for quintet /

for ensemble

(quintet + fixed media version)

flute, e-guitar, cello, percussion, synthesizer 

29.07.2021 / Online
25.09.2021 / Wild Gallery, Brussels

ICTUS Ensemble / Tom de Cock (conductor)

score (pdf)

(large ensemble + sampler version)

flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone(a), basoon, horn, trumpet, trombone, violin, viola, cello, double bass + electronics 

25.09.2021 / ZHdK-Konzertsaal 3

Arc-en-ciel Ensemble / Lars Mlekusch (conductor)

score (pdf)

audio (soundcloud)

(program notes for the ensemble version)

Edgar Varèse and the Jazzmen is a piece for amplified ensemble and fixed media based on a found recording in which Edgar Varèse meets with notorious jazzmen such as Charles Mingus and Art Farmer. Despite its historical importance, the recording is of low informational value. It documents a transitional moment in which musicians experiment and have unintelligible discussions. The piece is a series of six variations taking this recording — and its ambivalent state between information and noise — as a basis. In each one, different parts of the same (however sometimes processed) recording are replaced with instrumental sounds, implementing each time a different understanding of the concept of noise.

The eventual result of this process ends up making further reference to Varèse, and more specifically to the tradition of which he was a pioneer. Each movement can be understood to use in an isolated way a different trope of musical modernism like microtonal beatings, instrumental noise, clusters, hyper-complex musical gestures, autonomous electronics and spectral timbres.

— Section 1: noise as unwanted information

The short recording is considered a musical composition in which the speech is undesired. It is thus censored with a "bleep", a 1000 Hz sinus wave typically used for sonic censorship on TV. The instruments double the bleeps in various ways. This process of sonic censorship will be the structural principle used in each variation.

— Section 2: noise as unimportant sound

All the parts of the recording containing something more than noise are cut away and replaced by "instrumental" background noise. The loudspeaker also present an inverted version of the recording: the quietest sounds become the loudest and vice versa.

—Section 3: noise as the result of aperiodic fluctuations

The noise of the recording is used to generate chords that replace the moments in which only noise can be heard.

—Section 4: noise as necessary part of any recording

The parts in which only speech or noise are heard are replaced with computer generated re-orchestrations of themselves. The loudspeakers play the residual noise of a "noise reduction" effect during the instrumental moments of the recording.

—Section 5: noise as redundant/useless information

The vocal and instrumental moments are respectively replaced by: 2’500 instances of the recording starting at different points and the (clipped) original recording with an amplitude multiplied by 10’000.

—Section 6: noise as relative and general concept

Noise, speech and instrumental playing moments are processed by a computer program that orchestrates them as static sounds, disregarding any of their internal complexity

upcoming:       25.04.2023, Dampfzentrale, Bern / Project with Ensemble Proton               26.06.2023, Gare du Nord, Basel / Project with Ensemble Proton                –