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NAMELESS SOUND presents ÉLIANE RADIGUE: Tape Music

1318 W 26th St
(713) 928-5653
  • Presented By: Nameless Sound
  • Dates: 12/10/2019
  • Location: Live Oak Friends Meeting House
  • Address: 1318 W 26th St
  • Phone: (713) 928-5653
  • Time: 7:30 PM to 11:59 PM
  • Price: General seating. Donations accepted at event.
  • Admission: General seating. Donations accepted at event.
  • Area of Town: Northwest
  • overview

    Éliane Radigue (b. 1932) is a pioneering French composer of undulating continuous music marked by patient, virtually imperceptible transformations that purposefully unfold to reveal the intangible, radiant contents of minimal sound—its partials, harmonics, subharmonics and inherent distortions. As a student and assistant to musique concrète pioneers Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Radigue mastered tape splicing techniques, but preferred the creation of fluid, delicately balanced feedback works to the spasmodic dissonance of her teachers’ music. Finding peers among minimalist composers in America, Radigue began working with synthesis in 1970, eventually discovering the ARP 2500 synthesizer, which she would use exclusively for her celebrated electronic works to come. With remarkable restraint, Radigue spent years on each piece, painstakingly assembling series of subtle, pulsating ARP recordings to be later mixed meticulously into hourlong suites of precise, perpetual mutation, including masterpieces Trilogie de la mort and Adnos I-III. In 2001, Radigue adapted an early feedback work to live performance on electric bass, Elemental II, and in 2004, with the encouragement of ongoing collaborator Charles Curtis, she permanently abandoned electronics for acoustic composition, beginning with Naldjorlak for solo cello, composed for Curtis. As within each individual work, Radigue has maintained an obstinate focus throughout the flow of her career, her dedication to the materiality of sound earning her numerous accolades and ensuring her place as one of the most important composers of our time. Between 1969 and 1970, Éliane Radigue created a series of works of variable and infinite duration in her home studio in Paris. Made with three tape recorders, a mixing board, an amplifier, two loudspeakers, and a microphone, Ursal, Omnht, Σ = a = b = a + b, and Vice-Versa, etc… consist of microphone and tape recorder feedback, reworked through studio techniques such as slowing down and reversal of direction. Recorded onto magnetic tape meant for simultaneous playback in loops of different durations, Radigue presented these eternally mutating works under the guise of Propositions Sonores in museums and galleries, anticipating the contemporary practice of sound installation. Created in 1970 as a multiple in an edition of ten for the Lara Vincy Gallery in Paris, Vice-Versa, etc… was Radigue’s final feedback loop composition. It is comprised of a single magnetic stereo tape with hand-written instructions for diffusion suggesting that any combination of channels—right channel alone, left channel alone, or both channels together—can be overlapped, on several recorders, at any playback speed, forward or backward, ad libitum. As part of the program, cellist Charles Curtis will lead a workshop pertaining to Vice-Versa, etc…. Acknowledged internationally as a performer of new and experimental music, Curtis was the first performer to collaborate with Radigue on a work for an unamplified, acoustic instrument without electronic support or accompaniment and is her longest-running collaborator. Created between 1985 and 1993, Trilogie de la Mort is considered by many to be Éliane Radigue’s masterpiece. An extended sonic meditation on death informed by Radigue’s dedicated engagement with Tibetan Buddhism, the piece is made up of three hour-long ARP 2500 synthesizer compositions: Kyema, Kailasha, and Koumé. Kyema, the first piece of the trilogy, was inspired by the Bardo Thodol, or Tibetan Book of the Dead, with six sections reflecting the six bardos, or intermediate states of life and death which constitute the existential continuity of a being. Vice-Versa, etc… and Kyema will be diffused using newly produced reel-to-reel tape editions of the original masters, part of a series produced by Blank Forms in New York in collaboration with Radigue for the high quality presentation of her work. Vice-Versa, etc… and Kyema are part of Éliane Radigue: Intermediate States, a retrospective curated by Lawrence Kumpf and Charles Curtis and developed in collaboration with Éliane Radigue for Blank Forms in New York. The retrospective seeks to present Radigue’s practice in a richly contextualized, holistic manner to draw out important connections between her early and late periods of work, examining the breadth of her practice and juxtaposing her compositions with new interpretations and experimental re-stagings by contemporary composers. The retrospective will continue in New York with more programs into 2020.

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