Spatiality: another critical point in the Elements music is the use of particular places and spaces assigned to sounds. In Francium and other alkali metal musics there is a variety of spatially moving sounds, not just by ping pong echoes but in much more complicated ways. Often such placement is linked to gates and envelopes derived from the sounds themselves. Not only is this music created by the creation and by the composition of sounds, but it is also largely composed by composing a virtual space for each of these sounds and for a virtual space created by all of this together. As opposed to a live performance of music in a certain room or hall which is in itself not composed nor part of the music itself, here the space is very much a part of the composition, and this can be a different experience in a room through speakers: sounds will appear to not really come from the speakers. A final element is the always intentional semi-permeability in van Dillen’s electronic music: this music is intended to sound in and with the world around, so random surround “noise” shall be incorporated into the listening experience.Continue reading →
Haunting pulsations are the basis of the music of Caesium. A long and extremely slow crescendo begins the music, and in mirror fashion, a long and slow diminuendo al niente ends it. The sounds used have been created using a semi modular synthesis, involving a virtual modeling.
Whereas music normally sounds against a background of time, this music suggests sounds on the inside of time itself.Continue reading →
Though similar to Potassium, Rubidium has no function in any known living organisms. Yet is easily absorbed into the human body due to this similarity and thus a radioactive isotope of it is used in MRI imaging.
In technology Rb is sometimes used in solar cells, and a possible projected future use might be in deep space exploration, as it would enable the creation of ion drives, which effectively inspired the music in this album.Continue reading →
While the music of Natrium resembles a somewhat singular obstinate idea travelling through various spaces, each time adapting to its environment, it always has an undercurrent of time, suggested fast rhythm, and even haste and a sense of speed and hurrying. The tempo of the music of Natrium resembles the Jazz concept of forward motion (fast music without fixed structures in time). Such pulsations, sometimes resembling rhythm, but always with a certain drive, play a role in all the alkali elements, most of all in Caesium, the atomic resonances of which have been used in extremely precise atomic clocks since the second half of the 20th century. The music of Kalium has slower basic pulsations overall, and even seems to pause at times, but it does share the traveling through environments we heard in the Natrium music. The sounds often evoke suggestions of life, both animal and plant life, sometimes even quasi-intelligible voices can be heard, as well as the environment with which all life is interconnected, and depends upon.Continue reading →
This acousto-electronic Symphony concerning whale languages makes use of hybrid technologies, using mostly sampled sound in coordination with pure synthesis and electronic modulations. The sampled sounds are of musical instruments: violin, viola, cello, contrabass, flute, oboe, clarinet, trumpet, piano, vibraphone, harp, and percussion, among which are timpani. These have been changed and modulated to alter their pitch, their sound, and in the case of longer samples, their phrasing.
No samples of whale and dolphin sounds were used at all. In other words, the composer tried to “speak whale”, to “speak dolphin”, using human means, human musical instruments, and contemporary musical technology.Continue reading →
Well known and very visible applications of Al are in the construction of practically all airplanes and helicopters, and high voltage wire systems, it is the sounds of these two that lie at the heart of the music presented on this album. The sound of fast or pressurized air recreated by intense noise, and the sound of wires sounding, recreated by electronic triggers modulated by the noise bursts on to piano strings, by means of a specially designed module van Dillen named transverter.Continue reading →
“The new BIG STORIES are all told by science, their scope is vast, and their telling has only begun relatively recently. We are daily getting updates on answers to all the ancient basic questions of life that inspired human art, cultures, and religions for millennia, and we are getting verifiable answers this time. Most important is perhaps that we are also facing completely new questions.
It is high time the old myths and beliefs are abandoned and replaced by contemporary, that is to say: scientific sources of information, imagination, and inspiration. The vast field of modern science is far more complex, has a verifiable and direct relation to reality, and it offers a far greater abundance of possible stories and references for artists in all disciplines than any older belief or myth system, however poetic, could ever come up with.
In our times we need new and innovative operas and symphonies, whether electronically or no; let these forget the simpler stories of our past and use these new narrative sources of our present and future for reference and inspiration.”
–Oscar van DillenContinue reading →
The music of Indium contains very slow transitions with pantonal use of tanpuras, suggesting the world of the traditional transparent element of Akasha, prior to and behind the ragas in which these instruments are usually employed. In opposition to their traditional use here the many tanpuras take an almost melodic role, meanwhile keeping their normal harmonic horizon function. The music is developing so slowly that discerning its overall long form is a challenge to the attentive listener, and the sections created in this album can help as a guide.
van Dillen, with a background of years of studies in Hindustani music, has long had a vision of a larger work featuring many tanpuras on many pitch classes, and here it is to last: Indium.
Van Dillen composes the method of composition as much as he composes the music itself. There is a double layer of composition here, leading to a way of working adapted to each composition: a good process yields the best possible result at all times. It is a method, not a system.
As a logical consequence, a lot of attention is spent on the way of working, and the method of creation itself is an essential focus, next to the actual result. In the completion of a work a variety of professional skills are needed. A blend of skills comes into play: there are sound design and electronic skills along with knowing repertoire and music history, knowledge of styles globally (traditional, classical, jazz, world music and pop), and finally instrumental and musical theoretical knowledge are needed. Sometimes such processes build upon one another sequentially, as is the case in the music of the Alkali Earth Metal Elements: gradually a way of working was discovered which was then developed along with the compositions created.
The yellow-colored layer was used to simulate a kind of Brownian motion bass register, in which many possibilities can be heard simultaneously. Going far beyond the 1950’s and 60’s deterministic avant-garde experiments by Xenakis, this is a true music of possibilities and probabilities, especially in the sense that it plays with the probability an attentive listener will hear or not hear certain phenomena.
One of the phenomena one can possibly hear is a very fast tempo driving the music in an almost free-jazz forward motion, not arising from bass progressions nor percussive sounds, but from the structured chaos of the interacting registers, which are polyphonically tied together. All in all the music of Barium yields an extremely intense listening experience. Despite the space it also offers, the listener can be overwhelmed by the stream of sound. As to the space one hears enveloping the sound: in the production of this work no added reverb at all was used, space was created with polyphonic and micro-canonic means.
The music of Beryllium is a free pantonal polyphony of registers rather than of pitches or linear melodies. Registers used include the extremes, and extend far beyond the instrumentally feasible – a true electronic music therefore. One can clearly discern the references to outer space.
Whereas the music of Calcium (an important organic chemical component) is very much a musica humana instrumentalis by virtue of its registers and sounds, Beryllium (not part of vital organic chemistry) is represented by an opposite musical approach, much more abstract, and not resembling human instrumental music at all.
With the extensive presence of a variety of musical events in extreme registers, both high and low (the composer used 9 such distinct registers xtreme hi – very hi – hi – hi mid – mid – lo mid – lo – very lo – xtreme lo, the outer 4 of which are not found in instrumental music), in a way this music represents the emancipation of timbre to tone.
The challenge with innovative contemporary music made for listening per se such as this album, lies in a challenge to connect in a free way, and go through the steps of open perception and appreciation individually, without recipe, without a priori dos and don’ts, without expectations but with memories, with a sense of exploration as in starting a new novel or unknown movie without spoilers:
1. Observe – hear everything, don’t be distracted, be aware of what happens in the various registers of time, tone, timbre, space, and volume (the range of each is much larger than with instrumental music): try to imprint what you hear into memory, ask yourself what is it objectively that I heard?
2. Evaluate – can you perceive every form distinctly enough, some things may be harder to hear, or are sounds that affect you emotionally or even physically: observe and evaluate the effect of it.
3. Interpret – observe your mind creating associations of its own: they are yours and not in the music itself yet are created by the music in you personally.