xCoAx 2020 8th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X 8–10 July, Graz online

Eyes Draw Circles of Light

Keywords: Immersive Music, Acousmatic, Psychoacoustics, Voice.

The work explores specific aspects of the unconscious that characterize the brief moment when we are about to fall asleep and we are not sure if what we are perceiving is a dream or the reality. Through sound spatialization, a multidimensional unconscious representation was created that evokes the relationship between psyche and body. The fast and involuntary body movements, hypnic jerks, that may occur at that time have been underlined. This is a tension that can recall the body behavior before sleeping. The work is a collaboration with the artists Elisabetta Porcinai and Alice Nardi, who wrote a poem for it, and it aims to find a balance between elegance and experimentation. The text was interpreted by Porcinai and then elaborated by the composer.

This piece focuses on aspects related to spatial auditory perception, concerning the choice of sonic materials, their processing, and their positioning and trajectories in space. Emphasis is placed on sounds that evolve on the vertical axis. The sound spatialization was created using SpatGRIS and ServerGRIS (Normandeau et al. 2018), developed at the GRIS at the University of Montreal.

The composition is divided into four sections. Eyes Draw Circles of Light relates body and breath sounds to high-pitched iterative sonic contents, that are easy to localize (Kendall 2011). This section is characterized by the use of hand-written spatial trajectories. Some of the material were created using a violin bow on a metal wires structure. A prepared piano was also used. Expand Withdraw Pulsate focuses on spatial polyrhythms projected into the 3D space. This section, in opposition to the previous one, is characterized by the use of precise geometric spatial trajectories. In Treacherous Darkness of Senses, the Porcinai’s voice is accompanied by synthetic and concrete sounds. The voice has a fixed position in space, while the concrete sounds are marked by 3D trajectories. The last section, Arms Stretched Out Like Branches, reorganizes the elements of the first section by adding some tonal material. To investigate the vertical dimension, trajectories that evolve on this axis are highlighted by the use of bright, high-pitched sounds (Roffler and Butler 1968).

This piece is part of the doctoral research project of the author at the Université of Montreal. The research project focuses on immersive music composition, exploring, from an artistic perspective, the contribution of the spatial auditory perception field to sound spatialization strategies.

ServerGRIS, Mumuth – Ligeti Hall Speaker Set up.
Mumuth – Ligeti Hall Speaker Set up.

Media Assets

Binaural version mp3 (please use headphones):

Binaural version wav (please use headphones):

Stereo version mp3:

Stereo version wav:


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