Wandering Rocks / Commodity Music CD

This is at last the cover of the CD of Wandering Rocks / Commodity Music, released in December 2016!

Wandering Rocks is a piece conceived for four electric guitars and 27 loud speakers in 2014. The source of the prerecorded sounds is mainly synthesis elaborated with an analog modular synth called SERGE, in La Muse en Circuit.
This piece, about 35 minutes long, is not meant for concert halls, because it is not frontal, but for a large room which can welcome a moving (wandering) audience: the public can walk between the loudspeakers, which are disposed in concentric circles, and between the guitarists, who are in the smallest circle, therefore surrounded by the loudspeakers. All the loudspeakers play distinct sound sources, so that the result evokes a moving ocean of sound waves and musical figures traveling in space, as well as in time.
The title comes from a chapter from Ulysses, by James Joyce, entitled "Wandering Rocks". Joyce´s voice, reading a short excerpt from Ulysses is heard in the second half of the piece.

Commodity Music is a music installation/concert realized for Darmstadt Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in 2016. It uses electronic material extracted from Wandering Rocks, as well as its time frame, but the guitar parts are radically different.
Moreover, texts and videos have been added and build up a completely new work.
The subject of the piece (as described in the libretto samples given below) is to represent the musicians in various sound actions, put under the common auspices of their UTILITY.

It´s a sad truth that music per se is disappearing from our life (after poetry), because of our difficulties to focus on an exclusive and demanding concentration to listen to it. It is replaced or diluted in videos, commercials, movies, etc, when in parallel the musician is more and more iconic – although his or her distinction shrinks.
In Commodity Music, the space is also different from the one of Wandering Rocks, since the audience can now move in different rooms, where each musician has some tasks. The premiere of Commodity Music took place in the Design Haus in Darmstadt, and was followed by a performance of Wandering Rocks, in the adjacent garden.

A CD is certainly problematic to fully represent a work which was on the one hand an immersive sonic experience, and on the other hand linked to a political/satirical dramaturgy, expressed via movements, videos and projected texts.
This recording, therefore, is a third easy-teenage version of this material, devoted to a stereo elate-by-night entertainment.
Elements from both pieces have been used, as well as another time organization, because the movement of the listener in Wandering Rocks as in Commodity Music require another musical pace.

François Sarhan
sept. 7, 2016

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