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Úvodní stránka » RECORDS » RECORDS III » Manuella Blackburn
Manuella Blackburn — Petites étincelles (2017)

Manuella Blackburn — Petites étincelles (2017)   Manuella Blackburn — Petites étincelles (Autumn 2017)Manuella Blackburn — Petites étincelles (2017) ♣••♣        “… elegantly structured music… — Touching Extremes, Italie
♣••♣        “The compositions of Manuella Blackburn feel vital and thoroughly alive…” — ATTN:Magazine, RU
♣••♣        Les œuvres acousmatiques de Manuella Blackburn ont remporté plusieurs prix internationaux: le grand prix des Digital Art Awards (Fujisawa, Japon, 2007), le 1er prix des 7e et 10e Concurso Internacional de Composição Electroacústica Música Viva (Lisbonne, Portugal, 2006 et 09), le 1er prix du Musica Nova 2014 (Prague, République tchèque), le International Computer Music Association European Regional Award (Australia, 2013), le 3e prix du Diffusion Competition (Irlande, 2008), le prix du public au Concourso Internacional de Composição Electroacústica (CEMJKO) (Brésil, 2007), ainsi que des mentions spéciales au concours du Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) (Morelia, Mexique, 2008) et au Concurso Internacional de Música Eletroacústica de São Paulo (CIMESP (Brésil, 2007).
♣••♣        Elle est présentement professeure adjointe en musique à la Liverpool Hope University (Angleterre, RU).
Location: Londres, Manchester, UK
Album release: 2017
Record Label:     46:36
1 Javaari (2012~13),     10:19
2 Ice breaker (2015),     7:10
3 Snap happy (2016~17),     8:45
4 Time will tell (2013),     8:24
5 New Shruti (2013),     11:58
♣••♣        Arr. Manuella Blackburn, 2013
••    Javaari is the term given to the bridge of the sitar where the melodic and sympathetic strings run and create the sound. The term also refers to the unique buzzing tone produced by the sitar. This piece explores these fascinating timbres originating from this instrument and pays particular attention to the beautiful pitch bends that arch over and under like vocal melismas. The work is structured into four episodes, each exploring a different intensity of explicit cultural sound use — often the sitar material is in the fore and sometimes it recedes or pokes through intermittently.
••    Javaari was realized at the Visby International Centre for Composers (VICC, Sweden) and at Liverpool Hope University (England, UK). This acousmatic work is the first in a series of pieces composed in collaboration with Milapfest based at Liverpool Hope University. The yearlong project aims to examine the translation and transference of cultural sound to electroacoustic music and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Many thanks go to Roopa Panesar (sitar), Kousic Sen (tabla), Raaheel Husain (sitar), Kiruthika Nadarajah (violin), Senthan Nadarajah (mridangam), Kaviraj Singh (santoor), Upneet Singh (tabla), and Rohan Kapadia (tabla).
••    April 4, 2013, NYCEMF ’13: Concert 10, Segal Theatre — Graduate Center — City University of New York, New York City (New York, USA)
About this Recording
••    This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February~March 2017 in Montréal.
Ice breaker
••    When ice is placed into a glass of water it cracks and pops due to the phenomenon known as differential expansion. Because the water is warmer than the ice, the outer layer of the ice expands and fractures while the core stays cool. This micro~scale cracking was captured with tiny microphones inserted into tall drinks glasses and provided the concept for this composition. Additional sounds of effervescence, bubbling and pouring liquids were recorded to accompany the smaller ice sounds.
••    Ice breaker follows on from my earlier works Switched on (2011) and Time will tell (2013) that both explore the use of small sounds within an acousmatic context. New techniques for clustering small ice sounds were explored in this work along with Horacio Vaggione’s concept of micromontage.
••    Ice breaker was realized in the summer of 2015 at the composer’s studio in Manchester (England, UK) and premiered on October 23, 2015 during the L’Espace du son festival at Théâtre Marni in Brussels (Belgium). Ice breaker was awarded the 2nd prize at the SIME International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Lille, France, 2016).
••    October 23, 2015, L’Espace du son 2015: Manuella Blackburn, Théâtre Marni, Brussels (Belgium)
••    Selection, Concorso Internazionale di Composizione Città di Udine 2016, Udine (Italy)
••    2nd prize, SIME 2016, Lille (Nord, France)
About this Recording
••    This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February~March 2017 in Montréal.
Snap happy
••    Snap happy is a collection of three miniatures exploring the sounds of cameras. Older cameras from around the 1940s (Kodak Brownie cameras) provided heavier clicks and clunks from their internal mechanisms. Contemporary cameras provided sounds of flashes, zooms, digital functions and focus lenses. All these sounds tended to be short in duration, enabling me to continue my interest in building compositions from miniature, barely there sound materials. Listening to many cameras demonstrated how distinctive different brands could be. I became acquainted with the Canon AE~1 program, which appeared to ‘cough’ with each photo taken. It was fascinating to listen to modern cameras (including camera functions on phones), which use camera shutter sound effects to indicate the taking of a ‘snap shot.’ Older functions of winding a camera film, opening up a camera back and cartridge chamber, along with winding mechanisms are sounds that feature in this work. This composition is part of a series of pieces looking at ‘domestic’ sound sources, where sound objects are chosen for being a personal possessions, as found around the home.
••    Snap happy was realized in 2016~17 at the composer’s studio in Manchester (England, UK) and premiered on March 4, 2017 during the MANTIS Festival March 2017 at the John Thaw Studio Theatre of the Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama at The University of Manchester (England, UK). Thanks to Francis Voce at Liverpool Hope University for contributing his time and knowledge of cameras.
••    March 4, 2017, MANTIS Spring Festival 2017: Concert 1, John Thaw Studio Theatre — Martin Harris Centre for Music and Drama — The University of Manchester, Manchester (England, UK)
••    1st prize, Computer and Electronic Music, Computer Space 2017, Sofia (Bulgaria)
About this Recording
••    This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February~March 2017 in Montréal.
Time will tell
••    Tiny, micro~scale ticks, tocks, clanks, bumps and rings combine together in new shapes and forms. Miniature sounds from time keeping devices, old and new, were sourced and isolated for their brevity and barely~there quality. Reassembling regular clock rhythms from an abundance of single clock ticks and strikes was a fundamental composition methodology in this work, along with the simulation or illusion of internal clock mechanics churning, rotating and sometimes malfunctioning. The idea of clocks being wound and reset features as a structural device. Clock gongs, bells and chimes also provided pitch content and harmonic moments throughout the work. This composition builds upon the microstructures constructed in Switched on (2011), which deals with small on/off switches, button and dial sounds for powering up electrical devices.
New Shruti
••    In the same way that a shruti box or tampura provides the supporting drone for many Indian Classical music performances, my composition seeks to create a complementary line for the sarod material within the piece. Derived from recordings of sarod, sitar, veena, violin, tanpura, swarmandal and ghungroo ankle bells, New Shruti forms a montage from all these sounds while exploring the possibilities of sound transformations common to electroacoustic music. In places the work goes beyond just a drone function — it aims to instigate, provoke, and energize the sarod material through three main sections (i) glitch and crackle (ii) pitch curves and (iii) minor slow section. Through creating this work I have discovered the beauty of both the timbres of Indian instrumental sounds, and also stylistic features commonly associated with the tradition and performance practice such as gamakas (pitch bends) and tihai rhythmic cadences. Interpreting and reworking these features into my own music language has brought me closer to a musical culture previously unknown and unfamiliar.
••    New ShrutiRajeeb Chakraborty, is the second in a series of pieces composed in collaboration with Milapfest based at Liverpool Hope University (England, UK). The yearlong project aims to examine the translation and transference of cultural sound to electroacoustic music and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). Many thanks go to Rajeeb Chakraborty, HN Bhaskar, Gaurav Mazumdar, Aditi Sen, Shyla Shan, Rashmi Patel, and the whole Milapfest team.
••    May 1, 2015, BEAST FEaST 2015: Concert 2, Elgar Concert Hall — Bramall Music Building — University of Birmingham, Birmingham (England, UK)
About this Recording
••    This version was mastered by Dominique Bassal in February~March 2017 in Montréal. ••    https://www.electrocd.com/
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes, 15 décembre 2017
♣    The term “acousmatic” belongs to the category of verbal devices generalizing studio~conceived opuses that are difficult to brand. With empreintes DIGITALes, though, no question will arise about the trueness of that definition, the Canadian imprint having in fact released the finest materials coming from that area for countless years now.
♣    London’s Manuella Blackburn is an electroacoustic composer and senior lecturer at Liverpool’s Hope University, her resume including prizes and acknowledgements beyond her young age. Petites étincelles presents five pieces sharing several traits, Blackburn’s main intent being the depiction of wide prospects from what she calls “barely there” sounds in a sort of “backward reductionism” process. The collection is informed by a soft~spoken complexity helping the listener to pay attention to both the logical attributes of the sequences of events and the meaningful micro~structures shaping up the textural evolution.
♣    All of the above can be summarized in another shopworn, but still effective adjective: “ear~pleasing”. In truth, locating segments where what is heard results as less than hospitable is quite hard. Even the inexperienced could use this album as a useful starting point to increase their conversancy with such a creative domain. Sources range from Indian instruments to the ice floating in a glass of water, from clock mechanisms to camera shutters. Blackburn’s compositional skills magnify those transitory occurrences into elegantly structured music lacking the frigidity of a mere accumulation of sonic typologies. In that regard, she sweetens the concreteness of the original matters with profound electronics, perceived here as inherent harmonic auras complementing the sharpness of melodic cells and organic periodicities.
♣    “Maturity” can rhyme with “accessibility” in rare occasions. This is one of them, and also a reminder of the hypocrisy of establishment~driven “gender equality”, a prepaid renown always preferred to genuine talent when it comes to covering female artists. This world needs more Blackburns than St Vincents.
Jack Chuter, ATTN:Magazine, 30 novembre 2017
♣    These collages are like the obsessions that infiltrate dreams. Imagine, for example, that you have an epiphany about the beauty of photography. You spend the daytime taking photos or diving deep into the literature on lenses, shutter speeds, photographic film and aperture. And so sleep becomes an overspill for these incessant, excitable thoughts, twisted by the liberal logic of dreams. Shutters flutter outward like a startled bird flock, mechanisms whirr on either side… these sounds slosh from left to right, mimicking the movements of animals or draw bridges or hurricanes, conjuring an imaginary universe in which they exist as the only available building block. On Snap happy, the third track on Petites étincelles, cameras are everywhere. The compositions of Manuella Blackburn feel vital and thoroughly alive, imbued with her fascination for these noises and their charming twitches and intricacies, frenetic with the desire to drench the senses in more than can realistically be absorbed simultaneously.
♣    Yet this is not chaos. I may be overwhelmed at points, yet even the most spectacular of eruptions feels adherent to a common direction. The pieces inflate to fill the entire stereo space with acoustic resonances, then fade into a light rain of ticking minute hands, then reduce to vertical spindles of plucked string, then stretch into tufts of ambient mist. At any given moment, the kinetic energy feels extreme. Spilling, tumbling, exploding. Time will tell often sounds like a cluster of grandfather clocks spontaneously combusting, with springs hurled through space; Ice breaker drowns me in tides of carbonated liquid, blinded by bubbles and the splashes of a thousand ice cubes. Yet to view these pieces from an aerial perspective would be to witness the narrative that assuredly tugs the bedlam forward, left, right, up, down. Even amidst the rapture of sonic obsession, Blackburn never loses sight of the overall shape, and just how the whirl of life can be perceived as grander arcs of age and steady change, so these collages allude to the prescient, symbiotic understanding that exists between the sounds that hurtle past each other.

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