Tazelaar, Kees

Tazelaar is by far the most important practitioner of autonomous electronic music of his generation. In his work, he reconciles modern techniques with the thinking and principles of some 50 ...

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Torso : 1998 / Kees Tazelaar

Publisher: Amsterdam: MuziekGroep Nederland, 2004
Publisher's number: 10913
Genre: Chamber music
Subgenre: Electronic music
Instruments: soundtrack
Remarks: Elektronische muziek. - Tijdsduur: 22'11''
Duration: 23'00"
Status: not yet digitized (expected delivery time 14 days)

Program note (English): Two-track version on CD CV-NEAR 13. Four-track performance tape is available at Donemus. This CD is not intended for concert performance. Although on the level of sound synthesis and structure there is hardly any relationship between my earlier analog "Depths of Field" pieces and "Torso", there is one common aspect: All the sound material is organized into a family tree that shows how every material group is derived directly or indirectly from a source material by means of transformation processes.

Since in the "Depths of Field" pieces, this source was an aleatoric 'structure', little had to be composed after all the material groups were produced; neighboring relationships were guaranteed by the source structure and the 'transparency' for this structure of the transformation processes. The large form consequently emerged from within the sound material by placing transformation results in a specific 'order'.

In Torso however, the source material consisted of a set of separate concrete violin sounds.
In recording these, no professional player was involved. Instead, a very sensitive contact microphone was placed at the bridge of the instrument after which a rich variety of quite abstract sound material could be produced by just touching the body (torso) in different ways. A continuous recording of approx. 15 minutes was later spliced into 19 segments, that again were sub-divided into a, b, c...
The separate sounds were then all transformed one by one by means of the various transformation processes, resulting in new material groups with an equal amount of separate sounds. For the sound transformations I have used a program written by Digidesign called "Turbosynth". This program recalculates samples in RAM on the bases of graphically 'patched' modules that can each consist of a certain audio function like ring-modulation, filtering, enveloping, transposition, time stretching/compression, spectral inversion etc.

Although having a complex micro structure, the resulting sounds show no musical development in themselves; every single sound or sound transformation represents a more or less static 'field'. In order to create a large form that was musically meaningful, I felt that an additional structural principle had to be 'superimposed' onto the material after all the sound transformations had been executed. For this purpose the computer composition program"Projekt 1" by Gottfried Michael Koenig was used.

Inside the program, the parameters of a musical structure are calculated on the bases of a number of 'processes', that varies from very 'irregular' (1) resulting in 'rows' without repetition of list values, to very regular (7) allowing a certain maximum of value repetitions. After all the input data has been entered (this includes addressing a separate process number to every parameter), the computer calculates an output structure that can be read on the screen or printed in the form of a list.

Although PR 1 has an obvious instrumental context, I saw possibilities in using the program to organize my sound material by re-interpreting the score-output parameters. I felt free to do so since parameter structures are calculated independently in PR 1 (during which the computer does not 'know' what it is calculating anyway); the parameters only become specific by means of a fixed 'interpretation' in the first place. - KEES TAZELAAR

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