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Inoculate? - Kasper Teodor Toeplitz

The trouble with statements of intent—always written well before the composition of the piece has begun—is that they are only that: intentions, somewhat abstract, located in a sort of virtual reality far from what music itself is, far from the work with the musicians, from the vividness of sounds, the accumulation of time, the confrontation between what one is doing and what one is living, with the surrounding world.

The encounter—made as much in the studio, with instruments, as simply human, discussions around a cup of coffee—with the Journal Intime trio quickly shifted the structure or the idea of the work. To me, it seems important if not essential not to write for such and such instrument but for such and such person. And if this musician has chosen the trumpet whereas someone else drags around a bass saxophone (and given the bulk of a bass saxophone, “dragging around” is certainly the appropriate term), it is only a matter of chance; it is already a look at the world and a place in it. So afterwards, no, one does not write what the performers are familiar with or enjoy playing—a composer likes only too much to assert his world and his own vision of it—but tries to lead them to apprehend and appreciate what is being proposed to them: seeing one’s own sonority, the fruit of years of work, as if exploded from the inside, a dynamiting of sound particles by the other’s playing, the instruments blend into a single one, a monstrous hybrid in which each one exploits the other. The interconnection, made possible thanks to the change by computer, is certainly not a common experience, but when the musicians go along with the game, immerse themselves in it, and seek to make present the structure of the whole even more than their role within it, you know you are on the right track, you know that you are endeavouring to create music. And even more, when you hear the musicians tell you that that work is influencing their own projects and practices.

The inclusion of dance in this piece was obvious from the beginning but, above all, not as a danced part (that the music would have accompanied?) but rather as another instrument. The dancer, placed on the same level as the other musicians, the wind trio or myself with my digital machines, becomes a musician, producing—via motion sensors placed on her—perturbations in the overly perfect, overly reproducible commands, electronic transformations brought to the instruments’ sounds, a veritable “ghost in the machine”, a spirit or phantom constantly interacting with the commands, with the sculpture of sounds. That is to say, in another moment, a short solo and moment of calmness, producing, always through movement, slowed down to the extreme, her own audio noise and the filtration of it, like a recitative or threnody of gesture. Just like right before the trombone, equipped with identical sensors, translating the movement in space into a continuous flow of digital data (what I call “data-noise”), played sounds that it exploited itself at the same time. The same action, the same means: who is dancing and who is playing? Both, no doubt. And here, the performer/composer complicity also came into it, more or less, in that the dancer–musician had two scores to follow: one of sound and the other of gesture, the latter written by Myriam Gourfink, and the complicity stemming from years of working together guaranteed the imperceptible transition from gesture to sound.

Inoculate? is the result of these few months of work, of transitions from the idea of the sound written on “electronic paper” and its emergence from the loudspeakers, from the acoustic sound of the instruments and their interference by the Zeros and Ones of the computer. It is also the accumulations, always “live” and in the time of the music, of multiple copies of what each one does or is, up to the point of creating a sound wall teeming with multiple saxophones, trumpets and trombones in a seemingly static bloc— and, as to relate the whole to the instability of the world or to our humanity, the constant interference, the noise of the actions.

Kasper T. Toeplitz