space.
The musical gesture is absorbed by itself in a dynamic and hypnotic progression where machine and human gesture have some exhilarating and excessive relationships.
This project was commissioned by the Kammer Ensemble Neue Musik Berlin in June 2004 . Produced in collaboration with video artist and composer Pascal Baltazar, this project took place in a singular place : The Oberbaum City, a vast and recently refurbished industrial complex . Guest artists had to take into account the uniqueness of the place... This project was composed of two performances ( In & Out 1 / In & Out 2) that question the boundaries and porosities between what is intensive and extensive ; what is smooth and striated ; between inside and outside ; reality and phantasmagoria.
"In & Out 1" is scored for two string instruments and a sound device and video.
The expected situation is that of a continuous form and a fluid space whose components are alternately real and virtual, as video is enabling the emergence of other presences, ghost musicians that would be outside of the perceptual field.
How many faces we come across without really seeing them, without knowing anything about their memory ? Why are we more and more obsessed with winning and the thrill of speed ?
What unifies us otherwise this face that changes from smooth to striated, the right time of life ?
People / Time tells a story, or rather, some stories : that one about a decaying leaf, those ones about roads, which white bands become a measure of time, those ones about faces which are burning and merging into each other.
Realized in close collaboration with artist Pascal Baltazar, the videographic space extends the instrumental gesture, puts it in perspective, while possessing its own trajectory.
Also, a dialectical relationship is going on : both meaningfull or rhythmical counterpoint, the pictures convey the subject of an ongoing inquiry. Far from a categorical pamphlet, this piece tries, with irony and violence, to project ourselves into the other, to consider its history. Listening to time and measuring its extraordinary power...
This project led my research on the side of Greek meters, the starting point between constructing language and rhythmic phenomena.
Designed in four movements, where the pulse remains pervasive, this music is based on simple cycles constantly changing.
Oboe revolve around the two string instruments, as an extension of timbre and range.
As a counterpoint, a "geological" sound approach evokes an arid presence that punctuate the old vocal tracks :
Andromache: "Let’s Hector! this time, have pity and stay here on your wall ;
no, do not your son an orphan nor thy wife a widow. So stop the army near the wild fig tree, where the city is the most accessible, the wall is the easiest to win. "
Homer, The Iliad, "Song VI".
What is the relationship between the real and the imaginary world ? This question was the starting point of this project devoted to the city of Berlin. Before my visit here, I had imagined all sorts of things about the huge city having such a rich historical past. I thought about the places, the people, the transformation of urban spaces .I built up my own ideas with the information i got from texts and images.
In October 2001, I discovered the city for myself during my time at the Berlin Academy of Arts . When I visited the city, I could not help comparing what I saw with what I had previously imagined. I then set out to capture the sounds and images and worked on the urban material : a new vision of Berlin was born which became an artistic allegory of this space.
This peculiar impression of at last facing reality is the main feature of this composition.Every musical gesture, every sound or visual articulation asks questions to the audience : What are the musicians exactly doing ? Where do sounds come from ? Can we recognise any images ? How do the various elements interact with each other ?
With these questions I have attempted to make the audience loose its bearings and in the end, this is what really interests me! Will not this questioning wake up one of the most precious human quality : curiosity ?
The main idea behind this piece relies on a batch of texts based on the aggression processus among men and animals as well as the notion of frontality (related to intermediate and blurry zones of our physical and intellectual experience).The principle of the piece (hence the mention of the quatuor) is based upon the development, in concentric circles, of four groups or entities (1.clarinet/trumpet ; 2.percussion ; 3.string quintet ; 4. electronics) that gradually close up on the listener. This convergence is carried out by accumulation processes and meetings in which perception goes from individualized states to a sense of group.
What could we say about speech evolution today ? Speech may serve a function or communication, it may also be religious or political and empty or conclusive, speech may even be heard as a prophecy or as a commitment ; but, whateverits fields, it is highly paradoxical. Places where speech can be heard have indeed been multiplied and appear as quickly as they vanish. It also seems that more or less everything can be said by anybody so that, in the end, we get nothing else than a rather monstrous and continuous flow of contaminative words.
Therefore, couldn’t we say that speaking has become a narcissistic exercise that leaves meaning aside and gives priority to the speaker’s appearance ? In opposition to these observable facts, "L’Aire Du Dire" is a multiple-voiced oratorio which celebrates speech and demonstrates how words are essential to our humanity, how they bound our conscious memory and weave our emotions ; therefore enabling us to accept the world and its fiction.
This project is built according to the various modes of speech. It may be the one used in a fairy tale or in a specific talk, it may be a statement or a fiction. This project even considers atomic structures involved in language such as words and sounds, their "breath" and music. The texts included in this work have been selected from literature and history, tales and classical fables, that is to say from a varied and fragmented corpus testifying how rich and diversified our language is. In this space of an eventual convergence, three entities draw our attention : a group of singers on the stage ; mixed and recorded voices and sounds filling up the sound-broadcasting space, and finally, video sequences showing one singer read Christophe Tarkos’poetry creating thus an entirely poetical space that repeatedly structures this oratorio. The situation taken as a whole, is therefore based on a multiple-voiced conversation where words intertwining themselves create a new and sensible matter.
We can’t help recalling here the brilliant experience of John Cage’s "Radio Music " in which the production of a new musical and theatrical language relies on the chance of the radios. With Cage ’s music , the semantic unlikelihood of 12 asynchronous radio-sets makes up the metaphor of our mind, a complex and polyphonic territory which is able to experience how in the end, word music prevails on meaning.
For great speakers, whether they are angels or monsters own a mysterious thing in their voices, which is what we actually call music. Roland Barthes seems to be the writer who has best described this point of voice texture in "L Obvie et L’ Obtus "; studying this particular connection between the initial texture of a vocal tone and its physical capacity to give rise to a basically musical space. The Magnificent sequences of Jim Jarmusch’s film Dead Man give an eloquent example of all this. There, the sound of William Blake’s poetry being read, rightly fits with the electric and flexible texture of Neil Young ’s guitar.
This oratorio writing has relied on a very close collaboration with Director Christophe Bergon and the vocal group Les Elements. Both of them have wonderfully committed themselves in this challenge in order to build a sound-devoted space linked to stage requirements and thus give birth to this project theatrical contents.
radiophonic opera based on a novel by Georges Perec electronic music 5+1 / 45’00
The radio opera "Day 54" has its origins in Georges Perec’s last unfinished novel. Based primarily on the books of the author, the libretto for the opera reflects the complexity and power of the thought of Perec and wants to honor him.
The music, which draws its material in the classical instruments and electronic sounds is constructed in close relation with the literary world : it uses a lot of refernces, a complex editing, proliferation gestures aswell as minimal states.
The form of the work is conceived as a labyrinth, varying between understatement, palindromes and anagrams on one side, between free jazz, symphony orchestra and slam on the other...
Three actors take turn in three different languages, in what appears to be a "detective story" and slips into a vast universe which mixed echoes of history, mental speculation, jubilation of words and dizziness of numbers.
Live version project (2012) : a visual adaptation by Pierre Nouvel / original typography : Thomas Huot-Marchand ; this projet has been initiated by french ensemble CAIRN for a concert in Paris, dedicated to Georges Perec in 2010.
The orchestral suite was composed in part of the project "Day 54", a radio opera based on the latest Georges Perec’s novel : "53 days".
In this music, many methods are inspired by Perec’s literary techniques : missing lines with notes, chords palindromes, figures of speech... a set of referential writing games that contaminates the score.
The writing unfolds in a narrow time with different "micro-forms" that tell many stories and gradually weave a kind of dramatic thread.
In addition to constitute a permanent jublilation of words and formulas, Perec’s work is nevertheless underpinned by a strong drama, a constant echo to his personal history and a vision of world.
Commissioned by Integra, this work is the first of the cycle Breathes/Eats/Sleeps, a collection of audiovisual compositions which examines the place of the body in our world; a body that has become socially constrained by its rituals, prerequisite forms and norms. Our Western and homogeneous society is transfixed by the cult of a perfect healthy body, without illness or porosity. It wants to impose a ‘natural’ lifestyle, but it actually stifles it by its own contradictions and censorships.
This project, created with the artist David Coste is divided into two main sections ; the first focuses upon the breathing itself, the movement of the stomach becoming the object of an unrelenting machine taking the musical material towards an incessant pulsation. The second part is a trance-dance. We filmed the dancers after suggesting to them the following imaginary scenario:
“I am in a night-club; I start to dance convinced that I am in a group and,
as the music invades the space, I become aware of my extreme loneliness”. From this ‘constrained narrative’ each dancer gave us his or her version: sometimes an explosive reaction and sometimes, conversely, an intimate withdrawn submersion.
At the end, the bodies are merged into the video, creating a purified, empty white space where they allow themselves to be carried along by the lengthy repetitive crescendo.
The word "drone" is borrowed from English and means literally "buzzing" noise parasite. The origin of this word comes from the Middle Ages in which it is associated with the music and the technical features of drone, at the dawn of polyphony. It also refers to stealth aircraft, operating in today’s moden wars. Drone is also often used to define sound ambiances that haunt the films of David Lynch ... All of these meanings have many echoes in this music.
"We call barbarity what we are not used to." Michel De Montaigne.
The title of this work has two meanings. Barbarism firstly refers to "the use of words not accepted in standard usage", and actually it is for this reason and for the stylistical effects it produces, that many writers use it. Secondly, in ancient Greece and Rome, people would call barbarian that which did not belong to their civilisation.
In the middle ages, a country would wage a war against barbarians or foreigners in order to impose its so called supremacy. Generally speaking, we consider barbarians or barbarity what does not belong to our own culture and usually in a pejorative sense.
To write this composition, which is divided into three major parts, I have borrowed some characters from medieval imagery. Each part is devoted to one of them and so, we have "The Knight"," The Fool" and " The King". BARBARISMS is not a so called "musique à programme", but a collection of certain images that are imprinted in our collective memory and which were with me throughout the work like an obsession.
"There are no knights nor barons who do would not shed bitter and pitiful tears.
They weep for their sons, their brothers, their nephews and their friends and their lords. They fall upon the ground and faint." (ext. from : La Chanson de Roland). The music can be interpreted as a kind of journey of each of the characters : The Knight, singularly violent, clashes of metal, clanging of swords from lands devastated by the barbarians, The Fool, who after the night of a storm, tries to make his song heard at court, a useless sacrifice ; - metaphor for the artist, and lastly the King who after a lifetime of battles, has nothing left other than deep nostalgia.
In the end ,the piece BARBARISMS attempts to portray the difficulties we have in trying to be consistent with the world around us. It is in many ways my answer to the violence of our times.
GHOST WOMAN was created for a specific musical event devoted to the theme of Dom Juan and presented by the music section at the Venice Biennale, in 2010. The main idea of this event was to use every space in the Venetian Pisani palace and organize a special circuit for the visitors.
While wandering through the rooms and courtyards, up and down the stairs, the people’s attention
was drawn by musical and video installations, musical excerpts from Mozart ’s opera,
sound and visual contemporary creations, all of them related to the Dom Juan’s myth.
GHOST WOMAN is actually a video triptich set at different levels. Its semantic contense comes from a text by Kierkegard which refers to the three stages of desire embodied by Dom Juan :
Youth or feeling no desire in front of somebody to love ; maturity or desire as a source of social, moral and religious emancipation ; old age or feeling desire although there is nobody to love. The choice of video writing has been structured according to two essential ideas : a temporal inversion in the message and the use of the "Vanities " pictorial genre in the staging situations. "Vanities" being paintings that suggest the fleeing of time and the slow approach to death.
The first text on youth (the first stage of desire) depicts an ageless woman acting in a white-coloured space. The second (maturity) refers to the myth of Ophelia and the third (senility) is linked to a rock concert. A unique womanbecoming the ghost of our consciousness tells us about desire evolution throughout our life.
The « Passage » is a dynamic sound corridor devoted to memories.
After interviews of the Siemens Company’s collaborators who gave testimonies about theirs own memories, fifty sound sequences were created in studio to recompose each mental space. Coming inside the tunnel,the visitor can ear these sequences. He is thus facing the imaginary world of someone else. Walking through the tunnel, he can listen to the sequences in different ways : either quickly crossing the tunnel or in a more precise way by stopping and controling the sound evolution with his movements.
Indeed, a sensors system gives the possibility to follow the people’s evolution and to control the sound and light diffusion.
A trip to the heart of the others’ memory, sometimes individual, sometimes deeply
Beyond its immersive and interactive aspect, this installation leads to a deep reflexion about time and personal conscience thru this sharing of memories. Each one may find here a way to investigate its own history and try to figure out the place of sounds in it.
a film by Herbert G. Ponting
Black and white / Silent
This film version is kept in the collections of the Toulouse Film Archives and has been restored in collaboration with the French Film Archives (CNC)
The Terra Nova Expedition which aimed at reaching the South Pole first, was led by Robert Falcon Scott and has remained one of the most famous exploratory voyage. It was conducted between 1910 and 1913 and it tragically ended with the death of five explorers including Scott. Scott had a movie camera with him and the pictures found near the frozen bodies provided the matter for the film ETERNAL SILENCE.
This musical project is based on an improvised approach to echo Scott ’s polar expedition which had no certainty apart from its departure. Therefore, we have here an instrumental mixing on the verge of balance, fed with a primitive energy which
expends in an unrestrained way and develops a taste for the broken time, that is excessiveness. The only directions are : rough, film-concerts, orchestral tutti, wild techno, duple-time waltzes... We are then free to express our inspiration and desires.
The jagged summit of the Erebus volcano has not been gazed at by more than fifty pairs of human eyes and however we enjoy the privilege to own its smoke lying in red and purple skies ,blown by the polar wind... So that we could admire this pink and black smoke, this threatening and magnificent picture, some men, precisely those who are shown black with cold, their faces peeled in patches, had to leave, carried by the discoverers ’ fatal curiosity and arrogance.
The long, wise and enterprising figure of Scott, his hand on the bridle of his horse, had to fade slowly away in the white desert, waving to us a supreme and priceless goodbye... He had to die, they had to die, and their cracked cheeks are still laughing on the screen
and even when dying, when preserving the films, photographs and manuscripts ; they had to be thinking of us ; we, their glory.
The Scott Expedition on the cinematograph by Colette
film 35mm with original electronic music
(2000) / 1h25
Synopsis du film
The STRIKE ( STATCHKA) A film by S.M.Eisenstein 1924 USSR 73 mins in Black
and White. Silent. Screenplay : S.M.Eisenstein, Valeri Pletnev & Gregory Alexandrov. Photography : Edouard Tisse & Vassili Hvatov. Production : Goskino. Principal actors : Ivan Kljuvkin, Alexandre Antonove, Grigori Alexandrov...
The story takes place in a factory in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. On the screen we see the men at work. The scene is calm and their boss smiles. Later on a group of militants are organising a strike. The foreman betrays them and the military governor uses informers to spy on them.
Meanwhile the strike starts when a worker who has been unfairly charged with robbery, commits suicide. The employers will then counter attack and the strike goes on. Some agitators are contacted by the police to provoke the situation.
The final attack comes and it ís a bloodbath. With this first film, Eisenstein developped his original cinematic theories on editing. THE STRIKE is a revolutionary film making, in which we cannot help admiring the young director’s enthusiasm, boldness and freedom.
The Strike - a musical project
In this first film, we can already find the theories he will develop in later productions. He is much interested in the "cinema of actors ". His deeper preoccupation is with the art of the image by means of editing techniques and formal structures. Although the film has a tremendous politic significance ; (Soviet films of that period were mainly propaganda ones, ) we cannot deny the importance of it artistic challenges.
This is above all, what really struck me when I first saw it. The questions of rhythm, articulation, and gesture seemed to me at the very origin of the temporal and visual organisation.
To me THE STRIKE looks like a painting ; a painting which would suddenly come to life and where black and white would turn into colours. For me the strength of each sequence cannot be disassociated from the whole film. THE STRIKE shows the symbols of a disturbed world which appear all the more significant as the film is silent. It also passes on to us its philosophical message about man’s questioning and the meaning of life.
Moreover, due to Eisenstein’s use of dynamic images, major contrasts in the rhythm of scenes and a strong direction that reaches the level of allegory, a philosophical dimension is partly created. We can repeat here that Eisenstein’s films are neither interested in actors nor in charismatic stories as it is often the case to day. One can therefore see how musical ideas can be born in the mind of the composer ;
music is the art of time and space and of the rhythm of form. My aim was not to fill up the silence of this film with music ; Eisenstein could have done this well enough himself, but rather to weave together paths, to recreate the film spaces in an audio domain. That is the aim of this project - to bring a new light to a cinematic work by means of music
whose intensity rivals that of the film itself, inducing a rapport of forces both concentric and divergent ; to discover the power of the images so as to better deconstruct them and offer a plausible interpretation.
Initially, there will be a tale, a story... night, escape the city, follow the road, fast... Entering the forest in search of something, a special zone... End of the trip : the discovery... the beginning of something else... the fall... These are the pictures that lead us to the "Kingdom from below" by the play of symbols and signifiers spaces (the city, the dark forest, a strange house,). The music begins in the fall, and leads us through long shifts to a unknown and unexisting place.
In these movements where texts follow a reverse chronological order (from the long history of burnings by Polastron up to Plato’s myth of Cave), we ask ourselves : what do we do with knowledge ?
Is Today’s world, overloaded by high doses of informations and entertainment, really different from this "bottom" ?
Downstairs, there is nothing but archaic gestures : those from musicians, those woven by fluorescent lights that evoke the possible re-birth, those from pictures becoming streams. And the electricity that comes here to amplify the sounding material : beatings, slidings of the bow, flows of breath, tactile activities, movements of air.
From this original state, from this primitive energy will hatch a kind of incantatory mechanical music made of speed, hustle and rupture...
Ecstasy is a state where the individual no longer has any perception of himself, wholly absorbed by himself. The violence of Western society every day reveals the flaws in its system. We know that some of the superfluous is without limits, while most of the others is not even satisfied. We are saturated by alarmist informations constantely, but the main responsable is human behavior.
What about our social practices, our behavior and their origins? In the 50s, a change began under the influence of new doctrines such as ego psychology and self psychology, which led to a break with otherness and secured society. The "bourgeois society" gradually put the ego and well-being in center of stage, becoming more individualistic and consumerist. Today we find ourselves faced with this ideology and we are dependent on the relations between man and the world, and absorbed by the standardized forms that they generate...
With Narcisse-1 Ex/stasis, I want to explore the different meanings of the myth of Narcissus, the many different forms it ca take today. I want also to interpret the signs of narcissism through the contemporary codes and symbols, and work on concepts that flow out of the forms and which are the basis of this myth.
Il s’agit d’une lecture des fantasmes et poussées narcissiques qui conduisent à des déformations du corps, à des pratiques extrêmes jusqu’à celles de la transformation physique. La composition musicale de Pierre Jodlowski est au cœur du processus prolongé par une animation vidéo de Fred Cassan. Coraline Lamaison
This trio explores the possibilities of improvised music, jazz, electronic music through a meeting between three outstanding contemporary artists : Roland Auzet, Pierre Jodlowski & Michel...
Trios mixing improvisation, instinct and more written music, in multiple directions and complex building paths to listen free, spontaneous and always placed under the sign of a great connexion.
Free spaces between written and improvised music, acoustic and electric, a range of percussion instruments combined with various instruments or electronic sounds. This is query the 21st century, its relation to modernity and its questioning about pop music. As many tracks as much energy, so many sources, born from the vitality of a bold collaboration. The trio PAJ happens in France since 2007 in jazz, improvised and contemporary music festivals.
This performance is a result of several projects that question, repeatedly, our relationship with death and violence, along with their reference to the world of movies. Since "De front", composed in 1999, I continue to seek an articulation point between the impact of space on our cinematic collective behavior and relative accuracy with which they are supposed to aspire. Cinema is not only an art form ; its influence on our lifestyle is very important : it acts both as the catalyst for a collective consciousness even at the same time and in the best cases, as a source of proposals, an alternative to social positions conditioned by neo-liberalism.
It is this duality, negative and positive end, which is explored in this project. Starting with archetypal situations, directly inspired by movies, I try here to reconstruct a universe whose ambiguity is justified by a wish to act on our mental spaces. The experience may be here to ask what is real or fictional, which is a provocation or emotional intensity and try to capture the "sound" and semantic of violence.
The texts of this project, dialogues, monologues, in English and French are part of the process of composition. I wrote them at the same time with music and they became "references" that are questioning our relationship to pictures and a certain intimacy of life.
The situations presented by these texts create tension and reflection that will serve as an impetus for musical performance. These "clips" are used as a guideline, define the margins of music, induce a distance, open sensitive areas that I wanted brutal, extreme, just like what we can imagine sometimes but rarely try...
Also, any resemblance of these sounds, the music, with real and fictional situations is voluntarily assumed.
This music is strongly not recommended to hear before the age of 16
Thanks to :
Manuela Agnesini et Christophe Bergon (texts recordings) ;
IMEB and GRM (production studio) ; éOle ; Véronique et Simon Jodlowski ; The directors of movies I saw during the creation of this project : Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola, Kyochi Kurosawa, David Lynch, David Cronemberg, Peter Greenaway, Gus Van Sant, Peter Watkins, Chris Marker…
K, X and Y ; FreeSound Project ; solitude, anxiety and some heavens…
This music has been composed for a danse project called "VIENNE TRANSFIGURÉE" ; this show was built around the figures of three major Austrian artists : Arnold Schoenberg, Egon Shiele, Stephan Zweig.
This composition is somehow an adaptation of Zweig’s novel : THE CHESS PLAYER. It really respects the narrative structure of the novel and is divided in three parts : [First Player - Second Player - The Game].
In this novel, Zweig tells us about Man’s madness in a metaphoric way and this universe has suggested to me a very tense but also melancholy world.
There, radio voices mingle with strange and distorted waltzes ; just as when we lose control and that only confused mark remain on our minds...
The piano studies Typologies Du Regard are intended for students and consist in a set of works which closely examines the link with the soundtrack in different perspectives.
However, the writing is not only based on the principle of a dialogue with the recorded sounds , but equally insists on the idea of contemplation.
For this music aims at creating a relationship between visual spaces or abstract " landscapes" and the pianist’s evocative ability. The" landscapes "which I refer to are sheer imagination ; what is essential here is the pianist ’s aptitude to concentrate on them.
Musicians will bear in their minds these visual spaces during their performances and will have to convey their particular atmosphere to the audience.