I was one of the 10 composers selected to perform in Paris at the Akousma 2018, a festival that celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Musique Concrète and the 60th birthday of the GRM (Groupe De Recherches Musicales), founded in the 1958 by Pierre Schaffer. The GRM is a pioneering French public centre in electroacoustic research who has gathered composers like Iannis Xenakis, Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, Luc Ferrari…
Acousmonium at the MPAA in Paris
Music Concrète was founded on the idea that an area exists “beyond the sounds” and we can capture this by recording the sounds on a microphone. Listening to these sounds without a visual image concentrates the sound and our perception is reduced to that of ‘pure listening’. Schaeffer was extremely fascinated with the difference between what is conceived and what is perceived, he refered to this as the seperator power.
He found that some noises could become a sound object when their anecdotal charater could be masked while other noises kept their dramamtic character and it was impossible to erase recognition of their source completely. The approach to Music Concrète was in many ways based upon the idea of Faktura and other theoretical protcols of the Russian Constructivists. The Faktura has been defined as “a material knowingly chosen and rationally deployed“. Schaeffer implemented the Faktura of Constructivism to turn the sound event into “the musical object, material that was pure sound“.
The sound system used for the performance is the Acousmonium, is designed in 1974 by François Bayle and used originally by the GRM at the Maison de Radio France. It consists of 80 loudspeakers of differing size and shape, and was designed for tape playback.