All posts by Jean-Patrick

Amour, suppôts et supplications

Amour, suppôts et supplications is a representation of the different phases in a social and/or amorous relationship that we enter into all throughout our lives. Articulated around different movements connected by combinations of recurring timbres, this piece brings about numerous contrasts and emotions.

The inspiration of the piece comes from Chelsea. It is a universal subject everybody is confronted with at one moment. In order to bring this idea to life, we decided to work in two groups: electronic and acoustic. We agreed on a scale to build all our material: an acoustic mode on B. The separation of acoustic/electronic is a representation of the duality in a couple.

Draft of the introduction
Draft of the introduction

 

Harmonic material
Harmonic material

The first part, only acoustic, represents the time of the meeting, and the birth of emotions. Indecision and mystery are the main elements transcribed in the music by imitation between the instruments, melted in a deep reverberation. The following movements represent the battle for power, the sharing of power, the engagement, and (in our case) the distance between the couple with the presence of a perturbing element.

The formal structure of the piece is fixed. During our last working session, we finally put the different elements together: the electronic part (loops composed by Yury and Kristian using Logic Pro, Abelton and Max), and the acoustic part (Chelsea at the electric harp and Jean-Patrick at the prepared electric guitar). We took into consideration at this time the importance of staging the piece and the inclusion of a theatrical aspect to illustrate our inspiration.

Hairy trio
Hairy trio

 

Harp jail
Harp jail

 

Working hard!
Working hard!

The lightning is focused on the instrument in order to depersonalize the musicians, who are the actors of the performance. This depersonalization is a way to universalize the subject. The last movement of the performance is the illustration of the distance and the moment of doubt in the couple. The presence of Yury and Kristian at the end of the piece symbolizes the external factor which can create tension, doubts, and distance in a couple. The simultaneous presence of the two characters involved in the relationship and the two perturbing elements makes us question ourselves. Where are we going? What is part of the external factor in our happiness? What is really important?

 

Video edited by Chelsea Lane

Deux regards perdus vers l’horizon

Deux regards perdus vers l’horizon is a live performance for amplified cello, amplified sitar, and electronics performed by Jake Bernsten, Jean-Patrick Besingrand, Caitlin Quinlan, and Kristian Tchetechko.

After a quick brainstorming session, the idea for a piece mixing instruments from different traditions (classical, indian, electronic) came naturally. The poetic idea of the piece was the start of its composition. After few sketches, we set up a fixed formal structure which allowed us to improvise inside of it. Proceeding this way made the performance more coherent. The formal structure is close to a perfect arch form. The material is derived from the night-time raga Yaman Kalyan, with the note C sharp as a polar reference. After a first section based on this raga, a noisy element is introduced little by little, leading to the middle section based on noisy sounds. After this section, the raga reappears progressively.

 

First beautifully handwritten sketch by Caitlin
First beautifully handwritten sketch by Caitlin

 

IMG_1440
Final score

 

The sitar and the cello are both amplified and proceed into a Max patch. This patch, conceived by Kristian, includes a sample recorder and shuffler for the cello and a randomized pitch delay for the sitar. Both instruments benefit from an strong reverberation.

Jake, the central element of the piece, controls some samples in Ableton through a Midi keyboard allowing him to interact with multiple parameters of sound.

An important element of the performance resides in the visual element coming from the Max patch. The acoustic instruments as well as the samples controlled by Jake are connected into an x-y matrix that visually represents the changing stereo field. This visual element is a concrete representation of the poetic idea of the piece.

Program note:

Deux regards perdus vers l’horizon represents the perturbations lived by two people who little by little take their distance from each other and find themselves back together. This piece depicts different moments of this process. The acoustic instruments are the representation of these two people. The electronic part symbolizes the main interest in common of these two people, which is the basis of the relationship and the basis of the piece.

Video of the performance edited by Kristian:

 

 

Entropie/Anthropie

Entropy is a measure of disorder in a system. The term entropy was  introduced by Rudolf Clausius and is derived from a Greek word meaning “transformation”. Anthropy is the result of human actions on their environment.

For our project, we decided to add human intervention to the artificial mechanisim of the musical robot. The robot represents a metaphor for the environment by describing a regular polyphony. The human action of rocking the object transformed the sonor material, which also included an element of unpredictability. The unpredictability is reinforced by the use of a Max patch put togethe by Kristian, transforming the sound though an echo phenomena, pitch shifting, and spatialisation.

The brainstorming lead us to this project beautifully designed by Julia.

Julia at work
Julia at work
First sketch
First sketch

We had to reconsider our initial idea. After multiple  sketches we settled on the idea of a suspended box full of resonating materials and marbles. This box produces sound in two different ways.

The first way is by automaisation. Two rotating motors in opposite directions create two different type of sounds at two different speeds. The first one comes from strings which are also there to maintain the object in elevation.

The second  type of sound comes from a metallic circle linked to a motor. This circle produce a variety of sounds by taping against different kinds of materials.

The second way comes from the human action. By pulling and releasing two ropes, the object performs a slight shift, allowing the marbles to move around following a random trajectory. The marbles clash against different fixed materials inside the box. The human action is again the metaphor of our action on our surrounding environment. Our presence has an effect on the heart of the environment, but it cannot precisely determine what this effect will be.

IMG_1232

 

The choice of plexiglass for the base was made for several reasons. The artistic reason was to benefit from an alternative view of the performance. This view can change our perspective of the piece, focusing on the mechanical side and putting the human intervention on the back-burner. The technical aspect was also important. Because of the object’s suspension, the use of plexiglass was advantageous because it is lighter than glass; its light weight made the suspension more stable.

The construction of the object was done in large part by Yury.

Master of Gorilla glue
Master of Gorilla glue

 

Master of Gorilla glue Part 2
Master of Gorilla glue Part 2

 

The beast is ready
The beast is ready

 

An important part of the performance rested on the sonorisaton of the project. With the help of two microphones, the different sonorities of our object found themselves propelled into a world of transformation ingeniously designed by Kristian.

 

Tricky mic installation
Tricky mic installation

 

Max patch in process
Max patch in process

 

 

 

The performance required two performers representing the human presence and its action on the environment. Yuri and I (Jean-Patrick) assured this role.

Miracle of the suspension
Miracle of the suspension

 

Performing this instrument is like flying a kite. Admire Maestro Yury's style!
Performing this instrument is like flying a kite. Admire Maestro Yury’s style!

 

The performance took place without technical difficulties and with the (surprising) trust from the audience, of which certain members, including our brave professor, took the risk of sitting underneath the installation!

 

 

There were several technical difficulties throughout the project which were overcome with solid collaboration, which was maintained in spite of climatic disasters, of which Yuri and I were each in turn victim, by a wonderful sense of humor and, of course, a bevy of brain-power at work!

Complete collaboration
Complete collaboration

 

A well deserve retirement
A well deserve retirement