Five Out of Six (2012)
for six players (oboe, saxophone, violin, cello, piano, and percussion) plus live electronics and live video by Things Happen [15:00]
This multimedia work is the product of a long-distance collaboration that began months ago, building on an interactive language we first developed at the ENPARTS campus in Venice in 2009. Christopher composed a score and constructed the electronics patch in New York City, while Itzi and Iván shot video footage in Madrid. We then met up in New York three weeks before the concert to share our discoveries and to look at the best way to interweave our ideas, from both an aesthetic and technical perspective.
To assure a degree of coherence to our project, we agreed on a common literary starting point from which we’s draw our inspiration: Six Memos for the Next Millenium, Italo Calvino’s collection of lectures about the qualities he most hopes will be embraced by the art of the future. Our work is divided into five short but seamless movements (because Calvino died before completing his sixth “memo”) with contrasts in sound, image, and character. We allowed ourselves to be influenced by Calvino’s vibrant and light prose, his economy of language and precision of detail, seeking out sonic and visual parallels for his ideas.
On the technical side, the electronics involve a carefully controlled stream of real-time concatenative synthesis, where samples of pre-recorded sound are strung together according to predetermined parameters using the CataRT module developed at IRCAM by Diemo Schwarz. The major innovation of this project is the addition of a precise pitch control, allowing samples to be retuned according to a specified harmonic grid before they are played back. The images are controlled with several live video tools, such as Modul8, Quartz Composer, and Vdmx, connected together via Syphon, allowing real-time manipulation of multiple layers of video and generative graphics that interact with various musical parameters.
We would like to thank the Computer Music Center at Columbia University for technical support, and above all Jean-Baptiste Barrière for his vision and encouragement.