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**Mindblowing edition, comes with a 40 page booklet** A composer writes an orchestral piece by inviting every member of the ensemble to visit her at home, one-by-one, to devise their parts collaboratively. This is how Eliane Radigue makes music: slow, exacting, verbal, personal. In many ways her work is a paradox. She writes drone music that dances. It is simple and rich, spacious and detailed, unhurried and full of movement, spiritual and non-didactic, narrative and abstract. Over the past 50 years she has honed a uniquely concentrated creative practice in order to access an expansive realm of partials and subharmonics — “sounds within the sound,” she calls them. She works instinctively, and her instinct has always drawn her to slowness and subtle modulations, yet she demands from her performers a kind of precision that is physically and mentally virtuosic.
For the last 10 years Éliane Radigue has created music exclusively in collaboration with performers, using solely oral and aural transmission. Focusing on the details of this ‘scoreless’ working method, Radigue's Occam Ocean (2011–) is in fact a series of 22 infinitely combinable solos and over 20 chamber pieces. Through interviews with the performers and Radigue, a composite understanding of their collaboration is reached, focusing on the emergent ideas of virtuosity, memory, images, scores, hospitality and non-hierarchy.
“It all began with an image seen so long ago at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, the image of a long chart showing known wavelengths. It was clear that in addition to the wavelength from the earth to the sun, there were long waves stretching between other planets, solar systems and galaxies. Our immersion in this wave-filled universe makes our heads spin. In the same way, our bodies are also driven by undulations and multiple rhythms. It is just as dizzying to move toward the minute: X-rays, gamma rays and other “nanos.” In these unfathomable dimensions, there is also that very tiny regionn between 50 and 60 Hertz, and for some species up to 12,000 Hz or more, where these vibrations become sounds.
To avoid succumbing to this dizziness, closer to us on this earth, there is the ocean. Through this ocean, contemplation becomes more accessible. Beyond its own cycle, it also gathers the rivers that nourish it. For that reason there are many river themes in the Occam pieces: tributaries, waterfalls, springs, wells, etc. All of the themes are inevitably associated with water. It is the element that moves through them, the image of life, life in its fluidness, like the flow of blood.
What I ask of the musicians is highly demanding. Rather than the virtuosity of speed, it concerns the virtuosity of absolute control of the instrument, an extreme, subtle and delicate kind of virtuosity. What I did with my synthesizer was almost comparable. Turning a potentiometer the value of a hair could change everything. During my feedback period, the same delicate protocol was necessary when working with microphones and speakers. There is a distance that must be respected very carefully: moving too far away, the sound disappears, moving too close, the sound explodes into feedback. You have to keep everything in control. I do not renounce my electronic work, though I never accomplished anything that completely satisfied me. The end result was always a compromise between what I wanted to do and what I was technically able to do using the means available. Conversely, with these musicians, I was finally able to hear, for the first time, the music that I call “my sound fantasies.”
Regardless of what is being used, the essential goal is to produce and bring out the partials, the overtones, the harmonics and sub harmonics, these vibrations in the air, not only those of the string or the breath, but the intangible contents of sound. An instrument vibrating beyond the fundamental(s) generates an extraordinary richness that turns into fascination. This calls for extreme simplicity, i.e. sounds maintained between piano and mezzo forte dynamic levels, beyond which the fundamental again becomes predominant. Hence the famous law from Occam’s Razor, never overdo anything, concentrate instead on breath control, or a gentle stroke, that caress of a key or a string that is sufficient to develop and enrich this infinite universe.” Eliane Radigue