Led by its new director Pierre Jodlowski, the Musica Electronica Nova Festival (MEN) runs from May 13 to 21 in the Polish city of Wroclaw, which hosts the media art biennial WRO 2023 on the same dates. The Narodowe Forum Muzyki (International Forum of Music NFM) inaugurated in 2016, welcomes the group Caravaggio and the musicians of the ensemble Court-Circuit for the opening of this eleventh edition 2023 called Kaleidophonia.
Located on the shady canal that runs alongside the city, on a huge esplanade that allows you to appreciate its perspectives, the NFM is an imposing building, with its clean lines, its brownish-brown color and its large front window that reflects the surrounding landscape. Dedicated to symphonic music, it has five concert halls, including a large auditorium, meeting spaces and other convivial areas, with an interior layout and quality of materials that are sure to impress.
It is the Red Hall, a square room with a good sound, that the musicians have invested for the first concert of thefestival.
Fluid mechanics is a long-term project, a crazy adventure led by the two composers of the group Caravaggio, Benjamin de la Fuente and Samuel Sighicelli, assisted by the technicians ofIrcam . Created, without an audience, in 2021 at Studio 104 of the Maison de la Radio et de la Musique, which is the sponsor, the piece is replayed tonight for Polish listeners in optimal listening conditions. The objective is to make the universe of improvisation and written music live and sound together, a clause inherent to Caravaggio itself. However, the two composers wished to widen the space of encounter and the fertile exchange between the two practices by integrating six musicians (strings and winds) from the ensemble Court-Circuit into the writing : "We looked for the qualities of each group, without asking a lot of improvisation from the Court-Circuit musicians", they underline, the challenge being to play without direction!
The sound environment of the railroad and the sound of the axles of the train stopping in the station: this is the first sound sequence, heard through the loudspeakers, of Fluid Mechanics, " immersion in the imagined city", the composers tell us. On the stage and in the garden, Benjamin de la Fuente alternates between the violin and the electric guitar; at his side, Samuel Sighicelli plays the synthesizer and the Hammond organ. The Court-Circuit musicians are in the backyard; in the center, the two improvisers: Bruno Chevillon, double bass player, who plays more tonight with the electric bass and its effects pedals that he will work with his hands, kneeling on the stage! * As for Éric Échampard, he is at the heart of the arena, drummer and percussionist on his sticks, and without respite, during the 80 minutes of the concert! While he and his partner have some superb moments of improvisation, he is also able to follow the Court-Circuit musicians, with the score in hand.
In Fluid Mechanics, the practices interpenetrate and feed each other, giving to hear all kinds of materials, sound morphologies, manifestations of the living carrying noisy instances: construction site activity, mechanical movements, brutal surges (those of the strings very impressive under the authority of the violinist Alexandra Greffin-Klein), chain explosions, obsession of the tool that chisels the stone (play of the percussionist); the sound maelstrom captivates the listening, arousing as many images of an underlying scenario.
The electronics, fixed sounds and live transformation piloted by João Svidzinski, are central, shaping the spaces, creating depth and enlivening the colors in a teeming universe where the sources converge and hybridize, between rock, jazz and written music. From the loudspeakers, we also hear these moments of life (urban sounds) captured on the spot, which modify temporality and convey sensitivity and emotion: voices on a construction site, the clamor of a crowd in a soccer stadium, footsteps that resound and a door that slams. We also recognize the furtive echo of a barrel organ, the bell tower of a church and even the singing of the parishioners! So many sound samples ensuring this continuous coming and going between implacable rhythmic tension (inside) and open spaces (outside), highlighted by Luca Bagnoli's excellent broadcasting.
The more hieratic coda, with its bells and tube bells evoking the end of Stravinsky's Noces , takes on a ritualizing allure that magnifies this sonic odyssey.
Musica Electronica Nova Festival, Wroclaw, May 13-15, 2023
Benjamin de la Fuente (b. 1969) and Samuel Sighicelli (b. 1972): Fluid Mechanics, for ensemble and electronics; Bruno Chevillon, bass guitar and double bass; Éric Échampard, percussion, pad; Benjamin de la Fuente, violin, electric guitar, electronics; Samuel Sighicelli, Hammond organ, synthesizer; Court-Circuit ensemble: Alexandra Greffin-Klein, Constance Ronzatti, violins; Laurent Camatte, viola; Frédéric Baldassare, cello; Anne Cartel, flute; Pierre Durieu, clarinet; João Svidzinski (Ircam), electronics; Luca Bagnoli (Ircam), sound projection.
Photos © Stawek Przerwa - NFM