Space-Junk - Lucas Fagin International Festival of Contemporary Music Warsaw Autumn

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La musique de demain sera spatiale, les sons donneront l’impression de décrire des trajectoires dans l’espace, de se situer dans un univers sonore en relief. 

Edgard Varèse 

The first attempts at schematic musical spatialisation took place in Europe in the sixteenth century with antiphonal vocal works by Giovanni Gabrieli and Thomas Tallis. A few other attempts were made in the following centuries, but it was not until the twentieth century that a large number of composers began to work around the creation of a spatial imaginary. 

In 2003, I attended a concert in which was played Terretektorh (1966) by Iannis Xenakis, for an orchestra of 88 musicians deployed among the audience.

This experience impressed me deeply and pushed me to work around musical spatialisation since the year 2004 by composing a series of works. Space-Junk takes the Terretektorh spatialisation device model as a benchmark. 

In Space-Junk, the writing and the precision of the spatial writing is organic and detailed. One of the main axes of the project was to build an almost electroacoustic precision spatialisation device, with twenty-two musicians scattered among the audience as if it were an electroacoustic di usion device composed of twenty-two loudspeakers. is is the main reason why I picked up a string orchestra: I needed homogeneous tone colour throughout the space. 

This spatial device allowed me to freely build continuous sound displacements applying superposed dynamic envelopes, spatial counterpoints or canons, translucent spatial textures, perspective effects, three-dimensional stationary images, or processes such as progressive occupation and inversely. 

Writing the piece was a big challenge, a labyrinth.

There is not a single sound that has not been designed and placed in the spatial logic of the work.

As listening varies according to the position of the listener, spatialisation underlines the subjectivity of music listening.

Thus there are not only as many possible ways of listening as listeners, but each listener is able to listen to as many “versions” of the piece as there are available seats in the concert hall. This emphasises the subjective character of listening.

In Space-Junk the sound is always clay, manipulated plastic material. This clay is filtered throughout the work through casts to create almost tactile music through various spatial torsions. 

Marco Stroppa wrote in his article Space and Figure (Paris, 1991): “Space, with its ambiguity and its impalpable side, is undeniably one of the great equivocals of music, and not just contemporary. Adored by some, despised by others, this strange dimension has repeatedly burst into past and present creation, with success that is sometimes exhilarating, sometimes bitter, sometimes frankly doubtful. How can these contrasting performances be explained? How far to push research and thus provoke our imagination?” 

Lucas Fagin