Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Nicolas Bernier / Jacques Poulin-Denis - Etude #3 pour cordes et poulies

The worlds of electroacoustic composition and dance are not ones that most people would expect to overlap.... what circumstances bring them together here? Why do you think they fit?

For us, electroacoustic music is as relevant to dance as instrumental music, if not more. Music is music. Electroacoustic music can offer a lot of space, where instrumental music can be more independant and stand alone. This quality, the aptness for ambience, is appealing for choreographers who are looking to encompass their visual work with a supportive soundscape. The fundamental link that unites music and dance is movement. Music is movement. Dance and Electroacoustic music are the composition of gestures that exist in time and space and become meaningful when being shown and heard. Thus, the wonderful union.

Unlike many electroacoustic works these pieces have definite melodic and harmonic elements that move things along besides the acousmatic sound elements... is this more indicative of how the music is being used as an accompaniment to movement, or is it a primary aesthetic choice in itself?

The use of tonic sounds (notes) is definitely intentional, almost even a STATEMENT. Electroacoustic music went through a period of total rupture with music from the past, but we don't believe in this detachment. Our music is the result of many influences including instrumental melody and harmony. The other reason why you will find tonic sounds in our music is that we use a lot of musical instruments as source material in our music. Electroacoustic music is about timbre and sonority, but for us the most beautiful timbres are often those of instruments that were made to be musical. All other found sounds, only widen timbral possibilities and add a level of allusion.

Outside of the academic world it usually is associated with the general public often has difficulty grasping the concepts at play in electroacoustic music... do you believe there is a strength/purity in this distance from "pop culture" or is it too self-enclosed?

This is a BIG question that points to many things. We don't really identify with genres, but believe they are important. Even if it's not obvious in the music, these labels have a heavy influence on music. The Academics do research that always influence at a certain point in time pop music, just like pop music has always influenced "academic music". We only have to think of the loop now dominant in pop music, but discovered in a radio research studio. Personally we are very influenced by pop music. It's difficult not to be!

Do we believe in distance from pop culture? We believe in the quality of arts and research. That which aspires to bring music-creation further than pop music does. We believe in the purity of elctroacoustic music, close to being the only type of music solely based on LISTENING and not on performance. You have to be a REAL music fan to listen to this type of music because the concept of performance is kept irrelevant. We don't believe in the confinement of Electroacoustic music. If we want to understand the world that surrounds us, we have to be able to dialogue with others who constitute it. Academicians would gain by attending more pop music concerts, and that pop culture (also secluded in its own world, even if the mass is larger) should experience more research-based art. Wouldn't that be wonderful!?!?

The Ekumen collective supports creativity across different art forms, primarily in digital media... do you think it's possible for creative groups to flourish exclusively online or is an extension into the real world also necessary? What are difficulties you've faced when exposing your works to a greater audience?

It's possible for a collective to flourish solely through the internet... but how awfully boring! The reason behind Ekumen is to show that we are not just artists trapped in front of their machines. We also collaborate amongst ourselves, amongst humans.

Again, for a better world, human communication, physical communication is essential. Our work only begins to make sense when exposed in the REAL life, meeting REAL people, and not when we meander through the web.
Nicolas Bernier / Jacques Poulin-Denis - Etude #3 pour cordes et poulies (Ekumen)

Some of Nicolas Bernier & Jacques Poulin-Denis' favourite things from 2007:

- Absolute no.1 : The 3rd String Quartet of Henryk Gorecki recorded by Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch label)

- Absolute no.2: the DVD on Foley Room by Amon Tobin. He worked the same way electroacoustic composers have been working for 50 years. The thing is that on this DVD, he's making field recording look really cool! ...Something that electroacoustic composers have always wanted to do. Let a mass of people know that electroacoustic music is cool! (except Pierre Henry in the 70's I think but I wasn't born yet!).

- Absolute no.3 : Grand Corps Malade. A french slam poet.

- DJ Socalled : man this guy is groovin'!

- The Me, Mom & Morgantaler reunion : we want more!

- Louis Dufort : Matériaux composés

- Dillinger Escape Plan : the song "Sick On Sunday" on their latest album is just crazy!!

- Luc Ferrari : Didascalie. My favorite composer of all time. The Sub Rosa edition includes a documentary DVD on his work which is cool.

- Timber Timbre : Medecinal

- Sandro Perri : Tiny Mirrors

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