I. Sonocatalysis


The movement initiating aubiome finds inspiration in certain ultrasound-driven chemical reactions.  As a matter of fact, he whole field of sonochemistry is concerned with the effect of ultrasound in liquids, "resulting in the initiation or enhancement of the chemical activity".


It also sets the kind of interaction that will dominate the whole performance. From all the movements, the live electroics has here the most work to do, in order to render invisible the multiple small transistions that take place. 


An organic, performative essay

Aubiome

II. Synnecrosis


This movement portrays a fine example of the exploration of the performer's agency in an evolving interaction with the computer. At the beginning the latter echoes the saxophone but will spontaneously twist the melodic line up and down, initiating a sort of 'musical chase' that will develop to finally curb onto itself and stop. It is no coincidence that the title of the movement refers to a "rare type of symbiosis in which the interaction between species is detrimental to both organisms involved".

The creation of Aubiome is the result of an intense collaboration between composer Adrián Artacho and the saxophonist Joel Diegert with a very specific goal: to explore the expressive possibilities of the Extended Saxophone form a more integrated approach in which distinctions between composer, performer and instrument builder often dissolve. This 4-year long quest has opened for us new ways of using live electronics, as well as getting us get a glimpse of unsung aesthetic territories.

 

The premise of this journey was that a more integrated approach was necessary in order not to be held hostage of our respective composer/performer mindsets. At the end of the road we can confidently say we would not have reached nearly the same artistic outcome had we remained in our traditional roles. The process, however, was not completely devoid of some friction, and the final outcome is as much an methodology for artistic collaboration as it is an exploration of human-computer interaction.


III. Pulse intervals


This brief movement uses different delay effects that set the rhythmic character of the piece. In that it is exceptional in the context of aubiome, but also a challenge for the saxophonist who needs to make sense of the multiple iterations of every note played.

Composing process

After several months of developing the live electronic tools necessary, Aubiome found its final form in the first half of 2017. This endeavor was informed by several previous attempts and a specially crafted methodology developed through years of working together. Nevertheless, much the musical material had to be incessantly revised —and often dismissed— along the way, well until the final video recording was finally done, in June 2017.

 

This painstaking process had one only goal: to achieve some degree of organic interaction between man and machine; the right amount to preserve the agency of the performer while at the same time granting the computer enough variability. The live electronics in aubiome are never absolutely predictable, yet hold a tight correlation with the saxophone input that constitute a true extension of the instrument and not merely an effect, or an added layer of sound. Every needed to be generated upon the saxophone sound in real time, and that approach left out absolutely any use of fixed media.

Sonocatalysis

Synnecrosis

Pulse Intervals

IV. Oxides


This piece makes use of yet another two  microphones other than the main one. That is in order to process air sounds (headset) and key sounds (contact microphone) independently. This approach makes the most of the not so unusual technique that involves playing without a mouthpiece. The result is a set of 'clicks' and 'glitches' that evoked the rusty feel of an oxidizing surface.

 


Oxides

Homeostasis

Formal conception

Aubiome (a contraction of Audio + Biome) was from the beginning a conscious effort to avert a top-down compositional approach. Musical ideas, sections, movements and the final form of the piece derive all from the intrinsic logic of a number of interaction patterns in the micro-scale. That is, the piece unfolds as an ever-mutating organism in which sound cells develop, grow, recombine, eventually peak —or reach a dead end— and degenerate to give place to the next generation, the next wave, the next musical idea.

 

Although the eight movements in the 2017 recording of Aubiome are punctuated by silence, the live realization of the piece does not require a break to separate one movement from the next. So much so that the music needs to be already present at the moment the audience is even entering the concert space, signaling an unsevered line of existence while symbolically setting the beginning of the piece somewhere distant in time.

Metabolic pathways

V. Homeostasis


In this movement the computer provides with two extra voices that combine into a thick three-layered texture. These lines evolve independently, causing an ever-changing microtonal drift. This piece was the last addition to aubiome, already on the filming set.

Organic decay

Charge saturation

Micro vs. macro structure

Rather than imposing some form onto the musical material, we proceeded to some extent by trial an error when developing the it, and slowly traced possible paths between different ideas. These paths are directional but convoluted in a way that resembles the flow diagram of a metabolic pathway, rather than fix score.


The same is true for the overall structure of the piece: the movements —or some of them— can be performed in a number of different successions, with multiple assembling possible. This suggests necessary choices be made in every new performance.


VI. Metabolic pathways


In this movement, the trails of the played notes overlap in a non-predictable way. It is a different use of delay that suggests in the listener a multitude of paths crossing and diverging, merging and finally drifting away.


The pieces shown in the video obey a specific realization of Aubiome, hence the numbering accompanying the name. It encodes the specific mutation of aubiome captured in video and should be understood as one of many.

 

In order to convey a certain energy that can only be experienced truly in the live performance, filmmaker Siavash Talebi was never idle. A different lighting and camera movement were conceived for each movement, consciously directing the attention of the viewer in a fluid manner towards the saxophonist, specific performing gestures or the room itself.

Aubiome d2h83  |  video 

VII. Organic decay


In this movement the sound of the soprano saxophone is artificially 'thickened' by the live electronics. This artifact, however, degenerates over time in more and more fractured sounds, eventually decaying into silence.

VIII. Charge saturation


The pieces that brings the present realization of aubiome to an end takes it to extreme the task of 'destroying' the saxophone sound. The live electronics draw the upwards line of tension until a genuinely climactic end of the piece.

Vienna, 2018