A Weightlessness Process (or how to become ethereal)

This solo cello piece is part of my research on mass as a semantic dimension of timbre, specifically from the concept of weight. I explore how weight can be constructed, built, created, controlled, morphed or conducted. Then, the only source of sound becomes multiple through the technical approach and preparation that work as extension of the timbral possibilities of the cello. The structure presents two contrasting points that mark the beginning and the end, understanding the compositional approach as a process of mass (weight) reduction. The weightlessness process works by the division of timbre in several tiny, light pieces that spread away until being lost. However, the unstable nature of the timbres produced by the techniques developed for the piece doesn’t allow to create such a linear process. Instead, fluctuations are given over time, sudden interruptions produced by cycles of energy accumulation that tend to reach the heaviest point of timbre before exploding, leaving its lightest reminiscence.

An excerpt of the piece, performed by Séverine Ballon during a workshop at the University of Leeds in November 2019 is available on my SoundClound:

ABONDANO_Practice As Research

We no longer sleep in the wind

The composition, for solo double bass Paetzold, is based on the experience of volume as a parameter of mass in timbre. Volume allows to extend the timbral experience to three dimensions: height, weight, and length. In this piece I focus on the perception of depth as a direct consequence of the simultaneous interaction of these three dimensions.

The title is a verse of the poem ‘The Wind Sleepers’ by Hilda Doolittle, but the composition is not directly based on or inspired by the poem. I just felt very attracted to this verse since my research inquiries about volume are also related to the idea of dust as a natural element that has a minimal expression of mass. I also associate the experience of sleeping to depth, but at the same time wind is movement, it moves and it is space for movement at the same time. Then, the title is a nostalgic expression for this transformational process of timbre in which it is losing the volume of its mass, but it will never disappear completely, even if it becomes something as empty or hollow to drift.

‘We no longer sleep in the wind’ was composed specially for Sylvia Hinz.

The date for the premiere (as any of our projects) is uncertain at the moment, but we keep on working in our music, waiting for better times to come.

 

IMG_20200102_153452~2

This picture was taken in early January while working on the preliminary ideas for the piece. Berlin, 2020.

KEEP ON BREATHING

My first album has been released! It is an online compilation of my electroacoustic works from 2009 to 2017. KEEP ON BREATHING is the title of the first electroacoustic piece that I composed. It is also the title of this timbral exploration journey. These works were composed in different stages of my life, even in different countries, and I can say that they represent my fascination with timbre. In fact, many of the timbral inquiries that I am trying to develop in my instrumental music now come from my experience with electronic processes. You can listen to it on bandcamp (streaming), but if you want you can also download the album or the individual works in high quality here.

Thanks for your support!

MICHELE ABONDANO_KEEP ON BREATHING

Just An Attempt To Dissipate

just an attempt to dissipate

I have been commissioned by Collective Lovemusic to compose a piece for Soprano, Alto Flute, Bass Clarinet, and Acoustic Guitar, which will be premiered in Strasbourg as part of the concert ‘Orologio di fuoco’ next January 17th at the National University Library of Strasbourg BNU.

The composition is based on the experience of mass as a timbral dimension. The four instruments determine a space of interaction where the created timbre presents a continuous change of density. The piece is just an attempt to dissipate, not only the tension generated in that process, but the perception of mass in timbre itself, even though it seems to be unbreakable and impossible to disperse.

Looking forward to working with the ensemble!

Destrucción del imaginario

This octophonic electroacoustic composition explores the possibilities to destroy the aesthetic, technical and conceptual referents that traditionally use to condition the perceptual experience of the world. The sound material invites to a personal interaction from the abolition of any qualifier systematically established. In this piece, something that could be understood as a failed attempt manifests itself in its uniqueness as the essence of being from a particular necessity of transformation. Destruction of the imaginary (English translation of the title) is created as a freedom statement from the perception and understanding of our own existence.

Although I composed this work in 2017, the premiere had to wait for two years! Now, I am extremely happy to tell you that it can be listened in concert by the first time (stereo version) thanks to UL -música mixta- that has programmed it in a concert on October 6th as part of the activities of the Mixed Media Composition School organised by Casataller in Bolivia.

Distorted Pieces of Something. Study on Light (when it rains)

This piece for soprano saxophone and viola is part of my research on luminance as one of the ‘semantic’ dimensions of timbre that accounts for the amount and intensity of light that is perceived in it.

Spending hours working next to a window while it was raining, I recognised in it a kind of filter and distortion effect. From this perspective, the piece is structured in five uninterrupted sections that explore the heavy falling rain, when there is also mist, that thick and untouchable presence that fills a space and prevents us from seeing the other side, turning everything into faint images, like pieces of something that has no form at all, almost vanished, but still there. There is also and exploration of the moment immediately after the rain stops, when everything is wet and many drops cover the windows through which everything is perceived diffused and blurred, covered by a halo of the past, but also when light is wide reflected and refracted at the same time, spreading its presence as distorted pieces of something that shine ambiguously.

You can listen to the unofficial recording of the premiere on SoundCloud:

Distorted Pieces of Something. Study on Light (when it rains)

Thanks to Wojtek Psiuk (soprano sax) and Aleksandra Demowska-Madejska (viola) for the amazing job at the Synthetis Composition Course 2019.

 

The clink of the spoon in your coffee

The clink of the spoon in your coffee is a line of a poem written by William Carlos Williams (“A Goodnight”). The piece is part of a period of exploration of the relationship between poetical images and sound. It is not a programmatic work, instead it is an attempt of timbral composition inspired in the imaginary soundscape of a poem. In this case, I felt very attracted to the intimacy, the subtlety in the development of each gesture. In this composition, the three instruments (alto flute, bass clarinet and violin) are articulated in a process of timbral exploration that generates brief percussive attacks and extended resonances in constant transformation.

It is a great satisfaction to invite you to the premier by the great collective lovemusic on July 12th, 2019 at the BNU Strasbourg National University Library Auditorium.

Lovemusic_BNAStrasbourg

 

Infinitely ethereal

My work ‘Infinitely ethereal’ for solo Bassoon (2018) will be premiered by the amazing bassoonist Rebekah Heller (International Contemporary Ensemble ICE) at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music next Friday, October 26th.

This piece is inspired in a fragment of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway: “and lit in him such a fire as burns only once in a lifetime, without heat, flickering a red gold flame infinitely ethereal and insubstantial […].”

The way in which she describes that volatile condition made me think about the constant interaction of uncontrolled and unexpected forces in a wide range of possibilities. Consequently, I assumed the low register and the physical experience of the corporeal attributes of the instrument (size, shape, material) as images of the strength and power of such a passion. Also, I follow the idea of fragility, the flickering flame, to approach ethereal qualities of the bassoon’s sound through diverse techniques that allowed me to work on the complexity of its movement and transformation to create unstable and unique timbres.

 

El timbre: noción y experiencia creativa

With enormous satisfaction I share the publication of my article “El timbre: noción y experiencia creativa” [Timbre: Notion and Creative Experience] in the journal Ensayos: Historia y Teoría del Arte Vol. 21 N° 33. Institute of Aesthetics Research, Faculty of Arts, Universidad Nacional de Colombia [Article in Spanish].

This article corresponds to the first chapter of my Master’s Thesis: Reflexiones sobre el proceso creativo de un ciclo de piezas transmediales y colaborativas, articuladas por la exploración tímbrica a través de la interacción del sonido y el movimiento [Reflections about the creative process of a cycle of transmedial and collaborative pieces, articulated by the timbral exploration through sound and movement interaction]. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mexico, 2015.

All the pieces of this research are available on my vimeo channel:  https://vimeo.com/micheleabondano

Thanks for reading!

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