Leere Null (2)

4-channel tape composition; premiered at the Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival

This electroacoustic tape composition is constructed around utopian ideas (or paradoxes) of composing. The most pervasive ones being double-ended: On one end that composition means creation ex nihilo; the blank sheet situation; the coming-into-existence of something that was prior inexistent. While in fact no such thing as an origin exists and every decision, every choice of material can be traced back in an infinite chain (or network) of references. On the other end, the inexhaustibility of a sound formation. In each sound an infinite number of further sounds. That out of every noise something could emerge which before was invisibly coalesced with its background. An auditive magnification, an isolation through a surgical cut which, as a cut, reveals something new. The premonition of the future diverging network of traces, an antinomy of the blank sheet.

The notional frame of the piece is radiation and radioactivity, in a very loose sense, opening with a phrase from Mikhail Belikov’s movie Raspad (Decay), however successively focusing mainly on the exploration of colour and the celebration of colourfulness. The title reflects the utopian artefacts occurring in the Roadside Picnic: “an empty really is something mysterious and maybe even incomprehensible. I’ve handled quite a few of them, but I’m still surprised every time I see one. They’re just two copper disks … with a space of a foot and a half between. There’s nothing else. I mean absolutely nothing, just empty space.”

The base structure of the composition has been carried out with the help of an algorithm which suggests, using a similarity measure, sound fragments which could be used to expand or overwrite existing parts of the piece. The decision among the possible matches is up to the composer. The structure is generated iteratively beginning with a short starting cell. In the second section, the process is carried out backwards in time, resulting in another perceived expansion of sound which paradoxically terminates in a phrase which resembles the ending of the first section.

This is a temporarily and spatially extended reworking of the first version of the piece.


The article «Composing Alongside Paradoxes», published in the PACMF journal, provides a comprehensive account of the ideas behind the piece.