Stan Iordanov on his sound piece

in the context of Axelle Stiefel's personal exhibition at Corner College, la chambre d’écoute, 04 February – 04 March 2018.

by Stan Iordanov

This work comprises a sound recording which flows from G. Simondon’s concept of the crystal as mode of individuation, where each successive layer is determined by the preceding layer, beginning with a “seed”. Here the seed is a resonant saturation around a frequency band which sets in motion a self-oscillation, the dynamics of which echo a natural movement. This is the first and determinant layer. Timbrally it has a strong low frequency component (rounded sound) but also a ringing in the upper register produced by frying the optical elements with a hot signal (scrunchy sound).

The second layer is an additive patch constructed by folding a waveform onto itself to produce n-order harmonics, similar to overblowing a wind instrument. The fold is indolently swept by hand to create a sense of progression in the piece, yet the fundamental remains a fixed pitch.

The determinant layer is sequenced through feedback of recursive pointy wave generators and is only metastable - it cannot follow a tempo or conform to a grid, rather it slips and drifts with temperature fluctuations. The only way of dynamically relating the two layers is by scanning the variations in sonic energy of the first layer and imprinting them onto the second. In this manner the second layer can either slide in between the fissures left by the first or accrete onto its peaks.

The dialogue between the two layers, and the restriction to two voices only is governed by the fable of the town mouse and the country mouse, which is also the connecting thread for my collaboration with Axelle. Occasionally a mouse-like sound is produced; at other times a more belligerent animal, such as a rat scratching and chewing through the wooden door of my studio, is heard.