Wandering Rocks / Commodity Music CD


This is at last the cover of the CD of Wandering Rocks / Commodity Music, released in December 2016!

Wandering Rocks is a piece conceived for four electric guitars and 27 loud speakers in 2014. The source of the prerecorded sounds is mainly synthesis elaborated with an analog modular synth called SERGE, in La Muse en Circuit.
This piece, about 35 minutes long, is not meant for concert halls, because it is not frontal, but for a large room which can welcome a moving (wandering) audience: the public can walk between the loudspeakers, which are disposed in concentric circles, and between the guitarists, who are in the smallest circle, therefore surrounded by the loudspeakers. All the loudspeakers play distinct sound sources, so that the result evokes a moving ocean of sound waves and musical figures traveling in space, as well as in time.
The title comes from a chapter from Ulysses, by James Joyce, entitled "Wandering Rocks". Joyce´s voice, reading a short excerpt from Ulysses is heard in the second half of the piece.





Commodity Music is a music installation/concert realized for Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in 2016. It uses electronic material extracted from Wandering Rocks, as well as its time frame, but the guitar parts are radically different.
Moreover, texts and videos have been added and build up a completely new work.
The subject of the piece (as described in the libretto samples given below) is to represent the musicians in various sound actions, put under the common auspices of their UTILITY.







It´s a sad truth that music per se is disappearing from our life (after poetry), because of our difficulties to focus on an exclusive and demanding concentration to listen to it. It is replaced or diluted in videos, commercials, movies, etc, when in parallel the musician is more and more iconic – although his or her distinction shrinks.
In Commodity Music, the space is also different from the one of Wandering Rocks, since the audience can now move in different rooms, where each musician has some tasks. The premiere of Commodity Music took place in the Design Haus in Darmstadt, and was followed by a performance of Wandering Rocks, in the adjacent garden.








A CD is certainly problematic to fully represent a work which was on the one hand an immersive sonic experience, and on the other hand linked to a political/satirical dramaturgy, expressed via movements, videos and projected texts.
This recording, therefore, is a third easy-teenage version of this material, devoted to a stereo elate-by-night entertainment.
Elements from both pieces have been used, as well as another time organization, because the movement of the listener in Wandering Rocks as in Commodity Music require another musical pace.

François Sarhan
sept. 7, 2016

Kein, some words





KEIN is a music theatre show which stages four string musicians, traditionnally associated in the iconic ensemble called string quartet. But KEIN doesn´t explore once more what a string quartet is, but more gives some oblique lights on what it is not. All the muscians for instance play on a Stroh instrument, which is a string instrument with a membrane and a horn, originally conceived in the beginning of the XXth century. Each musician also has a  strong vocal part, moves on stage, swaps instruments, which already deterritorialize the classical string quartet. So one theme of the show is to reflect on this musical form and genre, the string quartet, which represents (supposidely) the summum in western classical music, from Beethoven on. Here this icon is put upside down, not only because the musicians are required to do unuasal actions, but also because the text they speak mainly deals with oppression, disrespect, identity loss and rivalty. The authors are Derrida, anonymous (a black sportman commenting on his perfornance and his team, and colored woman insulted in a Mc Donald), Malcolm X discussing his name origins. This whole disparate set of conversations and statements, which are not very optimistic, are interfering with a music that i elaborated from a quotation from Gabriel Fauré. This french composer is one of the finest of his period, and he is also very typical of the french raffined "salon" music of the XIX century. This quotation works as a "home marker", which means that it brings us to where the classical string quartet stands, and offers a great contrast and space for the voices and the real world to appear.

KEIN

 When i say “i", who is speaking? When i speak, there is a “plurivocity”, if you like, a braid of voices, which make my voice hearable. As soon as i speak - as soon as one speaks - a chorus starts, not only of the people who have come before me (who could have influenced me); not only of the people who will follow me, that i carry within me, but also the distant ones, the ones who are here, invisible, far or not so far away.
Similarly, as soon as i act, as soon as i do something, this action dissolves into a common gesture, without beginning nor end. Here is music: this undecidable space in between the individual and the collective, which is forever the same, already known, and ready to be recognized, re-enacted, in an endless future.




This show is to be premiered in Aberdeen on 29th of october 2016, performed by the Red Note Ensemble.
In here, there is no video, but a lot of text and string instruments with a new shape. Actually not so new since most of them are from the Stroh family.




they are integrated into a paper scenography which tends to blur their limits.






Behind one can see a small pipe organ. There are two in total.





 Here three organs are visible, but only two will be used in the end.

















This is a name i´d lime to hold. And the function, of course.







The 3d aspect of the printed paper is meant to bring a floating effect on stage.








oh my gosh am i late? ! so much hard work!! all the time in rehearsal and....
and so much belief in ME!... and that they believe in me makes me believe for them... i can´t even explain how... how i was there, how fortunate i was how i have such a great team that believes in me... you know and working in there... it´s us anyway... and you know nothing else matter... what happens after, what happens before, only matters what happens at that moment... there s lot of time of practice, there s lot of time after the show when i m thinking "now you must make it happen right now, can t be tomorrow, can t be an hour ago". It must be now! now!

















-what s your name ?
-my name ? my name is Robert Irvine!
-is that your legal name ?
-as far as i m concerned, it is my legal name
- have you been to court to establish such a name?
- i didn t have to go to court to be called murphy or Jones or smith, excuse me to dismiss you this way
if a chinese person says he s called Patrick murphy, you look at him as he is insane, because Murphy is an irish name, a European name, or the name which has a Caucasian or a white background. And a Chinese is a yellow man, and he has nothing to do, no connection whatsoever with the name Murphy. And if it doesn t look proper for some one who is yellow, or Chinese, to be walking around with name like Murphy, Jones or Johnson, or Bunch or Power, i think it would be just as improper for a black person, for a so called negro in this country as we are told by this honorable Mohammad to walk around with these names, and therefore he teaches us that during slavery, the last slave master who owned us put his last name on us to denote that we were his property. for if you see a negro today who is named Johnson, if you go back in his history, you ll find that it was once his grandfather or one of his fore fathers was once owned by a white man named Johnson.
- would you mind telling us what your father s last name was.
- my father didn t know his last name. my father got his last name from his grand father, etc, who got it from his slave master. the real name of our people were destroyed.
- was there any line, any point in genealogy of your family where you did have to use the last name, and so what was it?
- the last name of my fore father was taken from them when they were brought to America and made slaves. and then, the name of the slave master was given, that we refuse, we reject this last name today
- you mean you won t even tell me what your father s supposed last name was, or gifted last name was?
- i ve never acknowledged it whatsoever.

new percussion duet

To come, a new piece for 2 percussionists:




It will last about 11 mn, and will use massive body percussion, text (inspired from André Breton), some instruments (2 cow bells, 1 crotal, 1 small cymbal, 1 set of small indian bells, 2 blocks), and props: 2 knives and 2 hammers.