On Saturday September 24th, the Spatial Sound Institute opens its doors again to the public for two concerts in 4DSOUND by Mexican composer/producer Murcof and fourteen classical musicians of the Listen Ensemble from Paris, France.

Murcof is the stage name of the Mexican electronic artist Fernando Corona. Over fifteen years Corona has established a unique sound that blends electronic music with more classical sources. A modern composer, Murcof uses new technologies and strives to create music that challenges the mind and the heart. Evoking, like composers such as Arvo Pärt, Henryk Gorecki or Giya Kancheli, the great themes of life, death and eternity, he distinguishes himself in his work by his attention to detail, his rolling tempos and his sense of spatialization. 

It was exactly this spatial sensitivity in Corona's music, landscapes emerging from a subtle melancholic poetry, that drove 4DSOUND Founder Paul Oomen to visit Corona in his hometown Barcelona back in 2009. Oomen explained the composer his ideas for a new approach to sound spatialization. Five years later, Corona was among the first participants of 4DSOUND's Artist Residency series in Amsterdam. He created a series of five compositions that reinvestigate his personal ways of structuring composition and narrative in music - by means of space.

Murcof’s compositions in 4DSOUND paint a dark and melancholy surrounding, suggestive of moment that could have taken place in past and future at once. His placement of sounds seems to sway between a precise stirring of inner emotions and then, sudden evocation of the vast dimensions of the cosmos, as if we are enabled to listen to the edges of outer space. 

"At one stage, with looming drones, bass pulsations and doom synths ominously circulating 4D’s square stage, the Mexican artist’s performance, paired with drifting smoke, flashing lights and the fixed darkness of the surrounding space, made me feel like I was one in a huddled group of civilians seeking shelter from a war waged by man and machine outside."
- Juno Plus on Murcof’s 4DSOUND performance during at Atonal Festival 2014, Kraftwerk Berlin. 
Murcof performing on 4DSOUND during Atonal 2014. Photo credit: Camille Blake

Murcof performing on 4DSOUND during Atonal 2014. Photo credit: Camille Blake

This month, Corona is our guest at the Spatial Sound Institute in Budapest to create new composition in 4DSOUND and revisit his previous spatial works, for this occasion reinterpreted in collaboration with the Listen Ensemble. Extending the sonic space of his music with the timbre and resonance from acoustical instruments such as violin, double bass, flute, clarinet and percussions, the instrumentalists will be occupying different corners around, above and below the space the listeners are in.

The Listen Ensemble is a chamber music orchestra. Formed by alumni musicians graduated from the Royal Conservatoire de Paris, the ensemble develops new interactions between technologies and musical language. With improvised, aleatory propositions the musicians interplay with the machine and create a dialogue of classical culture and technology. The orchestra marks a union of tradition and innovation and searches new expressive forms in the digital world. Having no director, the interpretation of the Listen ensemble is a result of dialogues, cooperation and combined listening by the musicians. Within this construction they strive to experiment with the social creation of sounds - enabling the musicians to engage outside of their common role and free their individual creativity to enrich collective musical interpretations.

Besides the spatial interpretation of Corona's compositions, Murcof and the Listen Ensemble will create a spatial remix of Terry Riley's masterpiece 'In C' for orchestra and electronics. 'In C' consists of fifty-three short melodies in the C-Major scale. Some motives are made up of only one note while others go as far as developing into a musical phrase. Each musician is free to contribute the motives when he or she wishes. The resulting continuous repetition and change of structure allows for a loss of temporal bearings, engendering a profound hypnotic effect on the listener. To complete the immersive experience, the work is spatialized in 4DSOUND allowing for live direction of each sound source to move throughout the space. This set-up, and that of the musicians, invites the audience to have a different listening experience depending on where they are as they move about the space.

The concert programme will be presented twice on the 24th of September, starting at 19:30 and at 22:00. More information can be found here.