Monday, October 22, 2012

artificial birds and everyday rhythm

In his last writings, French sociologist Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) uses a very precise aspect to analyse city life: rhythm [1]. Through his eyes and ears, everyday life reveals countless relationships between several kinds of rhythm: cyclic and linear, repetitive and different, mechanical and organic and so on. One chapter presents the rhytmical unfolding of everyday life witnessed through Lefebvre's window. Drama and poetry are unveiled in the rhythmic tensions between workers, students, tourists, cars and traffic-lights - which in turn keep faithful to their mechanical rhythms through the night, regulating traffic even after it has long ceased.

These ideas motivated me to record 24 hours of sounds from my own window and use this material as a basis for my acousmatic piece retorno em linha reta (2012), composed for the NMEaniversário#1 album. I was particularly interested in the tensions inherent to our experience of time, both linear an cyclical. Even if a day is always 24 hours long and every year consists in 365 days (sometimes 366), our relative experience of the lived units seems to constantly change. The second year of one's life doubles the time experimented in the first year. In turn, the third year expands experience only at a 1.5 ratio, and every year this ratio decreases. It was more or less like this that I tried to explain to myself in my teenage years why time experienced today always feels faster than some prior age. Sensorial transformations produced by different speeds in experimenting time are explored in retorno em linha reta. In its 365 seconds, I create a year turned inside out, in which the 24 hours of a single day are experimented up to 365 times faster. 

Unpredicted qualities are revealed in this process. One of the most intriguing to me was the clear sound image of a forest full of bird which resulted from playng back the original material 120 times faster. Taking advantage or its fake realism, this material became the initial section of another work with bird sounds as a starting point: das trevas, sabiá (2012). Even though it may be listened to as an actual acousmatic composition, it is really the live recording of an improvisation [2] performed in the NMEpássaro concert, which took place July 29th 2012 in the Parque da Água Branca, São Paulo.

[1] LEFÈBVRE, Henri. Rhytmanalysis: Space, Time and Everyday Life. Continuum: London/New York, 2004.
[2] Using pre-recorded samples, SuperCollider programming and a MIDI controller.