THE QUANTUM VIOLIN
Atomized, interpolated, reconfigured, mosaiced, cut up, transported to the sonic territories of quantum interactions, the musical collaboration of Austrian violinist and Canadian electroacoustic improviser Glen Hall bends the clock of real time music. It enters a realm of vibrational ‘implants’, phase vocoded reversals, spatialized architectures, and unforeseen happenstances. The Quantum Violin is not a collection of academic violin exercises, it is a virtuoso escape hatch out of our imaginations’ ‘box’. Mia Zabelka’s violin exists as the centre of a quantum sound galaxy.
The Quantum Violin #1 has a sub-structure formed by sounds generated by a Quantum Oscillator that are audible throughout the piece. It was programmed with 8 different sets of parameters, giving the ‘drone’ a slowly varying texture. This sub-structure was created to signify physical reality’s undergirding in the quantum realm, a constant vibrational ‘hum’. Mia Zabelka’s violin was given 3 ’treatments’ within this sonic landscape. Two treatments were done by IRCAM’s artificial intelligence software, OMax, which segmented and recombined the violin’s performances to coincide with movements in the video by Conny Zenk, which forms the visual aspect of the… quantum world: geometric and vibrating.
The third treatment is to ‘quantize’ the violin’s sound into the microsound sphere using IRCAM’s CataRT, that segmented it into sonic ‘quanta’, tiny grains 0.071 milliseconds, to produce minute clicks, representing the smallest sonic events possible, while still remaining audible.
#2 has a distinct ‘room’ sound that gives the interchange between the violin and cataRT an eerie presence, perhaps in the listener’s head.
#3 finds an unexpected visitor into the sound landscape, a prepared piano. Granulated in Catoracle, its particles respond to the violin’s gestures in a back-and-forth hide-and-seek.
#4 harnesses the artificial intelligence of OMax to chart a high energy five-way counterpoint. OMax listens to the violin, charting its movements and language. After a minute, its ‘players’ enter, one at a time at transposed tempos and pitches. They recombine its cut up fragments according to pre-set degrees of context similarities. Some players follow the violin’s developmental trajectory closely, while others diverge using para-logical variations.
#5, #9 and #10 use OMax and spatialization software SPAT to explore dimensionality. What at first seems to be singular, when ‘listened to’ from a non-linear perspective, reveals a corpus of interconnected spaces, speeds and trajectories. The originals can be heard simultaneously moving at varying tempos, transpositions and places in the original sonic development. What seems to be a droplet becomes an ocean.
#6 and #7 were examined, ‘decomposed’ and re-configured using SuperVP phase vocoder’s “ring”. The linear violin improvisations’ spectral architectures revealed a series of motivic patterns that articulate hidden, atomic/subatomic poetic ‘statements’ not audible in its initial audio form. Spectral filtering adds an additional perspective to how the improvisations might be heard.
#8 Glen Hall and cyberpunk author/visual and sound artist, Kenji Siratori have long-standing connection. They met through their shared use of William Burroughs’ cut-up technique. Siratori’s reading of his
original text for “SELF-UNIT” is cross-synthesised with the vocoded violin improvisation. Both the text and the track share a non-linear structure.
#11 begins with a sizzle of the quantum oscillator. Dreamlike waves of slightly detuned violin patterns come from OMax’s ‘players’ as they intermittently enter and exit. SuperVP’s “play” warps violin motifs into shuddering gestures of scrapes, rasps and searing woops ending abruptly in the embrace of the oscillator’s gentle fade out.
The scintillating oscillator of #12 joins the violin’s physical noise assault. This is sonic shredding. Bone shuddering thrash and stab. Vocoded shrieks and howls. A hadron collider’s tsunami of energies.
#13 thrums with an oscillating noise drone. Brutal violin attacks are answered by cataRT’s particulated tones sourced from the violin’s sound spectra, brief and bell-like. Like the here-and- there tuning of a heterodyning shortwave radio signal, the piece ends with a missile’s jet thrust.
#14 is a sonic summation of “The Quantum Violin”. Mia Zabelka’s sound installation ‘For Pauline Oliveros’, restructured by Glen Hall
The Quantum Violin
recorded, composed, mixed and produced by Mia Zabelka & Glen Hall
Violin, Voice, Noise, Electronics, Experiments & Alien Objects : Mia Zabelka (Austria)
Quantum Oscillator, OMax, CataRT, Experiments & Mix : Glen Hall (Canada)
Voice: Kenji Siratori (Japan)
Recorded, composed, mixed and produced in the covid months of 2020/ 2021 (March 2020 to May 2021 in Vienna, Austria and Toronto, Canada)
Mastered by Lasse Marhaug (Norway)
Cover design by Paul Jonas Kinnunen (Finland)
Executive production by Trevor Taylor – FMR Records (United Kingdom)
“If the sounds of The Quantum Violin enacted by Mia Zabelka and Glen Hall are remarkable — dense miasma from which undulate denser waves and through which eventually pulses a vibrant heart — so too are the means by which they were accomplished…” Marc Weidenbaum/ Disquiet