A project in cooperation with echoraum and Alcôme
Supported by Stadt Wien Kultur, BMKÖS, SKE austromechana, echoraum, ALCÔME, Sacem and Copie Privée

FLOATING SOUND GALLERY

Vienna












Todor Todoroff


© Cassandre Sturbois


Todor Todoroff

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.
First researcher in the field of speech processing at the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics within the ULB (1987-1988), he became head of the Computer Music Research at the Polytechnic Faculty and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Mons (1992-1997),where the instruments he developed were used by composers Leo Kupper and Robert Normandeau. He collaborated on several occasions with IRCAM where his software tools were used by Joshua Fineberg, Emmanuel Nunes, Luca Francesconi, among others.
He was Belgian representative of the European COST (Cooperation in Science & Technology) actions”Digital Audio Effects” (DAFX, 1997-2001) and “Gesture Controlled Audio Systems” (CONGAS, 2003-2007).
He was researcher from 2008 to 2013 at the Numediart Institute within the University of Mons and taught from 2008 to 2015 within the digital art program at Arts, the School for the Arts in Mons.
Alongside this work, he has been developing at ARTeM since 1993 interactive systems for studio environments,concerts, sound installations and dance performances, exploring the possibilities of a wide variety of sensors, including a custom-made sensors system for violinist Stevie Wishart and the development of interactive audio-visual installations with FoAM in Brussels.
His electroacoustic music demonstrates a special interest in multichannel composition and the use of space,as well as in experimenting with new methods of interaction and sound transformation, where gesture plays an important role. He revisits the concept of the séquence-jeu (play-sequences associated with specific gestures) in the digital domain, in order to achieve a greater degree of expressivity.
In parallel to his work in fixed-medium acousmatic music, he develops gesture-controlled virtual instruments for live performances, from improvisations with musicians like Jean-Paul Dessy, Eric Sleichim and Stevie Wishart,to solo concerts, often combined with spatialization algorithms developed for the Zirkonium while in residency at ZKM, and ensemble works.In his audio-visual work « eVanescens » with video-artist Laura Colmenares Guerra, cellist Sigrid Vandenbogaerde wears custom-made sensors that allow her to transform both the acoustic sound of her instrument and the interactive video.
Passionate about creating dialogue with other art forms, he also composes music for film, video, dance, theatre, and sound installations.His long artistic collaboration with Belgian choreographer Michèle Noiret began in 1988 and has continued through 16 productions to the present day.He has also produced a series of interactive installations, often in collaboration with visual artists, including Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Fred Vaillant, Mario Benjamin, and Laura Colmenares Guerra.
He received the Prize of the Audience at the Noroit Competition (France, 91), Mentions (2002, 2005 and 2009) and a First Prize (2007) at the Bourges Competitions and was several times finalist.
Amongst others, he received commissions from the Opéra de Paris (F), Institut de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges (F), Musiques Nouvelles (B), Art Zoyd (F), Ars Musica (B), Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers (F), Festivaal van Vlaanderen (B) and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM, DE).
His music is regularly programmed in international festivals.

http://todoroff.be



Performed 2023 in Circuit Fantôme S2 Ep3 (16.06. + 17.06.2023):

Dédales / 2008, 16’ 41″

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


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

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...


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

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


Voices Part I / 1997, 05’ 11″

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″

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″

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″

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


Solo Feu / 2001, 04’ 36″

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


Réminiscences / 2003, 16’ 08″

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 »


Kinetic Reflections / 2023, 08’ 20″

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″

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



Concert at ACOUSMONIUM festival, 26.07.2019

The New Stage of Alexandrinsky Theatre, St.Petersburg, Russia, in co-production with INA GRM, supported by Institut Français de Saint-Pétersbourg, light and video-design – Stas Svistunovitch.
 



Rupture d’équilibre / 1993, 95, 97, 10’17″

Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

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…



Matières / 2003, 9’50″

Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
Commission: Centre culturel du Brabant wallon (CCBW)

For Matières [Materials],composed for the publication Le corps de l’espace, les nouveaux matériaux dans l’architecture depuis 1850 [The Body in Space: New Materials in Architecture Since 1850]by the Centre culturel du Brabant wallon in 2003, I not only wanted to render audible materials used in architecture, but to put the focus primarily on the individuals who inhabit or move through these sites. I therefore decided to allow the gesture of the individual to speak for itself:brushing against a surface; caressing, rubbing, or striking it;taking an object and letting it fall, slide or making it roll through a space…
It seemed essential to me to return to the sources of musique concrète and to keep the sonic characteristics of the materials and of the spaces in which they resonate untouched. The recordings were therefore made on analog magnetic tape and no effects or processing techniques were used other than slowing down or speeding up the play rate and reversing playback direction.All reverberations were naturally-occuring.
In the course of editing and mixing, however, I tried to avoid anecdotal references (no sounds of footsteps nor creaking or slaming doors) in order to concentrate on the sound morphologies and energies revealed by different gestures, as well as on reverberation lengths, changes of acoustical space and contrasts between close and distant sounds. Chimeric spaces were thus created, where gestures dialogue with materials.



Beyond the Divide

(video by Laura Colmenares Guerra)

Those water leaks remember their old paths. Every drop that falls begins a track and ends up in the same well. Is there autonomy in the quest for truth?
…She believed fate belonged to her, but she cannot help submerging in those labyrinths as they continue to darken.
Beyond the Divide forces the spectator through a visceral state of mind, as if climbing a steep cliff of the human psyche.
Beyond the Divide is a collaboration between video artist Laura Colmenares Guerra and composer Todor Todoroff, a video conceived after the electroacoustic work Dédales.

Featuring: Anonymous and Valeria Garre.



Voices Part II: Distant Voices / 1999, 11’43″

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.
I was fascinated by these unknown voices, far away and mysterious, but also by the coincidences which appeared from time to time between these signals, coming from transmitters likely situated thousands of cilometers apart. It was as if these voices, speaking different languages and not able to hear each other, were nonetheless replying to each other.
I wanted to recreate an imaginary sonic world which would evoke the sensation of infinite spaces, weightlessness, communication, familiarity and mystery which I felt at that time. It appeared obvious to include recordings of voices heard through telephones, which seemed the perfect metaphor for this paradoxical situation combining distance with proximity.

Space in this piece is illuminated by voices serving as points of light: points which appear, flicker, slip away, and fade out, like stars in a night which is rhythmically defined by the sound of beeps, peppered with high-pitched frequency glissandi, and modulated by slow variations of timbre and amplitude.

Voices Part II – Distant Voices was realized in 1999 at the studios of the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB, France) and was premiered on June 13, 2000 in the context of the Synthèse festival in Bourges. It was commissioned by the IMEB. Thank you to Birgitte Odgaard Nielsen whose voice is the main voice heard. In 2002, the piece was included on the CD Éclats, musique contemporaine (WBM 139).

 
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