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Showing posts from 2016

The Eleventh Year, by Dziga Vertov

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You liked the trailer? Enjoy now Dziga Vertov's 1928 movie with its brand new soundtrack!Dziga Vertov's The Eleventh Year on youtube. (youtube movie updated January 29th, 2017) Close-up of faces in The Eleventh Year, from Lev Manovich's Vizualizing Vertov article.

Voices of the World

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For a long time, this wonderful collection of recordings was available only on a set of 3 CDs, coming with a detailed booklet. Great news: the Centre de Recherche en Ethno-musicologie du CNRS now makes the files accessible online, including a pdf of the booklet:Les voix du monde, une anthologie des expressions vocales (Voices of the World, an Anthology of Vocal Expression)I use these sounds regularly when teaching: for instance, the beetle-propelled Papua New Guinea melody #33 on CD #2 is very interesting when discussing formants. More generally, it is a well organized and documented collection of recordings dedicated to voices, and focusing on:Solo Voice Techniques: from calls to breath, from spoken voice to harmonic singing, from timbre to ornamentation.Polyphonic Techniques: from heterophony to chords, from drones to counterpoint.I also occasionally found there some inspiration when composing: I wrote the coda for Risorius for six singers after listening to this girls' duet fro…

Soundbreaking & the Talk Box

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During the Thanksgiving break, I watched on PBS the whole Soundbreaking series. This great show, subtitled Stories From The Cutting Edge Of Recorded Music, sheds light on the process of record and music making, through eight episodes:The Art of RecordingPainting with SoundThe Human InstrumentGoing ElectricFour on the FloorThe World is YoursSound and VisionI Am My MusicHere is the official trailer:Precisions about the Talk BoxI found just one piece of incorrect information in the series, when the great Ben Harper describes how the Talk Box works. I have been teaching a course called The Spectral Nature of Sound at the University of Iowa, and I love to introduce the students to the Talkbox before studying other voice-processing machines such as the analog vocoder, the phase vocoder, a.o.In the episode about Voice, the Human Instrument, Ben Harper shows a great Roger Troutman excerpt, and says that the box sends electrical current down the throat of the musician. This is incorrect, of cou…

The Eleventh Year - Trailer

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Coming soon! A new soundtrack to Dziga Vertov's movie The Eleventh Year.A collective project with musicians Nicolas Sidoroff, Clélia Bobichon, Guillaume Hamet, Krystian Sarrau, and Sébastien Sauvage. Here is a picture of our creation studio during the summer of 2015:

LOUi jams with Jhe Russel

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LOUi is the Laptop Orchestra at the University of Iowa. Our ensemble is actually more than a laptop orchestra: the students explore and develop musical links between acoustics & electronics, using instruments such as laptops, analog synthesizers, acoustic and amplified instruments. Here are excerpts from a jam with dancer, choreographer, and rapper Jhe Russel:

Talk @ EPX Indie 2016

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EPX, a video game studio, is a great student organization at the University of Iowa: a real art-technology project, gathering motivated and talented students. It was a treat to be their guest, and to listen to Jon Lonngren, developer of the boardgame Fallen Land. He presented his epic game, as well as the epic development process!

Public Digital Arts Showcase

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You are invited this Friday, October 14th, at the School of Music for a showcase by the Public Digital Arts cluster faculty. My colleagues Kyle Rector (Computer Science), Daniel Miller (School of Art & Art History - Sculpture Area), Mike Gibisser (Department of Cinematic Arts), Daniel Fine (Theatre Arts | Dance), Andrew Casto (School of Art & Art History - Ceramics), Steve Baek (College of Engineering Mechanical & Industrial Engineering), and I will be presenting aspects of our creative research. I will be showing live interactive music with PhD candidate composer Nima Hamidi.

Sounds Interesting

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Interesting sounds in Iowa City!
On September 13th, an improbable and very musical trio performed at the Uptown Bill's Coffee House... Art of mixing: Live electronic music & brownies! Inverted ThereminPeter played a unique Theremin this night: not only was it an original Moog Theremin, but mostly its volume control was inverted: the closer your hand comes to the volume bar, the loudest the sound. This is really unusual: in old videos, Clara Rockmore played with the volume being minimum when touching the bar, and it is the same with modern Theremins. Inside, analog electronics:

Rotonde @ Electrocution 2016

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I composed Rotonde for the new piano acquired by the Music section of INSA in Lyon. I had the great pleasure of performing the piece with pianist Vincent Leterme during Electrocution 2016. This concert took place in the art space Passerelle in Brest; here is the live recording:Rotonde by Jean-Francois Charles

Rotonde on JetFM Radio

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JetFM is a non-profit radio based in Nantes, France. Histoires d'Ondes is their program dedicated to radiophonic art, fiction, documentary, and sonic postcards. My composition Rotonde, for piano & live electronics, was featured in the July 7th broadcast. It is a live recording of our performance with pianist Vincent Leterme. You will also hear in the same program Série-C, for prepared piano & stereo soundtrack by composer Pierre Jodlowski.The music was recorded during the Electrocution music festival in Brest, by Annaig Chaslot, Clément Crubilé & Mélanie Morin, and mixed for binaural listening by Clément Crubilé.

Electronic Music Program @ Composit 2016 New Music Festival

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The Composit New Music Festival opened tonight with a welcome aperitif at the Rive Gauche Café in Rieti. Tomorrow, the courses will start with guest composers Pierluigi Billone and Stefano Gervasoni, as well as with artistic director & composer Davide Ianni. I will be teaching the electronic music program - provisional schedule looks like this:Tuesday July 5th
10:00 – 13:30 Workshop 1 - Spectral Sound
14:30 – 16:30 Improvisation session 1 + exploration of effects used in the composition Passage, for percussion & electronicsWednesday July 6th
10:00 – 13:30 Workshop 2 - Max, FFT & spectral sound processing, Jitter basics
14:30 – 17:30 INSTRUMENTAL WORKSHOP (Angèle Chemin, Soprano) or private lesson with J-F CharlesThursday July 7th
10:00 – 13:30 Workshop 3 - Vocoder & phase vocoder. Also, special guest Michele Zaccagnini presents Max, Processing, the brain, and more.
14:30 – 17:30 INSTRUMENTAL WORKSHOP (Strings, with the mdi ensamble) or private lesson with J-F Cha…

Improbable Orchestr'A

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After working for two years in the Bellevue neighborhood in Brest, we are thrilled to announce the final concerts! A hundred children from four schools and one after-school program are performing with great artists from Ensemble Sillages:Stéphane Sordet, saxophonesCéline Rivoal, accordionMaxime Echardour, percussionGilles Deliège, violaIngrid Schoenlaub, celloCédric Monjour & Van Hien Bui, musicians, and teachers at the Brest ConservatoryHenri-Pierre Deroux, artistConcertsSunday, May 29th - 5 p.m.
Conservatory Auditorium
Rue Émile Zola, BrestTuesday, May 31st - 6 p.m.
Bellevue City Hall
25 Place Napoléon III, BrestProgramComposing for this Improbable Orchestr'A was a commission from Ensemble Sillages. The program includes the following scenes:Avola, Mayotte songN’Guru Bwe, Mayotte songKerhallouest Musical Brigade #1Gnagna Bwe, Mayotte songLapalu for viola & orchestraPassage for percussion & live electronicsKerhallouest Musical Brigade #2Viostris for cello, accordion, viola…

Ircam @ BU Center for New Music

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A couple of days ago, I was talking with my friend composer Davide Ianni. He is currently very busy co-organizing this April 25-29 IRCAM residence at BUCNM, the Boston University Center for New Music. This event includes public lectures, demonstrations, a scientific conference, workshops, and two concerts at the ICA.On April 28th, you'll hear classics:Pierre Boulez Anthèmes 2Beat Furrer Gaspra and AriaTristan Murail L’esprit des dunesOn April 29th, the JACK quartet is performing:Chaya Czernowin Hidden (US premiere)Jonathan Harvey String Quartet No. 4 Among the workshops, composer Grégoire Lorieux will be presenting Orchids - Grégoire is one of the best connoisseurs of this computer assisted orchestration software; he used it in several of his compositions. Grégoire was in Brest during the Electrocution 2016 festival.

Mozart, Ravel & Strauss in Brest

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I'm delighted to play bass clarinet on Sunday with the Ensemble Sable & Ciel. After Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Two piano sonata by Marine Lombard & Claire Prévôt, Joël Doussard will be conducting:The Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss, starring guest soprano Helen KearnsMaurice Ravel's Tombeau de Couperin The concert is taking place on Sunday, April 24th, at 5 p.m., in the beautiful concert hall at the Brest conservatory.

Stockhausen's Mikrophonie I in Paris

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Thanks to Philippe Arrii-Blachette's relentless energy, we are performing (with Ensemble Sillages) Stockhausen's Mikrophonie I in Paris this Friday (after our January performance of Mikrophonie I). I hope you can come hear this music, rarely performed. The concert is taking place at église Saint-Merry, in the Rendez-vous contemporains season.The program features also great music by Jean-Luc Hervé, and Javier Torres Maldonado:Jean-Luc Hervé: Horizons inclinés (Ciacconia), for violin & acousmatic systemJavier Torres Maldonado: Cuarteto de Cuerdas número 2, for string quartetKarlheinz Stockhausen: Mikrophonie I (1964), for two percussionists, two microphonists, and audio filtersWe had rehearsals in the church today: the sound is quite warm. It is a pleasure to work with the great team of La Muse en Circuit, our partners for the sound system.

Electrocution 2016 Festival

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Tonight, I'm thrilled to perform with great artists:Passage, for percussion & live electronics, is premièred by percussionist Maxime Échardour.later, we are performing Rotonde, for piano & live electronics, with pianist Vincent Leterme. I am very excited, and very grateful to them and to the Electrocution festival organized by Ensemble Sillages. I hope to see you there tonight. More information: Electrocution festival 2016.

Metallum video

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Last year, I told you about the Metallum installation: a ritual toupin, with imaginary echoes sent back by the rock faces of my native mountains. Here is a short video:Link: Metallum on youtube.

Music & Technology Forum in Quimper

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Today in Quimper, Bretagne, France. I'll be introducing Sonic Pi to a group of teenagers. Later, during the Codelab meeting, I'll be showing my environment for live graphically-based spectral sound processing.
Great workshops are taking place today, including field-recording, recording a folk-rock band, mixing and remixing one of their tracks. Organized by Musique & Danse en Finistère.

Passage rehearsals

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We just had a great run of rehearsals last week with percussionist Maxime Échardour.Maxime really enjoyed the sound of the bells built from recycled materials by musician & maker Van Hien Bui: Van-Hien also built a cimbalom that Maxime is going to play: The list of instruments featured for the première will look like:vibraphone with motor (3 octaves is enough)3 tomstam4 DIY bells, tuned to C#, D, G, F# (left to right for the performer)a F# Thai gonga F# ancient cymbal - crotalea DIY cimbalom and a DIY mono string instrumenthidden behind the cimbalom on the pic below, an electronic Farfisa F326 keyboard!no bongos: we ended-up not using the ones on the pic below. For the Chanson section, 4th part of the score, I wrote out a possible realization just for Maxime to play mainly on the vibraphone:

Remembering Oscar Wiggli

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I am sad to report that Sculptor and composer Oscar Wiggli passed away on January 26th, 2016. He was 88 years old.I had the great pleasure to meet with this unique Swiss artist and his wife Janine in 2013. We visited them with Master students who were working on a digital re-creation of the Syhamo, a hybrid synthesizer with digital processing & analog sound synthesis, one of the first interactive pieces of art with live sensor-controlled sound synthesis.
Oscar Wiggli in his workshop. There in Muriaux, we discovered the amazing sculptures kept by the Fondation Oscar et Janine Wiggli. We also met director Claude Stadelmann, who was shooting a documentary on Oscar. This film was shown on the Swiss public channel 2 weeks ago, and is still streaming for 15 days on the RTS-2 web site - you have to stream it from Switzerland: Oscar Wiggli, sculpteur et compositeur. It is a wonderful document, with beautiful footage of Oscar Wiggli working at the Von Roll furnaces.Here is an excerpt showing…

Nautilis at the Beaj Kafé

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Every Tuesday! Do not miss the Nautilis concerts at the Beaj Kafé, a new coffee shop in Brest. Nautilis is a jazz collective of great musicians including Christophe Rocher (clarinets), Vincent Raude (electronics), Nicolas Poniard (drums), Nicolas Peoc’h (saxes), Frédéric Bargeon Briet (bass), Philippe Champion (trumpet), and Christofer Bjurström (piano). Tonight, accordionist Céline Rivoal is performing a beautiful recital of new music for accordion. I am accompanying her with live electronics for two short pieces (including Testo). See you there!

Passage - program notes

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I just wrote a couple of notes for the Electrocution 2016 festival: we are performing the première on April 2nd.Passage (2015-2016)for percussion & live electronics
Duration: 7 minutesPassage evokes the transition from one state of life to another. The passage may open new horizons, such as when the larva abandons his exuviae to take its dragonfly flight ; it may also hold a detoxification function, as when the crab gets rid of heavy metals while molting.
In this composition, new sonic horizons are revealed not only by spatialization & sound processing, but mostly by acoustic research on new instruments made from recycled materials. The pizza pan completed its transformation into an anaquaphone, the coffee cans turned into a cimbalom.
Many thanks to artist Henri-Pierre Deroux and multi-instrumentalist Van Hien Bui for the design and loan of novel instruments.Percussion partHere is the first page of the extended percussionist's part, with more space than the original global…

Mikrophonie I - X moment is coming!

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The score for Karlheinz Stockhausen's Mikrophonie I is beautiful, but not usable for a concert. My own Mikrophonie score is a gift from Stockhausen; I had to cut & paste copies to arrange a performance score with possible page turns: Next rehearsal this afternoon (first one took place last summer).