issue 12 :: July 2007

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INTERVIEW: Eric Cordier

The following interview with French musician and sound artist Eric Cordier has a long and tortured history. The bulk of the interview was originally conducted in French by Eric La Casa and published in the excellent publication Revue et Corigée in 1993. Eric and I translated the interview into English to be published in the the still-birth that was N D 22. At the same time, I translated a group interview with Eric, Eric La Casa and Oliver Charrier that was publsihed in Monk Mink Pink Punk #5. This is then a combination of the original French interview, follow up questions from 1997, and recently asked questions from 2007. It is my firm belief that an interview worth reading, is one worth reading years later. And I hope this falls into that category. Cordier has worked under numerous names--Synapse, Afflux, Schams--and you may be confused if you don’t have the CDs in front of you.
interview by Josh Ronsen
Q: How did you become involved with music?
Cordier: I discovered music at the age of 14. A few years later I decided to play music and bought my first instrument: a synthesizer, as well as a 4 track cassette recorder and a mixing board. At the same time I began going to an art high school. I stopped playing synthesizer when I went into the national civil service at Grame in 1987, fed up by synthesizers in the contemporary music research center. I bought a hurdy-gurdy a year later. At Grame, I had very good tools and a strong, accelerated learning of music, MIDI tools and recording. I seriously began music in 1987 with Nadir [with Jean-Luc Guionnent and Cecile Maupoux] and in1988 with UNACD.
Q: How did you start working with sound environments as opposed to traditional performance?
Cordier: The first sound environment was done in April, 1989 when UNACD was commissioned to do a concert for the opening of an art gallery in Rouen. It was the opportunity to do more than just a concert. I decided to build a sound environment with a collection of loudspeakers that I had since childhood. The music was a grand collage of various musics, not really interesting. The concert was a mix between a concert and a performance where we broke a television with a sledgehammer (with microphones in it). But the first three sound environments were not good because the originating idea was mine but the music was done in collaboration but not with good ideas. The first interesting environment was in 1992 in Yvetot done by myself, after UNACD ended.
Q: What are the general components of your works?
Cordier: My music has three types: instruments (mainly strings); concrete sounds/outdoor sound recordings, and thirdly, but on a different level, the materials of a place when doing sound environments, because the sound will be induced by the material [walls, staircases, etc.]. Concerning performances, there is the human body as well.
Q: How do you set up the internal structure of the music? “We have to reach the heart of the thing.” ­Joseph Beuys
Cordier: At its start, there is the sound. It is the essential thing. Perhaps it comes from my experience in improvisation. Every day, in the studio, I don’t have any structure or compositional intention in mind. I do everything in the instant of the manipulation of the sound as I hear it. That’s what I’ve done with Jean-Luc Guionnet (a longtime collaborator: improvisation, performance, electro-acoustic music) under the name Nadir. That goes on with “Stellaire Holostée” and then “Houlque” [the music used to activate these installations are on the excellent, essential CD released by Le Grande Fabrique -Ed.], with an accentuated bias impossible to imagine between two people. For example, a sound recording of a few seconds can generate a 20 minute piece of music. Alone, I don’t hesitate to go the limits of what I can give a piece of sound. But it is impossible to do that with every fragment of sound. For example, in “Houlque Molle,” the wealth and complexity of a small recording makes possible four or five minutes of music. It’s a very brief recording of my hurdy-gurdy, but its internal wealth allows me different manipulations for immense development. It is more difficult to build a sound structure, the richness of a few timbres of which allow its transformation. It is not possible every day… The rest of the piece links easily, but in an empirical way.
Q: Nothing else, not even an extra musical causality?
Cordier: No, my tools are intuition and empiricism. I use these two. My intuition gives me some directions and sometimes that works and sometimes not. So I have to experiment. I try various ways, some are not interesting. In that case I stop. I keep the experimentation which protects the quality and the energy of the source. I could say that for me the music is purely sensory. I build the music in a total renunciation of will and consciousness. In the moment when I’m working, I can’t impress a structure on it. After the initial recording, I’m no longer the composer who dictates to the music its form. The sample dictates to me the form it can adopt with the minimal lost of quality and energy as possible. And the more we process the sound, the larger are the alterations [i.e., unwanted degredations]. We must stop as early as possible. I’ve often discussed the problem with Jean-Luc [Guionnet]. The basic thing: there is a nature of the sound, a quality of the sound which can be destroyed with the treatments we inflict to it. The important thing is to find the right recording to a precise sound. This is what we have called “rumeur d’amont,” the “upstream murmur.” A few years ago, Jean-Luc and I wrote a kind of manifesto defining our position called “The Upstream Murmur” [reprinted in English in N D 21]. The upstream murmur is the main thing, what comes before the recording of the sound. This is the essential point for me. Whereas what follows the recording is of the order of the loss of energy and quality. We must do as few as possible changes after the recording. So most of processing as possible must be done before the recording. We have to build a rich and interesting recording to use it, and rework it as little as possible. Precisely with an instrument, we have to do very strange things with it and pay attention to small details when playing. And simultaneously the way of recording the sound must be appropriate with what is played. For example, “Stellaire Holostée” has been built on a single hurdy-gurdy recording, but a very special one. The hurdy-gurdy is a string instrument with a circular bow. The recording has been made in stereo with two contact microphones that have been placed under each foot of the instrument’s bridge, because the way of playing the instrument was on moving the bridge. With a very good recording, I can work for 15 days and generate a large quantity of music, redeploying it in a thousand ways, only using pitch (varying the speed of the recorder), copy, cut and paste with just a Revox recorder.After 1998 my tools have changed i'm not using revox but computer and a mastering software but used in a similar way (cut, paste, pitch).
Q: Being close to this upstream energy is also found in your work in Nadir and Schams which are experiences of the instant.
Cordier: With Nadir (performance), the movements of the body, the relationships with the others, the relation to space and time was made with a total lack of consciousness. The brain was working far from how it’s used for the activities of daily life. Our standpoint was to work far from conscious acts. Everything is done from another plane of consciousness (that takes a long time to form), and that was deeply modified our standpoint in front of life and mainly society.
To give you an image, I could say that it was similar to having rediscovered the animal functionalities away from the tyranny of thought and consciousness. Since that time I view the music similarly. This is the reason for the inadequacy, the ill-placed word of “composer” with all the implied pretension; that is the reason for improvisation as well.
Q: Is the idea of the upstream murmur related to the name of your sound environments from the vegetal world? The idea of growth (internal and external) is here directly evident...
Cordier: The names used are the names of plants known to me. There is not only the idea of growth. The titles of my pieces that are names of plants refer to the living world and to its complex structure. I know these plants well because before music I did phytosociology (or phytocoenology) research. Phytosociology is the study of the capability of plants to live in groups. That’s something we generally don’t suspect. Plants are living in a society in groups which have relations that are different from the individual, isolated plant. The interesting point is that a group of plants can survive in conditions that are not favorable to an isolated plant. The group can resist unfavorable chemical substratum or climates (building a micro-climate as every forest does). This organizational level of life, at another level than ours, at the level of plants that are for us in a lower rank, is fascinating. That is a lesson, too, which puts humans in their real place.
Q: What was the motivation behind Nadir? It seems odd for an installation artist or musician to undertake such a personal exposure.
Cordier: There is nothing odd for an installation artist or musician because I’m not only a musician. I become more and more musician actually and I have said before that I’m not a specialist. I’m an artist who likes to use various media: these and sculpture too. I am simply human. Everybody can do various things.
There is another reason to say that there is nothing odd because: I was first a performer (in 1986) of body art (not music) . First I did body art performances in an actionist style. One of my teachers was Michel Journiac, who did mass communion parodies done with his own blood. But there is nothing odd, because the intention with Nadir was not personal exposure [nudity]. Perhaps you have this idea because you have only seen the pictures and not the performances themselves. Nadir is more than just to show us nude. It was not only to take a pretty picture. Your question is not easy because “exposure” has various meanings. Nadir has been an extreme experience across the cold (to stay in the cold for hours and by contrast get the simple and animal delight of heat from another person), the time (getting another perception of time), the senses; all our perceptions modified… This experience has modified our brains, more deeply than drugs could have done, and without their danger. We know that we can enter deeply into everything. When we do something, we do it fully. The only sickness we have is that we are beyond redemption for society.
There is not a real intention because we never decided to do it one day because it didn’t exist before. We have built this way of being, this was of acting little by little, during two years, without intention. We have built this acting at art school and the only intention was what we have learned from our teacher Andre’ Almuro (performer, experimental film maker and composer) that was to loose our mark and to see what happens. And we have gone farther than he expected. The paradox is that we have built something without intention.
Q: I must bring up the question of polyvalency: a basic question that joins the making of structure and transmission.
Cordier: Today, we have to be specialized. Max Weber used that as a sign of modern society. That has a lot of advantages for the people close to power. With a professional army (something new in France, at this moment [in 1993] creating many debates) there are fewer possibilities for people to gain control of weapons. What seems to be alarming in specialization is that everyone has lost much, even if specialization is the general evolution of contemporary society. It’s best not to follow this evolution, becoming an enslaved zombie. If we look back to the past, at the time of the Renaissance, for example, people had great polyvalency. At that time, the difference between artists and craftsmen was not so clear. People were not limited to a single activity, but were able do several. Now, we have to be a virtuoso, or a composer, or an improviser and an improviser of jazz and not of something else. Very precise things. But I think from the combination of different attitudes something interesting emerges. We seem to forget a great lesson from biology, from the theory of evolution: the overspecialized disappears at the first change of conditions, the over-adapted becomes inadaptable. Not to be trapped in an ultimate adaptation is a way to evolve forever. For example, with arrival of the winter, we have seen that city dwellers find the cold abnormal. Working outside last winter, I noticed how the city dwellers were maladjusted to the cold. Politically, the increasing maladjustment of people to their environment shows us that people will no longer be able to react to a change in the society as conflict, or to more repressive, more insidious laws.
Q: What about transmission in sound environments?
Cordier: Electro-acoustic music concerts as they are done in France: boring. The moving projection of sound (coming from a two track tape) is artificial and arbitrary. I have the same problem when I’m watching a movie in a big cinema where an absolutely unjustified twirling sound is imposed on me. The idea of interpretation in electro-acoustic music is vain and empty. Electro-acoustic music, by definition, has no interpreter. The sound projection is added to the music as a gimmick. I think composers try to justify the ill-placed moment of the electro-acoustic music performance. They try to reconcile two opposite aspects. I sometimes appreciate electro-acoustic performances when the music can express itself, without the need of impressing it an additional movement. Generally in France, with two-track tape, the “interpreter” uses a filter to isolate some high frequencies and places them on particular loudspeakers. The music must have its own internal life. For example, “Bohor,” a piece by Iannis Xenakis—eight tracks of music projected very loudly—was one of the best concerts of that kind I’ve ever heard (Evreux, 1993).
Q: Describe your principle of installation.
Cordier: For the sound environment, the device is very simple. It is a group a hundred loudspeakers mounted at ear height or on the ground. I have used this device from the beginning, but the musical aspect has changed a lot. At the beginning it was not a good music, something like collage. Later it became a music built according to the device. The CD “Houlque” is characteristic of that time. Since 1994, I have only kept the interferences of the music. The sound events are only vibrations of the material of the place itself, or from the noise of the metal structure of the loudspeaker. The loudspeaker can also produce an overload noise of the sound of the membrane crashing on the wall. Actually my work tries to make sound from the matter of a place or the loudspeaker itself. Now, it begins to be difficult to call it music.
This must give an environment its sensations, and not limited to only one sense. They must be both visual and sonorous. But I try to generate tactile sensations, bringing the matter of the ground, of the walls in resonance… and at last the visitor is induced in it. It is not just to hear, but to feel.
The device uses a few hundred loudspeakers, all different, and connected both in series and in parallel. Each group of loudspeakers is connected to one of the 6 or 8 tracks of the music. The loudspeakers are various types. The frequencies sent to the loudspeakers are not stable. Being changing, they give different responses according to the moment and the type of loudspeaker. The responses depend on the resonance frequency of the loudspeaker and the inadequacy between the low frequencies sent and the quality or the diameter of the loudspeakers. From all these interferences, what is spread by the loudspeakers is very discreet, inaudible or barely audible too. I use very low frequencies which brings high energy that is transmitted to the [wall] through the attached speaker. There is no more music spread by the speakers, so they have been turned and the speaker membranes are against the matter and matter vibrates with them. On iron walls or staircases, I use strong magnets.
Q: Is it in this sense that you declare: “A music that makes the room speak?”
Cordier: Yes, in my sound environments, the music begins to speak but says nothing more. It doesn’t impose anything else. The music is only a medium, the substance that makes the room generate sounds. It is no longer an aim. “A music that makes the room speak,” without doubt, the words exceed the facts. I only manage to reveal partly the place, revealing some quality of the room but not its history, or other things of that order. I’m often asked “what has happened in this place?” My words don’t stand at the level of history, but on the level of the [physical] matter.
Q: You try to make it speak, but do you try to converse with it?
Cordier: It is possible to converse only insofar as the music is recorded on tape? It is not possible to experiment the music on the place but I take the risk. Each environment is experimentation. I don’t really converse with the place but explore its physical architecture.
What seems important to me in a sound environment, is that we are engaged by several senses, but with temporal controls. We can experience it on a very small duration or experience it at several times or for a long duration. This permits various kinds of approaches in which the visitor is totally free.
Q: You’ve worked with Jean-Luc Guionnet over the years on numerous projects. What does he bring into your collaborations?
Cordier: Difficult to answer without being killed by him!!! In fact, we have the same background. We met each other at university (art studies) and we had the same teachers, and especially the one that gave us a very good basis for doing art: André Almuro. This professor was a kind of killer, very hard on students but very important in helping us find what is wrong in our attempts at art (we were beginners), killing our failures and laziness, providing the facilities to build something strong. He taught both tape music and performance/body-art and from this we have exceeded what he taught us (as being nude during the performance workshop). So we can say that we have grown together and we have given each other a lot of small things during years, very small but so many...
What [Jean-Luc] brought me is a free-jazz background, because his father was a jazz musician and I was just getting to know Coltrane’s music and reciprocally I have tried to convert him to Industrial music and noisy things (it has been hard… but successful). Consequently, as they had a basement with a drum set at his parent’s house, we began to improvize together around 1989. That was good training for me, but improvisation was already the basis of our body-art work since 1986.
Actually we don’t play so much together, only once every 2 years but what I like is that when we redo something together, we forget nothing and do it as if we stopped the day before. And as we know each other so well, we have a strange relation where we don’t need to use words so much, just feel…
An important thing: even if we have a common background, we are different and so we are complementary and we use this fully. By example he is better at real-time mixing than me (in tape music and in Afflux) and I’m more specialized on treatments of the sound.
Q: You received a PhD in Religious Science on 19th Century French folklore. Why this interest? What did you uncover in your research?
Cordier: At the École pratique des hautes études, Vth section, religious sciences. It is not a real university, it is high school (don’t need secondary school examination, so workers can reach this kind of university, but it is a higher level than university (the second after Collège de France)). But in fact all my courses had been done in Paris, that is a very good university and politically anti-liberal (the one where I met Jean-Luc) (I changed in my last years for technical reason see below). So both universities are very good (I don’t reject the first and especially the teacher that has initialized this research).
I’ve been interested in both music and humanities studies (history, philosophy) for a long time. During secondary school I was doing archaeology as an amateur, during the 5 first years of university (83-89). I became a professional archaeologist for training and to make a living (my parents were very poor during the ‘80s). I was at university for archaeology, history and history of arts and there was the possibility to take secondary courses in arts which meant I did less and less archaeology. My teacher of philosophy of art was interested in the question of language and by a strange chance meeting I have read a small text from the 19th Century about the dialect of my country giving all the potentiality of this language and so I found a subject that was never studied before that has been very exciting during 9 years.
I give you the official abstract :
The system of representation of the peasants in Normandy -- animal & supernatural figures through the vocabulary of the dialect and the popular traditions of the 19th Century.
The analysis of the vocabulary of the dialect of the Normandy (north-west France) has brought out various themes helping us to understand the system of representation of the peasants in Normandy. Secondly, it has added a new corpus based on fairy tales, customs and ethnographic data gathered by folklorists during the 19th Century. It results that savage animals as bee honey, fox and wolf are lush in representations because they combine nearness (they interfere with the world of the peasant) and resistance to the human. Domestic animals are not thought of in this way because of their submission to man. When they generate metaphors, these take place only in restricted fields. The pig can be seen as an exception because the human engages it in a process of rebuilding savagery by “coprotenia.” The ghosts inquire the social order, the norms and their transgressions. The werewolf (called varou) is the metaphor of the break of social order simultaneously to be a terrestrial penance process where people are reintegrated to the community in wasting an excess of energy. The supernatural creatures: fairies, elves, goblins, imps… are conceived as living in a society like the human one and integrated in an exchange system with the peasants. Fairies allow to the peasants to think the organization of the familial space depending on the gender and specialization of the labor, the opposition between savage and domestic, nature and culture. The mal de saint (meaning literally sickness set by the Christian saints) is the therapeutic aspect of the cult of saints. It result from the syncretism between Catholicism and a popular construction making the distortion of the Christian cult in an inflated arithmetic of the rituals, setting a power struggle where illnesses are sent back to the saints. The prerogatives of the saints are close to fairies and lead to a comparison between saints and fairies showing a symmetrical conception of the two.
Q: Did the work of Mircea Eliade have any bearing on your work?
Cordier: No, but your question is interesting. I need to explain, I need to give some details. My teacher of philosophy of art was (she died recently) Genevieve Clancy (nothing to do with Tom) and as my subject was mainly based on the relationship between animals and humans, so I tried to find a teacher interested in this subject. I began to go at École pratique des hautes études for Linguistics (Henriette Walter, linguistics of animals names), History (Michel Pastoureau) and Ethnology on Shamanism (Roberte Hamayon). This last has been the main teacher of my PhD, because shamanism is mainly relationship between humans, animals and super-nature (gods) and my subject was excavating ancient ways of thinking coming from before christianism, an ancient religion that has to viewed by the light of shamanism so an ethnologist of shamanism was needed to give me the tools to analyse my subject. But in this kind of university, I was in high science and I must say that I have learnt that Mircea Eliade is not serious at all. He is an introduction to this subject, but not serious. He was not an ethnologist. He worked on people’s texts that described shamanistic rituals and these texts still exist in Russia and have been read again so actual research can show how he gave a wrong interpretation of shamanism, there is a mix between real shamanism and christianism mysticism, Christian symbols, transcendence, going to the heaven, going in the sky that he has invented. There is no transcendence in shamanism but something closer to immanency. So there is too much bad interpretation, a kind of misunderstanding in his work. There is the same problem with Castaneda, even worst. Castaneda was never an ethnologist, he is a writer and more precisely he has done plagarized an anthropologist (sorry, I don’t remember there names but it is real anthropologist of west coast university). He read their PhD disertations and took details that were arranged in a drug fascination and a deep romantic vision of the American Indian that is totally false. Don Juan never existed and native Indian shamanism/religion is much more complicated and interesting than what he has written. But he is an easy read, everyone has read Castaneda but it is a mystification, but has you are in USA it is perhaps easy to find Castaneda’s source.
I’m no longer in touch with my teacher Roberte Hamayon, but she was working on an English translation and his book could be called “Soul Hunting” if it has been published.
Q: You worked as sound engineer for Maurico Kagel: what piece(s) did you work on?
Cordier: “Vox Humana” [Cantata for solo loudspeaker, women's voices, and orchestra composed in1979].
Q: What was it like working with Kagel? Did you have a chance to have a true conversation with him?
Cordier: No, I was just a small technician and not during the time of composition, just to prepare a live performance. What I remember is that he was a kind guy, not a star, someone human, humble and a big professional. What is sure is that I really enjoy his work especially live because his concept of musical-theatre make gigs of contemporary music not boring at all (and musically interesting). Try to see his work.
Q: How did you approach the collaboration with Chie Mukai and Seiichi Yamamoto [Enkidu]?
Cordier: Once more, a big chance-meeting. Michel Henritzi has booked a lot of tours for Japanese musicians and especially Mukai. One day a tour of Dadurn was planed but Michel, who had an extra job, was not free to be their driver and assistant for the tour so he asked me to play with them to do this. And the meeting was great. I must say that Yamamoto is a musical genius, he is the most interesting musician that I have ever played with. I very much like how he likes both melody and noisy things and can turn at 90° and Mukaï brings in the trio something crazy. When the music reaches a good level for her, she stops playing in order to dance, bringing a very strange mood that I enjoy a lot. And she is a good multi-instrumentist. So Yamamoto and me are like two columns where Mukai turns around dancing or playing drums or piano. When she play kokyu my feeling is the contrary, she is a column where Yamamoto and me are virtually moving around.
Actually, Yamamoto is deeply affected by the death of his girlfriend in an accident during a tour in USA and it is difficult to convince him to play live again to tour in the USA, but I hope that the (2LP) record that will be soon released by Locust will change things. We will try to tour in Europe and perhaps USA.
The meeting has been built on a concept of folk-trad music with a little rock spirit and totally improvised. So Yamamoto doesn’t play punk guitar as in Boredoms, but in that band he has made a return to folk that he was playing during the ‘70s and me in this band I’m playing a traditional instrument: hurdy-gurdy. For Mukai there is a continuity with what she was doing before (Che Shizu).
It is a very opened band, based on improvisation and we all have a large range of styles. We don’t recognise in us the lo-fi-neo-folk that is boring. We try to be surprised in the music we generate and be pushed up by the music. To be honest, as it is improvised and as we are not perfect, it is not always good, it has even been very bad in Densité, Grenoble and Osaka, but certainly very good for the rest. There is something psychedelic coming from Dadurn when they abuse echoes (I don’t share that). Sometimes it is folk but not always and we can fall into something noisy or melodic, with big changes of mood, it is obvious in the already released album “Hasselt” and it will be the same in the future “live in Kyoto” record. This kind of music is a breath of fresh air for me because in the Paris-Berlin improvised style we can say that improvisation is a loss of liberty because the improvisation has to be ultra-minimal and now with a drop of ridiculous pseudo-harsh-noise (like when bourgeois people say they are rebels: that sounds wrong).
Q: On the Afflux performances/recordings, does each specific location suggest what needs to be done, or is there a common apparatus that can be used anywhere? How does this differ from Synapses?
Cordier: I feel a double question, the question of the relationship between the location and the set up/device and the question of a common apparatus.
1. Surely, Synapses can be set-up in any places and actually I’m doing Orgue de Bois (Wooden Organ), and for me, it is the contrary for Afflux. That’s the reason why I call that a “vernacular device” and that is the point of disagreement between the Afflux members [J-L Guionnet and Eric La Casa]. In an absolute point of view a vernacular device could be done in any location, even if sounds are not interesting and even if there is a lack of sound source. But… but this is very difficult, we are not God, we have not infinite technical requirements/tools etc… I’m not interested in producing non-interesting music and I’m not interested in minimalism, silence and emptiness (as work of a musician). To do a vernacular device in a silent place to produce a silent piece of music doesn’t satisfy me, c.f. TNT And/Or. According to that and as I’m quite pragmatic I prefer to say that for a good musical result a vernacular device must be set-up in an interesting place where there are interesting things to listen to. The consequence is that for a good result, a selection of the place is needed. So before the day of the recording there is a visit or knowledge of the places to see if it will be possible to build music there. Much work needs to be done before such project and it is not interesting to do it anywhere and it takes a long time to find a good location. That’s the reason why the locations (except one) used in the 2 first records are located in my birth area or the Dieppe area where we were working with J-L Guionnet (at contemporary studio La Grande Fabrique). So I knew some of the places since childhood. The petroleum factory seemed to be interesting because one day I crossed this area by bicycle and heard an amazing sound (connecting to a place (quiet close)) where my father went hunting at night. Impossible to hear that sound if you cross by car. The harbour headquarters of Dieppe seemed interesting to me on a sunny, summer day. I was walking on the cliff when I realised that the windows of the headquarters were open and I was listening to a mix between talking in the building, the turning radar, and the far sounds of the city and the sea.

picture: Satoko Fujimoto
2. About the common apparatus: with Synapse or Orgue de Bois (Wooden Organ) it is a common apparatus that we adapt more or less to a location and Synapses or Orgue de Bois are just instruments that we have to play and everything even a shoe can become an instrument if you use contact mics. We can change the apparatus but it is not completely different, but we have another constraint is to build a sculpture, with an aesthetical result, quite rough in the case of Synapses, more elegant and bigger in the case of Wooden Organ (without hierarchy between rough and elegant, equal for me). The sculpture in Synapses is mainly made of metal and of wood for Wooden Organ, so the sound of Synapses is more bright and metallic than the Wooden Organ.
For Afflux there is no constraint of sculpture or performance but a necessity of producing music according to various sound sources. So it is necessary to adapt tools/devices to the sound source. If there is a river or the sea it is better to use water-proof microphones. For the petroleum factory, the security constraint given by the factory was to not stay in a place where we could break something, start a file or plant a bomb. So we moved all day long without using alternative current, but only devices on batteries.
3. According to the 2 points if it is impossible to have an infinity of technological tools the contrary is possible: to release a real time music without editing and using only 2 microphones if we choose a good place at the right instant. It is what we call field-recording.
Q: What are you working on now?
Cordier: As my way to improvise is not in the mainstream, I’m doing less and less improvisation in the normal improv scene, but more and more outside this scene without saying that it is improvised. So old projects as Pheromones and collaboration with J-L Guionnet on church organ are an existing style but at a very slow pace.
I’m doing improvisations with Seijiro Murayama (ex-Fushitsusha on drums) and Andrew Sharpley (ex-Stockhausen & Walkman) but it is quite impossible to find gigs. So I’m very active in new ways, I’ve done more gigs during the 3 last years than ever before:
-NOL: No Output Laptops a joke that became a reality: 20 gigs in 3/4 years. Electronic music project based on the use of buzzes.
-Ruderal Project: a performance/body-art project that follows Nadir, with the collaboration of Satoko Fujimoto for the real-time music.
-Board organ (see below). A project with a sculptor Denis Tricot, a giant instrument/sound sculpture that we set-up outside. A project that is similar to Synapses, but different, bigger and that we have done it 20 times and 10 others are already planed. A project that needs a lot of time, one week each, 3 days to built the sculpture…
-Tape music: I’m doing more and more tape-music. Some with the same sculptor, Denis Tricot, who built sculpture during the time of the music in a very strange show and we tour a little with that project and a few others (little different projects). The CD of that should have been released in USA, but the label has stopped (so I search again labels and new demos are ready too).
I’ve begin a composition for tape and percussions for Seijiro Murayama.
I’m working on film music for Christophe Montaucieux.
A vernacular device is about to be done next autumn with Thomas Tilly (Tô/Fissur) at the Paris/Orly airport.
A vernacular device with Emmanuel Mieville is about to be released on Xin Wu (Malaysia).
A collaboration with Ian Morton Iversen has began since years but come slowly (because of my fault).
+ various tape music compositions begin to be planned.
For more info on Eric Cordier, see Ground Fault Records.
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Josh Ronsen
joshronsen (ate) yahoo (dote) com
2001 Brentwood
Austin, Texas 78757 USA