Sermon on files and vile springs - Henry Vega
duration - 8'27''
for voice and live electronics
In the Sermon on files and vile springs Vega creates a digital language that covers the spectrum between noise and pure sine creating a style that can be described as micro-minimal with a passion towards machine-kind. Basing himself on this sound-world he composed the piece using 'block' gestures. The musicians are expected to perform 'boxed' musical materials until they are cue'd to move on to the next box, the decision to move on is left open to the musicians in order to create a different type of tension in the show which changes between each performance. The piece is stripped down from the idea of lyrical lines, replacing them instead with automatic instruments triggered to match an equally automatic vocal part.
Intoning of the text became the characteristic approach of the piece. Inspired by religious intoning, the vocal part is kept in continuous monotone lines with the purpose of creating progression through the density of the musical materials.
The text of the piece, as mentioned before, is inspired by futurist ideas present in a text given to me by Georg Hobmeier. This text was then 'processed' in a way that allows repetitions of each word in patterns that let the original text slowly unravel. For instance "through the canopy of chemical canons" became "through the through canopy the canopy the of canopy of canopy chemical of chemical of canons". What the process creates is a rhythmic intensity which is complex yet comfortable to perform due to the notation. The degree of processing of the text then becomes a musical tool leaving the text untouched at crucial points during the composition.
The computer part works according to the 'boxed' music approach and is inspired by simplicity both musically and technically. The pitch content is purposely minimal and which creates a musical challenge: building progression in the music based on density of only a few (3) notes. Here electronic sounds which go from very pitched (sine wave) to 'pitched yet noisy' are generated at each cue in different octaves and either start or stop without fading or swelling; the electronics are performed in block dynamics, layering instruments throughout the piece.
The electronics are performed live using SuperCollider and a hand-drum pad controller which lets the electronics performer interact with the processes being triggered at any moment. The visual element is also performed by the live electronics musician on stage and is reactive to the voice.