“If you want to say something and have people listen then you have to wear a mask.”
— The British painter Banksy conveys his messages through a form of urban art that stokes curiosity and makes him very popular despite his desire to remain anonymous.
Research work on subliminal and psycho-acoustic effects: masking, filtering and strong bass webs; muted, evolving sounds; beatings, inversions, electroacoustic treatments and couter-melodies; electronic and acoustic timbres.
When heard through a mask, a voice sounds muted, dull like the night. These acoustic variations can be heard in TV and radio interviews since the beginning of the pandemic in late 2019. I ventured to reproduce these sound effects by using an equalizer on a voice recording, changing the timbre of that voice according to the types, thicknesses, sizes and number of plies of the fabric of an imaginary face mask, and then make the original vocal timbre clear and more distinguishable. Coughing and sneezing are placed on various spatial planes. Snatches of conversations recorded with an ambisonic recorder have been integrated as well.
A sound made by a cicada saved from a cat’s jaw acts as a connection between reality and dream. The insect makes that dry sound in my hand as it comes to its senses, and then flies away. Waves, used as a structuring device, move in all directions to Nature’s delight, leaving coastline residents adrift. And then, silence comes.
[English translation: François Couture, vii-21]
Masques et dichotomies [Masks and Dichotomies] was realized in 2021 at the composer’s studio (Studio Séducson) in Montréal and was premiered on February 27, 2021 at the concert La Grande Nuit 2021 — Au-delà de la notation broadcast online live from Agora Hydro-Québec as part of the Montréal / Nouvelles musiques (MNM) festival in Montréal. Thanks to Fannie and her friends.