Résonance #3 [nt021]

22 01 2021

Résonance documents a series of live improvisations on laptop. The performances feature field recordings and electronic elements, beats, and digital processing.

Location recordings include resonant spaces that add their own colour to the existing soundscape, sounds of the five elements (TCM, qi gong), natural and environmental sounds, found sounds etc.
The sound design focuses on sculpting the natural resonant frequencies of recorded sounds, as well as textural and gestural qualities.

The work is grounded in electroacoustic tradition and draws from experimental electronic music, with a strong focus on deep listening. Every performance is entirely improvised.

**

The third series is made of two performances recorded close together while on tour in the south of France. Both concerts were recorded by the venues, and i am very pleased to have high quality documents that are fairly representative of this early work.

While the database of sounds i can draw from is growing, i am able to delve deep into the character of each of the five elements and at the same time, present a whole range of tonal centers. The sculpting of natural sounds increasingly draws on the natural resonance of the source, while at the same time matches resonant frequencies of the body, used in sound healing – as proposed by the research of Leon Bence, Max Mereaux etc.

The addition of random electronic beats (reaktor) and live processing (granulation, spectral, etc.) gives the work a more experimental edge. Field recordings populate strange soundscapes where resonant spaces and different acoustics clash. We dive into the rich complexity of sounds of the five elements, observing textures from within and experiencing the entire universe in a grain of sound.

 

 

 

 





Résonance #2 [nt020]

21 01 2021

Résonance documents a series of live improvisations on laptop. The performances feature field recordings and electronic elements, beats, and digital processing.

Location recordings include resonant spaces that add their own colour to the existing soundscape, sounds of the five elements (TCM, qi gong), natural and environmental sounds, found sounds etc.
The sound design focuses on sculpting the natural resonant frequencies of recorded sounds, as well as textural and gestural qualities.

The work is grounded in electroacoustic tradition and draws from experimental electronic music, with a strong focus on deep listening. Every performance is entirely improvised.

**

The second series has two medium length performances live in Bristol and Manchester. #

Moving on from Résonance #1 i have now started to build a database of samples while developing my approach to electroacoustic improvisation while working in France with other improvisers, musicians and dancers, visual artists etc. For a while, i stuck to a process by which i would produce new sounds unique to each performance, and as my database grew, i started to vary the material i could draw from as i was improvising.

Gradually, i could instantly call up on specific sounds, resonance or tones that i felt were needed at that point. So the sounds were not unique to the performance anymore, but each performance was increasingly shaped by the space and the audience, and my response to the experience.

 

The work moves between minimal suspended moments, textural intensity and ambient drones, following the narrative of featured soundscapes. Field recordings shift to glitch and noise and several sonic universes collide.

 

 

 





Résonance #1 [nt019]

20 01 2021

Résonance documents a series of live improvisations on laptop. The performances feature field recordings and electronic elements, beats, and digital processing.

Location recordings include resonant spaces that add their own colour to the existing soundscape, sounds of the five elements (TCM, qi gong), natural and environmental sounds, found sounds etc.
The sound design focuses on sculpting the natural resonant frequencies of recorded sounds, as well as textural and gestural qualities.

The work is grounded in electroacoustic tradition and draws from experimental electronic music, with a strong focus on deep listening. Every performance is entirely improvised.

**

I have been thinking about this series for a while, and finally decided that it should appear all together in one place. Therefore, to release this on nexTTime seems a good idea. I have been focusing on preparing coherent series such as field recordings as ‘postcards’ and now live EA improvisations, and i think it is nice to have such documents that follow the evolution of this type of work.

Preparing those albums, i realised how much the sound and approach has changed over the years, and yet has kept a clear focus in the use of material such as field recordings, in relation to my research on resonant frequencies of spaces as well as objects. Here, we explore the sounds of key locations and their own character, how the sounds from the environment are sculpted by architecture, and as you know, i am very keen on reverb.

The study of resonant frequency does not stop here, and gradually, while my practice of qi gong and interest in healing modalities took me to look into Chinese Traditional Medicine, the use of field recordings increasingly shifted towards what became the central point of this work: balancing the five elements and finding in each a certain musical quality – textural, gestural, and of course, harmonic. Over the years, i developed a method to sculpt those sounds and this unique quality is represented in my solo performances. Gradually, the sculpting focuses on detail and the samples i produce get more minimal. At times, the work really homes in on beat frequencies and other sound phenomena that occur naturally, but the stripped down processing and the occasional use of sine waves allows such precision to work with specific tones that are natural (non tempered) and also relate to parts of the human anatomy.

On many levels, this work is an invitation to meditate on the natural world and how the elements relate to our own experience, and there is a strong concept thoughout that draws from many different traditions of healing. And yet, at the core, remains a dedication to improvisation and more experimental forms in electronic and electroacoustic practices.

 

 

The first series is made of short pieces improvised to artists’ films, or in collaboration with dance improv, and one special event dealing with the resonant frequencies of the theatre space (room harmonics), based on Alvin Lucier ‘sitting in a room’. The latter performance only uses material produced specifically for the event, recorded on site, following the process of room harmonics. To bring out the resonance of the Lantern Theatre, i used hand clapping as source, which seemed appropriate. The results of this recording session was then processed in various ways to provide a range of samples for performance.

 

 

 





Sounding Out Devon

19 01 2021

This has been a very strange year indeed for everyone, and there were very few opportunities to escape to the country. So my sonic explorations have been very limited. And yet, this has also been an opportunity to go back to the roots of Sounding Out, and return to the type of environment where it all started.

Over the years, i have very much enjoyed my visits to amazing churches with grandiose acoustics, and chapels that have a very special quality. Both the resonance and the feel of those places have inspired me much. And now, with most buildings closed, i embraced a return to nature, and to the acoustics of the forest. Interacting with the natural world, its soundscape and gentle reverberant responses was the starting point to this series. It felt like a conversation. And i always like this kind of connection with the outdoors.
Sounding Out has always been about this, away from the studio or controled environment. And yet, remote chapels have been dominating my recordings, apart from a few much cherished caves. Those that really speak to me are rare. And so it is the same with forests, it is hard to find the right environment, away from noise pollution and into a unique sonic world.

During a quiet period at the end of the summer, Devon was so attractive, and a perfect opportunity to get away, away from people, and disappear into the moors and forests. Of course i had the saxophone with me, and regular practice was tricky while hiking and camping. So i started walking out into the dark forest in the evening to practice against bursts of wind and into the thick green canvas. i enjoyed it so much that i decided to record some of these. The recording conditions were difficult, but here are some examples below.

i was very lucky to find one chapel open, during my travels, and found it had a very sweet sound. so of course i spent a little time there, wrapped in the uplifting experience. And finally, at the end of the trip, i returned to the forestry above fernworthy reservoir and took a day visiting a number of locations within the same area, each with its own character, finishing with an improvisation at the top of a stone row, looking down across the valley and listening to entire melodic lines bouncing off rich canopies of trees and rolling back to me with a few seconds delay. Unfortunately, although this amazing effect was clear, it was also very subtle and did not get picked up on the recording. Still…
i hope you enjoy listening to the spirit of the forest, singing through the saxophone.

 

 

woody
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [start of track, by assycombe brook]

 

 

bridge by the hill
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [bridge]

 

 

off track
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [track with opening in the trees below]

 

 

five trees
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [track with opening in the trees below]

 

 

straight line
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [stone row]

 

 

the ballad of passing forms
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [stone row]

 

 

wavelets rising
alto saxophone, 10 september 2020
fernworthy forest, four locations [stone row]

 
 
 

 

a touch of light
alto saxophone, 03 september 2020
st raphael, hexworthy

 

 

entanglements
alto saxophone, 03 september 2020
st raphael, hexworthy

 

 

tread lightly
alto saxophone, 03 september 2020
st raphael, hexworthy

 
 
 

 

the trees swirling dance
alto saxophone, 02 september 2020
fernworthy forest, night time

 

 

solitary bird
alto saxophone, 02 september 2020
fernworthy forest, night time

 

 





Postcards from Spain [nt016][nt017][nt018]

13 11 2020

A wonderful and varied document of social events, soundscapes, architecture and acoustics. An invitation to the practice of deep listening, this series of recordings takes us through areas of Spain during the Holy Week, a period of religious practices and processions.

Recorded on minidisk with binaural microphones, this is an active experience where each track has its own narrative, moving through spaces. The recordings are very detailed, and one can re-live the moments, immersed in the soundscapes that make up the character and atmosphere of a place, when listening back with headphones.

As we explore spaces of different acoustics, there are wonderful surprises along the way. We move from busy streets to squares and gardens with water features. Walking inside of the Cathedral, there is a mass in progress. Along busy streets with bars where flamenco music comes pouring out.
The narrative develops as we travel along sonic tableaux, each scene has its own character and sets of sound events.

There are periods of waiting amongst vast crowds, where a sea of voices develops into rhythmical patterns then quietens down while waiting for processions to arrive. There are brass bands and spontaneous spirited flamenco singing with duende. Further north, in a monastery, monks sing mass in Gregorian style.

These are unique postcards of rich places and moments frozen in time.

 

Recorded in 2008 on location, and mastered by hervé perez at nexTTime studios
©Hervé Perez 2020

nt016

nt017

nt018

released october 24th, october 30th,

and november 4th 2020

hervé perez (field recordings) [recorded on minidisk with binaural microphones]

 

 

 

 

 





Sounding Out – the Peak District

27 08 2020

The Peak District on my doorstep, it is easy to nip out and see so much beauty. A little further afield, the limestone valleys offer a different type of landscape. i don’t often go that far and so missed the area and decided to return to known places, in the south peaks.

It was wet in wetton. Storm was on the menu, and it did not disappoint. But first, in the day, it was really hot and sunny. Walking up the hills was fairly taxing and many people were out swimming in the rivers.

By the evening, the distant lightning provided a spectacular display; with stars above, flashes lit up gorgeous cloud formations. The flashes were relentless, it was like watching fireworks and the storm being so distant, it was completely silent. Quite a surreal scene. And it took a while for the rain to arrive. And here too, it did not disappoint.

Another magic moment, in the morning, from a nearby bridge, i watched the empty and dry river bed fill up with rain water that slowly had filtered throught the limestone and started flowing, making this most amazing trickle sound, like pebbles coming to life.

But let’s rewind a little to the end of the day, after a wonderful walk in blazing sunshire, and as the weather was slowly turning, i climbed into the imposive stature of Thor’s Cave. Possibly due to the radiant weather, and also to a long period of lockdown, i found the area more busy than usual, and it was a while until there was a quiet moment. i had time to enjoy the golden glowing of slanting light that came into the cave from the side opening. Taking the time to get back in touch with the space i once knew well (a scroll through previous sounding out recordings will show many visits to this site), i could get into the vibe and ready for some improvisation.

As soon as i got the saxophone out and sounded out a few notes into the space, to warm up, the music started to flow. At the end of the session, as the light was diminishing, a single wood pigeon was singing outside the entrance of the cave. I picked up the melody and recorded one last piece.

 

 

the fifth step
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

shadow theatre
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

spin the riff
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

the wood pigeon song
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

 

After a little break, i continued on down the valley, to a tunnel of incredible property. The sound there is just outstanding. After playing in the cave, my lips were starting to tire, but i could not help sending a few notes spinning down that long tube a watch the frequencies merge. Each set of notes shimmers in its own way, creating further overtones, bending notes to align with the tunnel resonance. I could have played triads forever, just listening to the long tail slowly fade. With circular breathing, the tones eventually blend into a mass of sound that slowly modulates overtones. This place has always been a treat.

 

infinite
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
swainsley tunnel

 

 

merger
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
swainsley tunnel

 

 

scats o’long tails
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
swainsley tunnel

 

 

dark skies ahead
alto saxophone, 11 august 2020
swainsley tunnel

 

 

 

On the second day, i wanted to go back to the cave and record some more, explore different textures. I am not sure if the deliberate approach was wise, in any case, i could not really force any ideas as is usually true with this project. I just had to go with the flow. And on that second day, the vibe was quite different. There were many distractions and it took quite a while for things to settle down, and even while playing, there were a few interruptions. Still, even though i found it more difficult to get into the zone, some interesting material came out. And indeed, the results were more high energy flow and abstract than the first session which was predominently melodic. In places like this, i find the vibe and the music that comes out a lot more free and raw than in churches, for obvious reasons.

 

 

another round
alto saxophone, 12 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

bustle in the valley
alto saxophone, 12 august 2020
thor’s cave

 

 

waltzing wood in the wind
alto saxophone, 12 august 2020
thor’s cave

 





PLGD released by Pan Y Rosas Discos

25 08 2020

i’ve been sitting on a bunch of tracks for a while that explored live processing. i was trying things out at the time i was working on the album ‘imploding stars’ and in that period, i was recording improvisations that used various sound sources and strings of plugins. lately, i revisited some of those pieces and did new edits and master. the album PLGD was released by Pand Y Rosas recently and already got some nice reviews.

here are a few words by s. victor aaron from something else:

Hervé Perez is both an audio artist and a visual artist but the sound art he makes tend to get deeply seared into your consciousness as provocative visual art would. PLGD is the last set of sonorities he’s created using is sax, his voice, electronic effects and Tibetan meditation bowls. The art is how all this disparate sources for sound converge to create an alien but liquid whole.

 

If you’re looking for harmony, melody or rhythm, this isn’t the place to look. Perez is going for something much more primal than that in the creation of these sound sculptures. Similar to the mission of conventional music though, it uses vibration to give your brain something striking and unfamiliar to process and ponder.

 

Processed field recordings seems to form the basis for PLGD’s opening salvo “Styfg,” where the sounds of nature are completely blended with otherworldly buzz. We hear Perez’s soprano saxophone for the first time on “Likabrd Inacag” but here it becomes the basis of an overall sonic painting made up of heavy processed sounds of that sax. “Winds of Many Harms” is the sound of flowing air, whether that’s through a heavily altered sax or by other means.

 

Those meditation bowls hums and chimes on “Lance L’eau Du Lac” are ancient timbres that never sound stale, and if you never heard these resonant instruments from the Himalayas, you’re in for a treat.

 

Perez take his sax to new, exotic places on “Winds and Humming Buds,” at times making his horn resemble a flute. For “Par Anneaux,” he dubs over his sax several times to make it resemble a flock of geese that over time gets enmeshed into a larger tapestry of dreary sonorities. The sax becomes a percussion instrument during much of “Il Faudrait Qu’on Cesse,” spraying into the void a barrage of false notes.

 

“Bird in a Bush” uses silence as another instrument, occasionally interrupted by rustling, the bowls, percussive knocks and a barely-perceptible low hum. “Styfg Coda” roughly approximates the distorted sound of storm waves crashing onshore and “Soprano Fields” transits from near-silence to ghoulish to placid.

 

Hervé Perez makes musique concrète using atypical sources while audaciously pushing his soprano saxophone into uncharted territory. That’s why PLGD is made for ears thirsty for entirely new sounds, even for those ears who think they’ve heard it all.

 

the album is available from Pand Y Rosas Discos.





Sounding Out – back to the beginning

29 07 2020

There is something intimate about the forest. This is where Sounding Out started out. And in the current situation, accessing churches or any type of public architecture is difficult. Playing outdoors has an immediate quality. The sound of the saxophone is pure. Just dry, dead pan, as it is, no embelishment, no phase tweaking and bounce reflections. In the cool air, it is also slightly raw. Raunchy is the mood.

I’ve just had a series of powerful meditations lately, and i’ve been reflecting on a phenomena with light hitting a waterfall (see my video on reflections on a weir called moving lines). Such reflections took me back to symmetrical figures and the fractal approach to music i have been developing. After meditation, i walked out into the forest with my saxophone and continued my reflections, this time it is the instrument that leads me into similar figures i had seen. Inspired by this experience, i later returned to the same spot and recorded some improvisations.

From the open space immediate sound, i gradually step deeper into the trees and the sounds change. It comes as no surprise our ancestors believed that trees had spirits. As i play in the midst of this thick woods, the trees come alive and respond to the saxophone sounds. There’s calls in the night, shrieks and hullulations, and there’s some jazz licks too, abstract and angular, that all come out into the deep, the dark, impenetrable lush texture of trees.

 

On the return journey, after walking in Northumberland through splendid scenery and lush forests, i stopped in the well known church in Newby. This place never disappoints. The doors are always open, and the acoustics always gives. I have spent much time here, and always had such inspiration in this very quiet space.

Here again, carried by the flow, i play uninterrrupted for 45 minutes.

 

 

 

vajra light
alto saxophone, 24 july 2020
holystone forest

 

 

 

conseil des sages
alto saxophone, 26 july 2020
newby church

 

 

 

un sage conseil
alto saxophone, 26 july 2020
newby church





Dawn Chorus in Cressbrook Dale [nt015]

7 07 2020
Recorded in the Peak District, in a lush dale near Cressbrook.
From the very quiet beginning, as it is still dark, you can hear a few isolated birds, ducks in the water. Gradually first calls appear, there is movement in the trees and flying overhead. birdsongs multiply and build up to the full dawn chorus.
This location has a wide variety of birds and offers many delightful sounds, with rich details. There are plenty of surprises, sonic events unique to this place and moment in time.

You can hear families of ducks in the water with little ones following and exploring, a couple swans, there’s wings flapping, and much more during this recording of over one hour.

Recorded on location, and mastered by hervé perez at nexTTime studios
©Hervé Perez 2020

nt015

released July 3, 2020

 

hervé perez (field recordings) [recorded on a zoom H5 with Sennheiser MKH 416 stereo pair]

 

 

 





Blackton Water nt014

9 06 2020

Recorded in Northumberland, in the nature reserve situated around Blackton and Balderhead reservoirs. Many birds are featured from rich textures to singular events and bird calls, including curlews that circle over the water, oyster catchers, lapwing etc.

Wide views over the reservoir benefit from the atmosphere and the resonance of the cup shaped landscape, with birds flying overhead and water lapping at the edge of the reservoirs.

Over Balderhead, the soundscape is more mixed with several distinctive bird calls that makes the rich textural atmosphere of this unique environment.

Recorded on location, and mastered by hervé perez at nexTTime studios
©Hervé Perez 2019

nt014

released June 5, 2020

credits

hervé perez (field recordings) [recorded on a zoom H5 with Sennheiser MKH 416 stereo pair]