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Fremdkörper #3 (mit Michael Jackson) - Stefan Prins

A year before I started to write Fremdkörper #3 (mit Michael Jackson) Michael Jackson, The King of Pop, deceased. His music and video clips have had a tremendous impact on popular culture, and his personal life was at least as iconic as his music. I still remember the moment that I saw for the very first time, as a teenager, the videoclip of Thriller. I never saw anything like it before! And I remember that the image I got of him after seeing this clip got ever more distorted over the following years when seeing images of the continuous metamorphosis of his physical appearance. When composing this piece, I realised that Michael Jackson was just a perfect illustration of a “fremdkörper,” in the original sense of the word (foreign body). Therefore Fremdkörper #3 became a kind of distorted “in memoriam” for Michael Jackson.

All of the electronic sounds in this composition were generated using homemade soundprocessing techniques on several intros of Michael Jackson songs. That the raw material consists (only) of these intros, becomes only apparent for brief moments during the piece. During these moments, the electronic sounds become a clear “fremdkörper” within the context of the piece—and that of most “contemporary classical music.” Or vice versa: the instrumentally produced sounds become a clear “fremdkörper” in relation to the electronic sounds. As much as medical sciences have altered Jackson’s original appearance, the sound processes in this composition change and deteriorate the “sound body” of the intros of his songs. Besides, there is the constant play between the instrumental actions and the electronical sounds, in order to create a continuum of changes in perception: is what you see (or hear) really what you get? Furthermore, the concept of Fremdkörper is ubiquitous in most of my compositions, in the sense that I continuously insert strange objects / “fremdkörper”—mainly everyday objects, like aluminium pizza dishes, clothing pegs, and so forth—into the instruments to alter the way they are being played and hence the way that they are perceived.

Stefan Prins