Saturday, January 3, 2009
and/OAR interview: oSone
Corey Fuller talks with oSone about their
work and the latest CD entitled "Passerelle"
released on and/OAR.
*This is the second of an ongoing series of artist interviews
revolving around the latest releases on the and/OAR label,
conducted by sound artist Corey Fuller.
CF: Could you please briefly explain your individual/collective activities
previous to this work?
O: We all have a musical background connected to musique concrète,
field recordings and improvisation. Listening to the most usual and
being open to the unexpected is the most important for all of us.
Recording environments and composing with these sounds is a common
element in our practices. But Christophe has also an instrument-based
background, meanwhile Hughes has experience in sound installations,
and Yannick has an obsession for nature sounds...
CF: Could you briefly explain the background of this particular
ensemble/group? How did this particular collaboration come about?
Do you all have a shared interested in site specific works?
O: The first experiments we did were the answer to an invitation to
make a site-specific work in Passerelle, a center of art in Brest. This
beautiful building is quite wide and is a former fruit and vegetable
cooperative. For preparing this work, Christophe let us invade his
mother's farm. There, in an abandonned shed, we experimented all
together with vibrations of found materials. Separately we already
had tried alternative ways of producing sounds without the help of
regular loudspeakers : Hughes was using parabolic home-made
speakers, Christophe was working with piezo-ceramic discs buried
into polystirene stuff, and Yannick was enjoying objects resonance
with the use of low-frequency vibrators. We wanted to confront our
first attempts into a collective work that would be specifically
connected to an architectural place. As field recordists, all of us have
a high interest for uncontrolled recording sessions, outdoor. Because
field recording is a kind of dialogue, of a real-time relationship to
our environment, through listening. Site-specific works are, in a way,
the composer's counterpart of these field recording activities.
CF: Regarding, 'Passerelle', what was your inspiration for coaxing
sounds/harmonies/melodies from this building/structure? Was your
intention to draw/direct one's attention to the sounds inherent and
imbedded in structures like this, or was your intention to coax music
out of these structures, or something else?
O: Usually when invited into a gallery, one would make a plan then
realize it, then open the space to the public. Because we were invited
to make a one-week long intervention we could not use such a process.
So we decided to make a hybrid between a performance, an exhibition
and some pedagogic activities. Which means that we didn't stop
working in the place, sleeping inside, during one week. Sometimes
some musicians were coming to work with us, temporarily, sometimes
some students with their teachers were visiting us. Three persons is
enough to make these parallel activities. And moreover, we were able
to test different acoustic systems (from home-made speakers to
microphone feedback), improvising on them, composing in the space
for the space. We had a series of recording sessions, by night,
documenting the various steps of the work. Nothing was planned in
term of sounds or composition before entering the place, we just had
intuitions about how to make the space resonate.
CF: There are moments in the work where you seem to be 'playing' the
building/structure and the space as if it were an instrument. How did
you approach this structure in creating this work? Was it treated as a
fourth member of your ensemble that you were collaborating with,
more like an instrument or something entirely else?
O: In this space, we had about 6 or 7 places ready for playing with.
Each one had its own specificities, offering its own way of
playing-the-building. We wandered through long improvisations, it
gave us a lot of combinations to play with. It's so interresting to react
to what the others are doing while hearing them through two rooms
with 20 seconds of concrete reverberation! Working in this way also
avoids keeping a kind of center room, from where we would control all
the sounds. It forces us to move and test different locations, in a
similar way to the audience.
For sure the building was much more than an acoustic space or an
instrument. We built a very strange relationship to this architecture:
because we almost didn't get out of it during one week, permanently
listening to it and thinking of its sound. And trying to reveal its
potential voices, testing its reaction to our own electronic voices. We
were using it as an extension of our musical tools, as an extension of
our equipment. But, of course, it had its own resistance, its
limitations. Or maybe we felt like if we were ourselves the sonic
extension of this building. Maybe not unlike a boat for a sailor...
CF: I'm curious as to the process behind 'Passerelle'....Are these
sounds purely amplified and rendered in their raw state or are they
processed further? How much processing/post-processing of the
sounds did you do? How much arranging/organizing of sounds took place?
O: The CD published by Dale Lloyd is a recorded walk through the
sound installation, an extract, an overview of some moments of this
work. It is a selection amongst our recordings done in the space. They
were realized acoustically in the space with two condenser microphones,
using ORTF stereo configuration. We didn't feel the need for rebuilding
something from the recordings. We thought it was self-sufficient.
We consider that site-specific sites like sound-installations can't be
represented through a CD. Therefore, we are quite aware that this
recording is not a documentation but has its own life... For this reason,
we didn't want to include explanation and descriptions about the
situation in the real space. The listener of the CD may rebuild it.
CF: What current or upcoming projects are you presently working on?
O: We recently finished a project which is a kind of survey about the
soundscape of a small village which hosts a thermo-electric plant,
"Cordemais écoute l'électricité". And now we are trying to be physically
present in the same area ! Our collaborations are the most interesting
when we are together in the same location and these days we are
living quite far away from each other. Yannick lives in Taiwan, Hughes
is regularly visiting Burkina Faso and Christophe stays at home working
with the sounds he recorded during a road-movie style trip in the
United States... We each develop some activities related to
environment, site, architectures and soundscapes. The list is a little bit
too long to be described there. We hope to develop another project,
Phono3graphy, which is based on field recordings: each of us recording
a space simultaneously but from different moving points. The only way
for us to develop our project is a long period of collective work and
experimentation, possible only as artist residency, and we would like to
spend time in Taiwan or in Northern Europe. So we are waiting for a
good meeting opportunity!