For Matières [Materials], composed for the publication Le corps de l’espace, les nouveaux matériaux dans l’architecture depuis 1850 [The Body in Space: New Materials in Architecture Since 1850] by the Centre culturel du Brabant wallon in 2003, I not only wanted to render audible materials used in architecture, but to put the focus primarily on the individuals who inhabit or move through these sites. I therefore decided to allow the gesture of the individual to speak for itself: brushing against a surface; caressing, rubbing, or striking it; taking an object and letting it fall or making it roll through a space…
It seemed essential to me to return to the sources of musique concrète and to keep the sonic characteristics of the materials and of the spaces in which they resonate untouched. The recordings were therefore made on analog magnetic tape and no effects or processing techniques were used other than slowing down or speeding up the play rate and reversing playback direction. All reverberations were naturally-occuring.
In the course of editing and mixing, however, I tried to avoid anecdotal references (no sounds of footsteps nor creaking or slaming doors) in order to concentrate on the sound morphologies and energies revealed by different gestures, as well as on reverberation lengths, changes of acoustical space and contrasts between close and distant sounds. Chimeric spaces were thus created, where gestures dialogue with materials.
[English translation: Stephanie Moore, i-19]
Matières was realized in 2003 at the ARTeM (Art, recherche, technologie et musique [Art, Research, Technology, and Music]) studio in Brussels (Belgium) and premiered on December 13, 2003 at the Chapelle de Verre de Fauquez in Braine-le-Comte (Belgium). The piece was commissioned by the Centre culturel du Brabant wallon (CCBW) in Court-Saint-Étienne (Belgium).