Les objets obscures

"Les objets obscurs" was composed during an intense period in studio C at GRM in Paris during the summer of 1991. Since I was invited to make a piece at this very honourable institution, it came naturally to do something that related closely to the historical tradition represented by GRM. Concept as well as material and compositional methods lies within the basic framework of the classical “musique concrète”. Though through its lyrics the piece is self explanatory, but some background information may still come in handy. “Les objets obscurs” (the hidden objects) is a set of riddles partly describing the physical object producing the sounding material, partly describing some aspect of the musical content of each movement. The answer to these riddles may be found in each of the four movements. It works like this; a short text is read (in French) presenting the riddle, immediately followed by a movement ( i.e. the musical equivalent of the riddle). Each movement is based upon sounds and transformations of sounds produced by one single everyday object (like a comb, a cup, whatever...). One movement - one object. In the end of the last movement the “solution” of all the riddles is presented. These answers, however, set up a new “inner” riddle, to which no answer is given.

The lyrics

Ladies and Gentlemen,

listen ....... to the hidden objects

The first is the starting point of a riddle

The second:

A landscape on legs

A perpetual movement

Something that touches without moving

A movement without a goal

An object to rest in

The third:

Convex bodies thrown into a series of collisions

Random movements over jagged surfaces

Something that is loved without loving

Something that is collected only to be scattered

The fourth:

The fourth is the union of the first and the last

The first is the origin of the riddle

The last is the dissolution of he first

The solution:

The first is a lock

The second is a chair

The third is twenty-two stone marbles

The fourth is the voice and language

and the enigma of the hidden objects is

The Music

Björn Billing has written an article about Les Objets Obscurs

(in Swedish)

Magnus Bunnskog has made a vocal ”remake” of Les Objets Obscurs

“...the composition presented with extraordinary

fantasy all the nuances of the material, from cosmic glissandi to colourful bands of noise and metallic percussive sounds....A clear structure and a strong sense of willpower signifies the composition.”

Der Tagenspiegel (Berlin, Germany) 1994

Photo: Josef Doukkali

Concept: Åke Parmerud

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV