le chant des machines
November 15th, 2014
Krakow, Audio Art Festival 2014
interpreted by Jean-François Laporte & Benjamin Thigpen

le chant des machines is a poetic exploration of the singing of machines. Machinesong is at the origin of the piece; it is sonified, processed and presented directly in the music, at the same time as it is also represented indirectly. Benjamin uses inductors to make audible the magnetic fields generated by his electronic equipment (computer, hard drive, power supplies, mouse…). Jean-François uses piezo microphones to amplify small physical vibrations and to generate layers of quiet feedback, while also using miniature motors to rhythmically excite a set of tuned metal rods, and inductors to sonify the activity of the motors themselves.

And yet the piece could just as well be named le chant des planètes. For as we listen to the singing, following the interweavings of the different voices, it leads us far from anything we know of as “mechanical.” This is really a music of the cosmos, a music of the elements. The purely electronic activity of machines – singing as they always do, all around us – opens onto an immense realm of strange other-worldly beauty, and strangely human-yet-not-human coherence.