Circuit Fantôme

Season 2 Episode 3

Todor Todoroff
Weekly series of Octophonic Pieces
curated by Anton Iakhontov

June 16 - June 17, 2023 | 18.00-22.00

      Veronikag. 24
      1170 Wien

About the Series

Live performance | Listening sessions

Circuit fantôme is a weekly performance series for octophonic music. It is put together by Anton Iakhontov and takes place in Vronihof, 1170 Vienna. 

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Circuit Fantôme Season 2 Episode3
Todor Todoroff

Compositions   ─ Todor Todoroff is performing his own compositions, and pieces by the Belgian Federation for Electroacoustic Music:

June 16, 2023   Friday
18.00 – 22.00   Listening session + Live performances

Todor Todoroff — Dédales, 2008, 16’ 41’’
Thibault Madeline — Le murmure du Bombus, 2022, 08’ 17’
Charo Calvo — Le Sphinx et Pol, 2023, 08’ 46’’
Jean-Louis Poliart — Déploration sur la mort d’un musicien, 10’ 32’’
Todor Todoroff — Tant de souvenirs..., 2022, 05’ 45’’
           —— Intermission ——
Roeland Luyten — Helena, 2014, 8’ 45’’
Stéphanie Laforce — L’écoute verticale, 2012, 05’ 29’’
Todor Todoroff — A mon cousin de Bergame, 2014, 02’ 40’’
Todor Todoroff — Voices Part I, 1997, 05’ 11’’
Todor Todoroff — Voices Part II - Distant Voices, 1999, 11’ 43’’
Todor Todoroff — Voices Part III - Resistance, 2020, 13’ 31’’

June 17, 2023   Saturday
18.00 – 22.00   Listening session + Live performances

Todor Todoroff — Rupture d’équilibre, 1997, 10’ 17’’
Virginie Viel — Danse Macabre, 2016, 08’ 37’’
Todor Todoroff — Solo Feu, 2001, 04’ 36’’, 2001
Jean-Baptiste Zellal — Spores, 2017, 09’ 16’’
Wim Daeleman — Water, 2020, 08’ 53
Dimitri Coppe — Fragment of a life, 2021, 06’ 46’’
            —— Intermission ——
Todor Todoroff — Réminiscences, 2003, 16’ 08’’
Elizabeth Anderson — Solar Winds, 2012, 09’ 37’’
Todor Todoroff — Kinetic Reflections, 2023, 08’ 20’’
Todor Todoroff — Requiem for a City, 2015-17, 15’ 00’’

What will happen in this Episode?

Electrical Engineer with a specialization in telecommunications from the Free University of Brussels (ULB, 1987), he received a First Prize and a post-graduate diploma in Electroacoustic Composition from the Royal Conservatories of Music in Brussels (1993) and in Mons (1996). He is co-founder and president of FeBeME-BEFEM (Belgian Federation of Electroacoustic Music) and ARTeM(Art, Research, Technology & Music, in Brussels), and founding member of the Forum des Compositeurs. [...]

Read more about Todor Todoroff


Todor Todoroff will be performing his own compositions, and pieces by the Belgian Federation for Electroacoustic Music


Dédales / 2008, 16’ 41″
Todor Todoroff

Dédales [Mazes] is freely inspired by music composed for Les familiers du labyrinthe (2005) [Regulars of the Labyrinth], choreographed by Michèle Noiret for the Paris Opera.

Significant structural changes have been made to the original work and new elements have been integrated. Every now and again, the piece sets up the notion of a strange, undefinable presence by means of ‘coloured silences’; sonic chiaroscuro-like moments which open a door to the unknown. At times, very distinct and rhythmic sonic structures cause the hostile, mechanical and unpredictable universe of the labyrinth to materialize, in whose machinery the performers’ bodies are lost and found again. Emphasis is placed now on its inescapable permanence, now on its kinetic vivacity.

> more about Dédales

Le Murmure du Bombus (The Bombus' Whisper), 2022, 8’ 17’’
Thibault Madeline

Le Murmure du Bombus (The Bombus' Whisper) has its origin in an obsession for an unavoidable, recurring subject: the fly, which is, at the same time, a symbol of a peaceful nature, evoking decomposition, irritation, or even an invading swarm. The fly is so present in our environment that it frequently lands on the microphone with agility and accidentally becomes part of the sound composition.

We hear the fly before we see it. The buzzing is known to harass our ears : that of a nocturnal mosquito, a chain saw working early in the morning, or a high speed dirt bike. But, paradoxically, the buzz can be conceived as a purely harmonic phenomenon. If we ignore the source of the sound, we will be surprised by the inherent musicality of this usually annoying buzzing. This is what Le Murmure du Bombus tries to demonstrate by effectuating a transition from an anecdotal soundscape into a turbulent drone music.

In 2021, Le Murmure du Bombus wins 4th place in the Iannis Xenakis International Electronic Music Competition.

(Produced with the help of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation)

Le Sphinx et Pol, 2023, 08’ 33’’ / stereo, 48Khz 24bit
Charo Calvo

The sonic response of a modular synthesizer to small variations on electric voltage is so mysterious to me, as that a of a balloon singing while forced to exhale the air by squeezing the opening. I have been working with those two sound devices to try to crack the enigma without success, but in the meantime, I produced this piece. It also draws on elements of the Pol Bury monotype digital sur canvas after Ingres’painting ‘Oedipe explique l’énigme du sphinx’ and of the work of Turkish choreographer Bahar Temiz with whom I have collaborated especially for the dance performance Punkt (2023) which speaks of various notions of perspective and depth, also reminding me of certain issues in Bury's work.

déploration sur la disparition d'un musicien (Lament on the Death of a Musician) , 2013, 10’ 32’’
Jean-Louis Poliart

Realized in the Studio "Akousma",  Academy of Music of Soignies, Belgium, and in the composer's studio / created on March 27 2013
Senghor (Brussels)

A term rarely used now, the lament is a genre used in vocal polyphony in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.It celebrates the death of a musician.

However, along with the lament aspect, this piece proposes, above all, a sonic story. This "cinema for the ear" expresses a particularly painful trajectory towards the unique certainty of the human being; the process of the destruction of the body until its liberation. All that remains afterwards is the wind. The sound timbres pertaining to the human voice refer to the genre of early music. The sounds generally unfold in a disorderly effervescence of micro variations as an expression of the fragility of life.

A long crescendo, engendered by a dramatic silence, leads to a first climax.  A second crescendo, which is a variation of the first, leads to the overall climax of the piece and foreshadows, during its development, the final lament. Afterwards, the music expresses the painful breathing, death and lamentation in sequences that become longer and longer and more and more serene.  Coming, as a coda, are sentiments of liberation and oblivion.

The piece ends in a long silence, as a counterpart to the silence in the beginning. It tells the experience of the composer in front of a very painful death.

This work was composed with the help of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Directorate of Culture, Department of Music.

Tant de souvenirs... (So many memories...) / 2022, 05’ 45″
Todor Todoroff

In tribute to Stephan Dunkelman.
To Elena and Sacha.

A low, multiphonic pulse gradually disintegrates - entropy always prevails - and is transformed into thunderous rumblings that encompass the listener.

Then it splits, reminiscent of the beating of a heart.

Vocal transformations, sometimes melodious, sometimes dissonant, draw us into their polyphonic metamorphoses, accompanied by rubbing, sliding and crumpling that materialise the enduring presence. And there is this distant door that refuses to close definitively, that slams, but then opens again and again with a creak that sounds like a call.

Composed in Sandvika, Norway, staying in the very hotel where, in total isolation, tested positive to covid-19, I learned incredulously of Stephan's death in 2020, two days after that of another close friend, even younger, both lost to cancer far too soon.

Composed in the theatre where we were unable to perform in 2020 with the Michèle Noiret dance company. Is it a coincidence that it is precisely that company that brings me back here today, revives my memories and reminds me of the state of utter sadness and disbelief I felt at that time?

That same company was the occasion of my first artistic collaboration with Stephan, exactly 25 years ago, on the show < En Jeu > for which we co-wrote the original music.

So many memories...

Helena, 2014, 8’ 45’’
The intention of this piece is to create a quantum planetary universe of splintered sounds. This can easily result in just chaotic randomness. Therefore, I clot separate short sound clips into groups. In turn, those new groups clot into bigger clusters. This way I gain massive individual sound objects with high granular density. Polyrhythmical structures are enclosed by repeating short granular patterns, like frozen mechanisms. These loops connect the bigger sound objects in time. Some things are too big to control, others too small. In between I compose.

"Helena" received a special mention on the competition "Métamorphoses 2014" (Brussels), was a finalist on the competition "Città di Udine - TEM 2014" (Italy) and won first prize on the 7th International Competition of Electroacoustic Music Composition, Category Acousmatic, of The Foundation Destellos (Argentina) in 2014.

A mon cousin de Bergame / 2014, 02’ 40″
Todor Todoroff

I chose to approach the poem « A mon cousin de Bergame » by Albert Giraud in a purely electroacoustic way, from the point of view of sonorities, according to the rhythm of alliterations. The meaning, which is relatively different in the German translation of Otto Erich Hartleben's « Mein bruder » is revisited by highlighting fragments of sentences, words and syllables in both languages, according to their sonority and dreamlike power.

Granulation techniques are used to reveal prosodic profiles and vocal micro-perturbations, so as to create organic sound materials that reveal, through the exploration of phonemes and vowel transitions, another reading of this symbolist poem.

Commission by Ars Musica / Musiques Nouvelles for the PIERROT REWRITE project.

With the help of Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Direction générale de la Culture, Service de la Musique

L’écoute verticale, 2012, 05’ 11’’
This little piece is based on a storm of emotions felt after the death of the Belgian electroacoustic composer and a friend Stephan Dunkelman. This storm creates  a vibrating, unbalanced and an oscillating energy that the act of composition tries to organize. This piece questions the intertwined connections between the creative power of life and it’s ending. Some fragments of Stephan’s piece « Metharcana » which strongly made a mark when I first discovered Electroacoustic music in 1998 were used as well. The voice and the sound of breathing make this piece intimate and personal. The title refers to a quote by Stéphan "So that between Heaven and Earth the listening is vertical...". Carpe Diem.

Voices Part I / 1997, 05’ 11″
Todor Todoroff

This work began from a series of experiments with instruments developed by combining the delay lines, filters and modulators of a MARS (Musical Audio Research Station), in the context of preliminary work undertaken for an interactive sound installation project in 1996.

During the process of working with different vocal and percussive sounds, resonant rhythmic textures emerged as well as melodic outlines stemming from real-time manipulation of instruments with feedback loops, but neither had a place in the initial project. Voices Part I is a short exploration of the fragile poetry of these materials, with some use of granular synthesis. It is a confrontation between two distinct perceptions of time, one perceived as rhythmic through the use of repetition and another one, seemingly suspended and uncertain.

> more about Voices Part I

Voices Part II / 1997, 11’ 43″
Todor Todoroff

Voices Part II: Distant Voices is a very personal work. It sometimes seems to me that one of the reasons I came to pursue electroacoustic music can be traced back to a childhood experience. Around the age of seven, I began to build small radios out of a handful of components. These radios did not include amplifiers and their weak signals could only be heard through a small, crystal earphone. I spent many hours listening closely to these radios in the silent night. As their selectivity was very approximate, I usually captured two or three radio stations simultaneously, often in foreign languages. The focus of my listening shifted alternately from one to the other, according to which words caught my attention.

> more about Voices Part II

Voices Part III / 2020, 13’ 31″
Todor Todoroff

I have always been touched by the human voice, spoken or sung, attracted by foreign languages and deeply moved by certain timbres, inflections, breaths or prosodies. The study of voice analysis and synthesis at the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics of the ULB, the understanding and extraction of the different parameters that affect its timbre did not explain why I resonated with certain voices or vocal modes rather than others. This work is the third part of an intuitive and sensual exploration of this mystery.

It is inspired in particular by “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov and texts by poet/singer Yanka Dyagileva. Excerpts were read by Anya Pospelova and recorded in Moscow.

Born 75 years apart, both authors tried to escape the grim soviet reality, though with very different energies, clearly more ironic and satirical for the former and quite darker for the later. But both use a peculiar mix of fantastic and realistic elements to mock and denounce the system while transporting us to unexpected places, in a transfigured reality.

Though Yanka Diagileva benefited somehow from glasnost, both resisted soviet censorship and reached their audience through clandestine channels: samizdat and magnitizdat.

Today, after Putin's dreadful invasion of Ukraine and the extraordinary level of censorship and repression he imposed in Russia, it resonates with a renewed acuity.

Voices Part III also uses elements of sung voice and an iconic electronic voice, the Theremin, originally called Thereminvox by its inventor, as well as numerous digital transformations.

Main and additional Russian voices: Anya Pospelova and Alexandra Dementieva.

Voices Part III – Resistance was composed at ARTeM studio with support from the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Direction générale de la culture, Service de la musique) and was awarded the First Prize at the International Musica Nova Competition (Czech Republic, 2021).


Rupture d’équilibre / 1997, 10’ 17″
Todor Todoroff

A virtual pendulum, simulated on a computer by a damped harmonic oscillator, crosses zones whose boundaries are defined interactively by the user. Each zone is programmed to trigger a sonic event which is variable in intensity, timbre and / or frequency, depending on the speed of the pendulum when it enters the zone.

The composer plays this virtual instrument with potentiometers. He modifies in real-time the mass, the stiffness constant, and the damping factor, and may also add various external disturbances. All of these forces interact and continuously modify the aspect, the speed and the amplitude of the movement, either generating pseudo-repetitive sequences or disrupting the equilibrium.

There is a sombre atmosphere, populated with little, organic-like virtual beings which resist the swinging motion and disrupt its regularity. This matter offers itself up for periodic transformation and distortion, colours are revealed and recombine, chimeras emerge from the nothingness and invite us to follow their hypnotic oscillation…

Disappearance, appearance, proliferation. Moans can be heard… are they calls? Responses? Is collapse inevitable? Is there something which could slow it down or stop it? Accident or destiny, uncertainty reigns as absolute master. There is no point in resisting…

> more about Rupture d’équilibre

The stones can speak, 2018, 9’ 26’’ / acousmatic music – stereo

This piece has been composed with sounds recorded at the VICC (Visby International Centre for Composers) in 2017 and commissioned by Dante Tanzi to participate to the  CD obsAUDIOR5  Awakenings. The piece refers to the legend of the Dame Blanche of Tonneville in Normandy. It is said that the ghost of a young woman dressed all white appears sometimes in the area of Tonneville to mislead travellers…
I also thank Sten Melin and Jesper Elen of the VICC for their warm welcome in Visby.

“On Sundays, hidden by the shadow of the Moon,
She perpetuates a ritual that never comes to an end…
Again and again… she wakes up without a body
And warn all creatures that time will come…
We wish soon, they respond
And she replies later,
But as time goes by, they are all gone…”

Solo Feu / 2001, 04’ 36″
Todor Todoroff

Solo feu [Fire Solo] primarily combines a variety of transformations of sounds of fire. This piece is an excerpt which has been reworked from music composed for In Between (2000), by choreographer Michèle Noiret.

> more about Solo Feu

SPORES / 2017, 09’ 16’’ - 9mm
Jean-Baptiste Zellal

This piece is inspired by the explosive clouds of microscopic spores that certain plants can produce.

At first, it takes the form of a wandering through the dust, from which emerge energies of blind violence that gradually invade the whole space.

It is also inspired by strange impressions of my daily life, written against the background noise of the deaf and indifferent city.

Water, 8’ 53″ / 2020

“Water belongs to a series of musical pieces I composed using software, which can be downloaded for free (Audacity). All these compositions had as a starting point a chosen sound material in which I committed myself to using only that material for the whole composition. The sound material I worked with for Water is almost exclusively a recording of the sounds of water from our kitchen tap.

Like the others of this series of pieces, Water is a playful quest in a garden of possibilities offered by electronics. It is a medium, which I (re)discovered not very long ago and whose often self-created richness of sound continues to amaze and delight me."

Fragment of a life, 6’ 46″ / 2021
Dimitri Coppe

Fragment of a life is composed as an instrumental solo. The sound palette is deliberately reduced to Freezing, a historic GRM-Tools treatment from the '90s, which sounds more mineral than crystalline.

A sound fragment is set in rotation and shaped by a fall. The speed slows, the envelope expands, revealing the impurity of the fibers. Speed slows further, the hiccup becomes a pulsation. Nearing a standstill, weepers appear.

Fragment of a life is a stereo reduction of 8 spatialized channels on a very small, colorful set-up : a 4 channels/8 speakers totem and 4 horns arranged solely facing the audience.

Fragment of a life is dedicated to a long-suffering companion who recently passed away, and a tribute to the instrument that freezes time.

Réminiscences / 2003, 16’ 08″
Todor Todoroff

Traces, transformations, fluctuations, rhythms and spatial architectures are the essential elements of this composition. Different sonic materials are analysed according to psycho-acoustical criteria and processed using transpositions and sequential shifts, time quantisation and distortion and application of various selection criteria. This creates a transfigured reality through digital synthesis and the live instruments. This reality explores various sonic universes whilst keeping traces of some of the energetic and morphological characteristics of the original sound sources. For example, the particular rhythm and prosody of a voice will be transposed into instrumental phrases. A granulation algorithm controlled in real time by the Theremin player manipulates another voice and submits it to temporal, timbral and spatial changes. This voice is heard again reciting the verses of the Danish poet J. P. Jacobsen “Evig og uden forandring”. The phenomena of instability and balance running through the entire score are closely linked with the analysis methods. This can be heard in the strings, the Theremin, and the keyboard parts. In a paradoxical way, these unstable elements when juxtaposed, repeated, permuted and transformed, create rhythms that are emphasized by the percussion. Various techniques of sound-projection place the listener in virtual architectures that are alternatively smooth and metric, static and dynamic.

Commissioned by: Musiques Nouvelles / Art Zoyd
String instruments: Musiques Nouvelles (4 Violins, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos, 1 double bass)
Electronic instruments: Art Zoyd (Theremin, MIDI Keyboard and MIDI percussions)
Voice: Birgitte Odgaard Nielsen
MAX/MSP virtual instruments: ARTeM (1 computer for the Theremin, 1 for the transformations and 1 for the spatialisation)
Musical assistant at Art Zoyd: Carl Faia
Mixing: ARTeM

Live premiere: Brussels, 30/11/03
Premiere of the octophonic tape version: Bourges, 11/06/05
Instrumental version edited on: EXP-01 In-possible Records (2005)
Tape version edited on : CYP4650 Cyprès (2012) « Musiques Nouvelles | 50th anniversary edition »

Solar Winds / 2012, 09’ 35″ / Octophonic acousmatic work
The idea to present Solar Winds near the end of 2012 sprang from a desire to honor the astronomers of the ancient Mayan culture and their worship of the Sun at a time that marks the completion of one Mesoamerican Long Count calendar and the beginning of another.

Solar Winds incorporates acoustic translations of electromagnetic phenomena that are produced by the Earth as well as other astronomical phenomena, and constitutes an imaginary celestial aural journey from the perspective of the listener who is Earth.

Solar Winds was realized in 2012 at the Métamorphoses d’Orphée studio of Musiques & Recherches in Ohain (Belgium) and was premiered on October 27, 2012 during the 8th festival Visiones Sonoras organized by the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes Sonoras (CMMAS) in the Auditorio de la Unidad Académica Cultural of the UNAM Campus Morelia (Mexico). The piece was commissioned by Musiques & Recherches.

Solar Winds was composed with support from the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Direction générale de la culture, Service de la musique). Thanks to David Baltuch, Alexis Boilley, Rodrigo Sigal, and Annette Vande Gorne.

The diptych Solar Winds…and Beyondwas awarded First Prize in the Musica Nova 2015 International Competition of Electroacoustic Music (Prague, Czech Republic).

Kinetic Reflections / 2023, 08’ 20″
Todor Todoroff

Pol Bury's kinetic sculptures are fascinating. Driven by motors, almost invisibly using wires or, as if by magic, using magnets, they come to life and invite the viewer to devote time to explore them. Their slow movements take us into a suspended, almost meditative time-space. Close observation gradually alters the perception of movement and speed. Hypnotic internal rhythms arise; imaginary landscapes emerge, evolve, tip and jostle. Reflections on the polished metal surfaces multiply the points of view like so many dream-like echoes. Is it an illusion of reality or the reality of dreams?

These images and rhythms are echoed in "Kinetic reflections": hypnotic repetitions, gravity and lightness, rollings and flyings, mechanics and mystery, themes and variations, transformations, transitions and ruptures challenge the imagination of the spectator/listener.

Composed in 2023 at ARTeM studio, revisiting multiphonic recordings of experimental improvisation sessions for cello, voice and interactive digital transformations with Sigrid Vandenbogaerde.

Premiered at the Reflets Sonores Festival, in Fauquez, Belgium, on June 9 2023.

Requiem for a City / 2015-17, 15’ 00″
Todor Todoroff

After the attack at the Musée juif de Belgique (Jewish Museum of Belgium) on May 24, 2014, I was profoundly shocked by monstrous increase in barbarity which followed with attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris from January 7-9, 2015 against Charlie Hebdo, the police and the Hyper Casher supermarket, as well as the unspeakable horror of November 13, 2015 — the worst massacre in France since the Second World War.

I was particularly shaken because I was in Paris for an artistic residency during both waves of attacks. Driving home from Paris the night of November 14, I felt the need to respond. I wanted to pay tribute to the hundreds of innocent victims, traumatised witnesses and devastated families. This piece makes use of a wide variety of sounds: field recordings, playing techniques specific to the viola, granulated excerpts of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and of the second movement of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, modular analog synthesis and sounds extracted from radio and television news coverage following the November 13 attacks.

With these latter sources, I chose to focus primarily on what the victims and their loved ones had to say because, while this work may be a cry of revolt, it is most of all a tribute to the victims who were given far too little attention in the media hype following the attacks.

> more about Requiem for a City