Faidron & Schema

Stelios Giannoulakis – Cirquit Bent Toys, Effects
Faidron – Double Bass, Guitar, Cimbalom, Theremin, Bowed Cymbals, Electronics

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Athens Sound Walks – Big Village Dynamics

I recorded a series of routes in the centre of Athens during November and December 2009. Starting off from my house I walk in the streets, use the metro and end up wandering through the pedestrian zones at Thisio and Monastiraki, among people going for a walk and a coffee, hubbub and surreal music mixes from ambitious shops over dense tables. A weird and neurotic mosaic made of small personal worlds closely interweaved into the swirl of the big city that manages to condense its character within a bustling centre. I condensed recordings of many hours into this piece using montage techniques, with no other processing, in an effort to reflect the sonic and musical richness of this highly charged polymorphic material, which for me traces an important part of the social life of the city as a big village.

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Pivot Line

Acousmatic study with lines and dots in three parts. I recorded about one hour of improvisation on laptop and controllers, accompanying contemporary dance. This material included specific types of sound objects and sound behaviors, as well as certain elements of flow which were giving it a unique identity. Wanting to retain this basic character I concentrated on tightening the preexisting local and global structures and worked on the sound with old school montage techniques accentuating musical relationships among the lines and the grains.

 

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Transference

artworks-000033404408-f5e9ug-t200x200Stereo for multi speaker diffusion – 8:27

Noise, detachment and dreamlike transportation. A meditation on the soundscape of the city .

I made this piece using the sound of a horn/car alarm and the noises of cars and motorbikes. It is based on evolving drone soundscapes that keep the references alive and at the same time offer ways to trip out of, or to delve deeper into the sonic pool of urban every day life.

 

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Traces

Traces: contemporary dance & live electroacoustics by Aggeloskoni Da.Co. First performance, 27 Mai 2011, Argo theatre, Athens Greece

AggeloSkoni Da.Co. presents “Traces”, a dance piece of personal impressions. The visual artist Panagiotis Daramaras and the choreographer Angelica Papadatos meet on the stage for the first time, they collaborate and co-create materializing a memory, a moment of everyday, a trace of life. The performing body, female and male, is used as a vehicle for indicating the endless transformation which takes place when two people meet, interact, bond, mould, merge, in time only to reappear as two different beings. Composer Stelios Giannoulakis responds to movement and atmosphere through the piece with live electroacoustic music, structuring abstracted sonic materials in a similar journey of audible transformation, supported by sounds the performers make on stage.

A chair, a table and a textile coexist while moving in the covered with ashes monochrome set design, they leave their traces behind while changing roles, dimensions and images into a fluid sound-space of memories and free associations.

Concept/Choreography/Performance/Set design:
Angelica Papadatos, Panagiotis Daramaras
Composition & live music performance: Stelios Giannoulakis
Αssistant Choreographer/production manager: Kelly Karachaliou
Lighting Designer: Apostolis Strantzalis
Costumes: Nikos Antoniou
Voice: Mata Kourti

Production: AggeloSkoni Da.Co.

 

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Game Over

A performance by DanceVacuum contemporary dance group

Concept, Choreography: Viky Vasilopoulou
Music: Stelios Giannoulakis
Dancers: Mairy Maragoudaki, Abdoul Houssein, Sedat Hayta, Doudou Gueye, Anouar Hossein, David Bayand
Lighting: Tasos Sklavounos
Fotography: Alexandra Kendrioti

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Dark Chair

33x45_i_skotini_karekla_2012-smalA sinister humoristic comment on power of authority, based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Modus Faciendi theatre group

Concept, Translation, Direction: Mary Maragoudaki
Lighting, Photos, Video, Stage Design: Tasos Sclavounos
Music, Sound Design: Stelios Giannoulakis
Players: Vazaios Manolis, Dimitris Vekiaris, Marilena Germanou, Vassilis Pachoundakis, Markos Stephanou

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Blue John & Schema Rambling Duet

Acoustic blues

John Paneris: guitar, vocals, harmonica

Stelios Giannoulakis: guitar, mouth harp, stomp box

 

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The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game

The-Making-of-Balkan-Wars_The-Game_440x300reception

The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game” is a Personal Cinema project primarily focused on the social and cultural issues within the Peninsula and on the creation of a network between artists, art critics, writers and curators from South eastern Europe. It presents new media works created by the 51 participating artists that investigate the Balkan territory and way of life.

Both geopolitical war games and epic strategy video games are interrelated in this multi-media project. While virtual battle scenes are celebrated for their extreme realism, contemporary warfare has begun to resemble science fiction.
The reality (or virtual reality) presented by official narratives and industrial entertainment does not adequately describe the experiences of the people who are caught in the actual war games. In the real-time of global networks, and in video games, the simplification of cultures and history is itself a form of violence.
The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game is intended to counteract the sensational spectacle of war presented by the media by deconstructing stereotypes, focusing on the distortion of identities, and revising the dominant logic of explanation.

“The Balkan Mall” video game, the central node of the project is a multi-user, 3D video game created by the Personal Cinema group which hosts videos, sounds, images and texts contributed by the participant artists. The game is formed by 20 different spaces shaping an imaginary shopping mall, which is an elevation of social, historical and cultural elements of the Balkans. It is a poetic metaphor, which has many moments of ironic stance towards the prevailing multicultural concepts, historic and religious disputes and contemporary political developments in the area.

Play online
The Making of Balkan Wars: The Game or The Documentary

Watch
The Making of Balkan Wars: The Documentary

Maya Bontzou (artist), Andy Deck (media artist), Dimitris Dokatzis (artist), Vasilis Kokkas (composer), Nikola Kozakis (artist), Ilias Marmaras (artist), Panos Papadopoulos (director/producer), Alex Spyropoulos (artist), Stewart Ziff (artist), Stelios Giannoulakis (sound designer), Giannis Scoulidas  (artist/programmer).

personal cinema

medialabmadrid

channel-0

 

more info & links to be added soon

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Paramana – Crescent Moon Bear

The show is based on the Japanese story Tsuki no Waguma, -The Crescent Moon Bear.
By using three dimensional shadow theatre techniques, an originally hand-made projector, live narration and live electronic music we travel back in time to the Trench War and to its irreversible consequences. “The Crescent Moon Bear” is a dark fairy tale for teenagers that talks about courage and persistence, loss and pain, life and death, sensibility and love, and moreover it talks about a little child’s adventurous journey trying to save her father’s soul.

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Live narration in greek, english, french and italian.
For both children and adults.

PRODUCTION CREDITS

Conception – Direction: Anastasia Parava,
Stathis Tsemberlidis
Animation- Narration: Anastasia Parava
Composition, Musical Performance, Sound Design: Stelios Giannoulakis
Constructions, figurines, designs: Stathis Tsemberlidis
Conception and construction of the manual projector: Apostolis Sorolopidis
Lightings: Georgios Karakantzas-Anima Theatre,
Anastasia Parava
Translation: Anastasia Parava,
Eliane Pauwels
Artistic Adaptation from the original text: Maggie Pouplis
Introductory text: Giannis Papyrakis
Father ’s letter: Maggie Pouplis
Father ‘s voice: Nikos Martziokas
Photos: Vangelis Paravas
Shadow Theatre –three dimensional shadows of minuscule figurines – projections of three dimensional images from an original hand made projector– with live narration and electronic music.

There are things that can be seen only through the eyes of a soldier. It is only he that knows what it is like…he and his loved ones who long for him to return…

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video poetry

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A&B&S&A

Music composition and sound design for Iphone app by SerealDesigners and A&B&S&A, looking good, more to come.

elfofate

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About working with soundscape recordings

I have been recording “real world” sound from the very beginning of my involvement with electroacoustic composition. Getting my main influences from composers such as Trevor Wishart, Jonty Harrison, Francis Dhomond, François Baille, Ives Daust, Beatriz Ferreira and others from the traditional Musique concrete – acousmatic scene, I chose recorded sound as my main material for sonic art.

Related:

Three main strategies for collecting material:

 1) Everything around me: Exploring my sonic environment I just recorded everything that happened in my life – the cities I found myself in, houses and other buildings I spent time in (doors, chairs, household machines, ambience, whatever), my footsteps on various materials, transportation (bus, car, train, boat, plane), crowds, music events/rehearsals while moving around, sounds of the beach and the surrounding nature, forests and mountains, and so on. I just wanted to get any sound that happened around me. For years a minidisk and a small collection of mics were always in my bag ready for use. In many cases I did long sound collecting “expeditions” with more sophisticated equipment, such as portable DAT and hi quality stereo mic. I also recorded at various hours depending on the case, wanting to capture specific or just different soundscapes of a particular space. In some occasions the mic would be static for varying stretches of time, in others I would carefully move it, “performing” this way the recording (zooming in/out, turning around, fading from one source to another, etc).

 2) Staged sonic events and sequences: In the way of foley art or musique concrete sound sourcing, I used various objects to record sonic performances with – in the studio or outdoors. Often I would stage a small artificial environment with its own special ambience and sound producing activities. Looking for particular sound objects or sound families, I just discovered a lot more while playing around. Metal, plastic, paper, cloth, water, stones, glass, containers, tools, musical instruments, and so on, as well as various devised sound producing contraptions.

 3) Sourcing for a particular project: Following a set theme I targeted sound events in a more consistent way. For example in Reims, France, I recorded a 24 hour cycle in a shopping mall for Rites of Passage. For The Maze I was recording the empty university building late at night, as well as the various activities during the day. A series of sound walks in the centre of Athens for Big Village Dynamics. Rain on a metal canopy for Rainwater.

These days I don’t record that much any more, as I have to a large extent fulfilled my appetite for random sound collection. Also, I realized two obvious things: a) one can never collect all sounds and b) sound is always there to collect when needed. Exploration of everyday sound, with the ever present recorder and bionic hearing over headphones, has been a compulsive hobby that completed a circle for me, at least so far. Sound synthesis techniques, micro scale sound design, real-time sound processing and formal aspects of composition have nowadays replaced the composer/sound collector’s maximalist approach. Having said that I still record a lot – mostly sound scenes or sound objects with a special interest for me or for specific projects or just for fun every now and then. The portable recorder is one of the things that I will certainly take with me when I travel or go somewhere I know there will be sonic interest, although I might not use it as much after all.

What do I do with the material?

 1)  Reviewing and indexing.

2)  Isolating sound objects and longer sequences. Almost no sound is deemed garbage, even mic noises or artefacts can be very interesting to work with.

3)  Allowing material to lead towards a theme or an approach, compositional or technical.

4)  Choosing the parts that work best together according to a compositional plan.

5)  Sculpting material to fit certain needs, compositional or technical.

6)  Processing using a wide palette of techniques, thus creating more material or connecting sound objects to make new ones.

7)  Imitating some recorded sound objects with synthesis techniques, or just resynthesizing analysis files.

8)   Montage, mixing.

9)   More listening.

In some cases I used unprocessed sound and drove the composition forward by cutting, juxtaposing and/or mixing, playing with connotations and the locally emerging “myth”. In other cases I used the recording as a malleable material that I would change and warp around to the extreme. Natural sound has always had a certain power on the mind of the listener and so have the processes of natural sound transformation, subtle or dramatic, gradual or sudden, playing with degrees of recognizability and creating imaginary sonic journeys that are based on the known but extend to the adventure of the unknown – laying out some kind of idiosyncratic dreamscape for everyone to let evolve and explore in their own mind.

To be continued….

Some pieces of mine that are based on soundscape recordings or use a lot of “real life” sound:

Big Village Dynamics, Athens Sound Walks

Rites of Passage, 24 Hours in Passage International

Rainwater

Nectariou 5

Chaotic Lucidity 

Zrrraaamm!!!  

The Way In

The Maze 

The Door Study  

Suvenires

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about my electroacoustic work

These pieces use the language of electro-acoustic music. Various methods of sound synthesis, extensive processing of recorded sound (soundscapes, objects, instruments, etc) and micro-montage techniques have been used to encompass a huge range of sound objects into the music, which is polymorphic and playful in character. Read more about some of my concepts and techniques here.

The works are acousmatic in context, in the sense that the distance between the sounds and their perceived originating sources is being continuously articulated as an instrumental part of the music. The sound streams themselves hint towards generative processes that may or may not relate to the real origins of the sounds contained within them. Most of the times even the most concrete and recognizable sounds are put into abstract contexts, where the developing spectral morphologies form contrapuntal relationships with the stream of evoked connotations, as melodies and harmonies of sonic “landscapes”.

Often, sound objects may have been deliberately created as ‘abstract’, but the ways they appear and interconnect create a stylized world of almost organic feel. They manifest themselves, undergo particular idiosyncratic changes following natural energy trajectories, transform convincingly into something else and appear or disappear in various ways interacting with their ‘environments’. This way I set a theatre stage for the listeners’ imagination and the connotations that enrich the emerging audio perception patterns. It is a sonic theatre based on the interplay between textures and gestures, modulating tension and audio semantics, resonance and surprise.

Each piece is discussing a certain idea, is based on a “theme” related to a philosophical, technical, sonic, structural, or other concept. At the same time, no set programmatic or narrative interpretation is necessary for us to follow the works. They may be enjoyed as purely abstract musical sound sculptures: discrete sections, alternating dynamics and density, discourses between pointillist, patterned and continuous sonic elements, pitch and noise, repetition and variation, cadential paradigms, nodal points… The connection with anything ‘real’ or extra-musical, be it a thing or a behavior, although in my view generally inescapable and in most cases welcome, will be purely subjective, unstable and elusive.

My work aims to work both on an intellectual and an emotional level – as I see those two as being functionally interconnected and practically unseparable. As with many works in this genre, at moments we find ourselves in a dramatic or even violent mind game of justification or violation of expectancy.

Read more about my compositional approach here.

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relationships

The variety of stimuli and information on offer in today’s world is immense. Ideas are being generated at high speed and circulate dynamically. We experience intense conflicts, contradictions and paradoxes. Expression of the individual is greatly facilitated and encouraged, while at the same time we unite via networking, centralisation of power and the collective subconscious that these processes create. While we observe magnificent technological developments stretching the planet’s tolerances, barriers disappear and civilisations, traditions and styles amalgamate…

The general theme of my portfolio is relationships: between the partial and the whole, between behaviours and environments, among human beings and forms of art. The pieces and performances have been a study on unity and transformation, as well as on fusion and dialectic.

We can see beauty as a fully potent organic unit, like nature. In aesthetic terms the totality retains the primacy over the individual components and differences are eroded into complementarities. This idea can be expressed as an all-embracing concept of counterpoint.

“…an artistic economy bringing free, autonomous shapes together into one single thing through the very power of artistic organisation”

Adorno (1978), The Function of Counterpoint in New Music
 

I have been incorporating the multiplicity of elements, with which I was concerned, as independent streams interacting with each other and with the whole they constitute. All sonic parameters take part in this game, as well as the significations they carry in their development.

As we hear a sound we tend to automatically make judgements about its source, cause, movement, position and surroundings, introducing it into sonic pictures or landscapes, mental structures that include real or imagined parallels with other senses and related knowledge. By controlling sonic characteristics I created abstract musical relationships with or within sounds based on those projected associations. I composed signified meaning in ‘melodies’ of sonic landscapes within the musical discourse and in counterpoint with everything else. The sounds might work as linked symbols within aural metaphors. When the sonic images become too dense to follow or do not have clear connections we get a sequence of tension related meta-images. The listeners are expected to surrender and let the experience of the sound meander through the mind. They are welcome to play with free associations, translating the perceived patterns into internal ones.

During this process, concert-seating arrangement becomes a crucial factor. Audiences that are allowed to comfortably adjust and drift in the sonic world, not being distracted by the world of the body, will be able to resonate easier with the music and the uncompromised spirit of these works. I feel that less formal set-ups, which use perhaps mattresses or comfortable chairs and non-shoebox seating options, encourage the process of active listening and are more conducive to a deep appreciation of such complex and demanding sonic art.

The style of the work is inventive, humorous and argumentative, with intense peaks and troughs of tension oscillating between the real and the imaginary. The pieces are almost like colourful sonic fairytales or adventures, with natural energy trajectories, evolutionary properties, rhythms of language and elements of culture. The aim is to generate pleasure from the collision between ambiguous entities and the multithread vectors that weave through them. The ideas behind each piece were intuitively developed through personal observation and analysis or were imposed by a particular situation. In most cases they were a combination of interests in an abstract concept, types of sound, an environment or a set of techniques. The whole process can be seen as an effort to develop a personal system of sonic architecture that would subsequently apply to any kind of music, across genres and techniques. In this sense, this body of work is investigative by nature, the means and at the same time the product of research through a broad set of compositional and sonic concerns.

 

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my favourite music technology

Trevor Wishart writes at the beginning of Audible Design: a) any sound can be the starting material for a musical composition; b) the ways in which this sound may be transformed is limited only by the imagination of the composer; c) musical structure depends on establishing audible relationships amongst sound materials. These three assumptions are largely based on the power offered by technology in the last century and reflect the aesthetic implications of the new tools. A huge creative potential has been unlocked and this freedom has changed our relation to sound and music in a very profound way. At the same time, they express a liberal and wise view of music and music making in general, generalizing on the concerns and fantasies of composers over the centuries. In any case, they meet with my own intuitive approach and define an aesthetic frame of reference throughout my work.

The experience of working with recording equipment and the electroacoustic research studio has significantly influenced my compositional approach. I have been capturing sounds of any type and magnitude, storing them digitally en masse. Having extensive control over the audible relationship each captured trace would appear to have with the physical events from which it emanated, I could impose extra characteristics and musical qualities. In most cases extra characteristics were being imposed on the sounds I was capturing, anyway. I was able to instantly listen to that material from any point and as many times as I liked. At the same time I had very detailed, synchronised visual representations of it in any time scale. Digitisation, storage space, retrieval speeds, very precise reproduction and monitoring, indexing and representation facilities allowed me to have considerable control on sound and offered free access to an infinite pool of material around me. This abundance of resources is reflected in the maximalism of pieces such as The Maze, Chaotic Lucidity or Rites of Passage, as well as in the eclecticism of manipulations in A Beautiful Dream or Suvenires.

Led by aspects of the sound objects themselves or by some other physical or conceptual process, I transformed, integrated and exchanged sonic characteristics in time varying manners, often arriving at something perceptually independent. I synthesised new simple or complex sounds, based on the nature of found sounds or following energy trajectories suggested by each thematic. I could cut and paste all these materials, move them around in multi-track environments and repeat, layer and juxtapose them, structuring and articulating words, phrases, paragraphs and chapters.

The involvement of my work with visual references and language relates directly to a way of working with sound, which is directly suggested by this facility to arrange and direct musical meaning by design. As an important part of my practical research, besides pieces integrating lots of different sounds, the malleability of sonic substance allowed me to compose pieces made from one source sound only, such as Rainwater, Love Raga, or The Door Study.

I have been operating across time scales. I would for example repeat a pulse creating pitch but also compress an hour-long recording to a short gesture. I could edit grains and long sections with the same ease, in the same environment. Moreover, I was able to process the material over and over again without having to compromise on the quality of the result.

All stages of my work have incorporated indeterminate elements, either as expressed by the freedom to explore and improvise, or in an ever-changing dynamic distribution of parameters in making and manipulating sound. Also, the adoption of ‘real world’ sound introduced the chaotic behaviours of natural phenomena into my music, both within the sound objects themselves and in models for sonic articulation. Almost total control of recorded material liberated my approach to the physical generation of sound. As I started to appreciate and adopt the beauty and the creative potential in all sounds around me, I used traditional instruments in unconventional ways and any object or system that could generate audible vibrations for recording or performance.

I composed sound onto a fixed medium to be reproduced with abundant dynamic range across the spectrum. In electroacoustic concerts like those by Electroacoustic Wales or BEAST, I have been using many loudspeakers to fill the space with sound and to articulate the dimensions, position and perspective of the projected sonic image in real time. Multi-speaker sound diffusion has been informing my music as an intuitive and magically captivating performance practice, projecting the sound into the room and making it flourish.

 

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general concepts

 General Concepts

‘‘…we may explore the multidimensional space of sound itself, which may be molded like a sculptural medium in any way we wish…sound composition has become a plastic art like sculpture.’’

Trevor Wishart (1994), Audible Design

 

In very general terms my work is concerned with the relationship between the control of sonic substance and musical effectiveness. It is the result of research into concepts, materials, form and techniques towards the development of a musical idiom that allows the use of any kind of sonic material for the creation of elegant musical experiences. In a process of discovery I have been identifying musical values to empower the expression of the hidden so it becomes manifest and communicable. I have looked at how sonic art tools and practices interact with traditions of composition and performance and tried stretching the boundaries, investigating the aesthetic implications – thus developing my flavor of musical story telling.

 

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suvenires

Suvenires

Stereo               4:08

The Money Project for ICMC2002 called for pieces to be based on a short recording of people advertising souvenirs at an outdoor market in Havana, Cuba.[1]

The voices, tired from repetition and the daily tourist circus, had an amazing quality and were reflecting a proud sadness, generating strength and still sounding beautiful and foolish. I decided to present large parts from the recording in recognisable forms and elaborate on their inherent musicality.

Using Csound and Metasynth I re-synthesised the voice in many different ways and then time-stretched and transposed some of the results to make drones and melodic gestures. I used frequency shifting to create extra bass and treble. With granular synthesis and delays I made clouds out of a clave sound and variably transposed them, in order to interact with other events that were happening in the recording of the market. I enhanced various other elements with instantaneous long reverb, filtering, envelope substitution, compression and looping.

Micro-editing and mixing all these materials I structured the piece in three parts that translate my impressions of the vendors and the daily market, in an unfolding pattern of variation and abstraction.

I have often used the vocal sound-stream both as source material and as a model for structural and dynamic control. The following three pieces were made exclusively with speaking voices.

Colour is Instability

Chips

Think of a Woman


[1] John Ffitch (2001)

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the door study

The Door Study

Stereo               3:59

This piece was part of The Door Project.[1] The sound of doors is being used a lot in acousmatic music for the strong literal and metaphoric significance it has for most people and for its interesting and complex spectral qualities. During ICMC2000 conference delegates in the Berliner Staadtsbibliotek noticed the prominent sound of the doors to the gent’s toilets. Joerg Spix and John Ffitch made a thirty-second recording of these doors, put it on the Internet and asked composers to make short pieces using this material only. In reply to this call I made The Door Study.

The recording was short but nevertheless quite complex containing a number of different sound types. I isolated the background noise between the door gestures, the squeaking glissando of the hinges and the percussive sound of the door opening and closing. I used these sound objects raw or separately processed through resonant filtering, time stretching, transposition, granulation, layering and repetition. I also made longer variations of the original by ring modulating them with drones made from the door squeaks.

For the structure I used the recorded door performance as a template. It was suggesting a very clear natural form: stasis – we wait for something to happen, doors open, suspended middle section, the doors close – end of event, life goes on. In the piece we have two main nodal points. Energy builds up towards the first and it is sustained for a while with gestures. Then, we move from one landscape into another through a section of variable activity, towards the second nodal point. We are left with processed but more or less recognisable door sequences, until the piece finishes with a definitive closing sound.

These doors were being used all the time, so the piece is referring to a continuous series of events, a snapshot of which was available in this clip. By elaborating on the energy trajectory of the archetypical door sound I transferred some of my own imaginary sonic scenes onto this model, trying to respect its form but also allowing space for the imagination of the listener to roam into free association, away from the model itself. The repeated opening, passing through and closing is being used metaphorically, as a source of inspiration and as a supporting conceptual framework. The extreme dilation of time, as well the isolation and processing of individual sonic elements contained in the source recording was instrumental in achieving this goal.


[1] Performance with various composers in Havana, Cuba, 2001 and CD compilation, 2002 (produced by John Ffitch).

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Limiting raw material. Preset sources and sound families.

The Door Study was the first in this series to have strict conditions on its source material. I made everything out of the short sample of a door opening and closing. On all the previous pieces there were no specific restrictions and sound materials were being collected freely, with just a main concept in mind. Actually, part of the discipline was to incorporate as many different sounds as possible in one organic whole. For each of the following pieces I have worked on a very specific recording or sound family at a time, as an opportunity to look into ways of producing a wider sonic palette out of limited source material and thus researching more systematically a range of processing techniques, as well as a range of relevant structuring approaches.

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