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3 CD Box Set: L'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Pierre Schaeffer, re-digitised and re-issued with newly discovered tracks.
Book and 3 x CDs: Solfege de l'Objet Sonore This book, accompanied by 285 tracks on 3 CDs of examples is a unique and indispensable resource work for all those interested in electroacoustic music. Examples by Parmegiani, Henry, Bayle, Xenakis, Luc Ferrari etc. illustrate Pierre Schaeffer's text.
Book: Audible Design by Trevor Wishart
5 CD Box Set: GRM Archive 5 CD Boxed Set containing music spanning half a century of GRM inspired compositions
12 CD Box Set: Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre Musicale The complete works of Bernard Parmegiani on 12 CDs

Trevor Wishart - Globalalia/Imago

Trevor wishart - Globalalia/ImagoA re-issue of Globalalia which explores human speech and the syllables common to all, and Imago, which is constructed entirely out of the sound of 2 whiskey glasses being clinked together. Classic Wishart at his best!

Wishart writes: "In Globalalia, I wanted to use human speech, but focus on what we hold in common as human beings. Although the world’s languages contain many millions of words, these are constructed from a much smaller set of sounds, the syllables. I wrote to several friends asking them to collect voices from their local radio stations, and also recorded voices from TV stations via satellite dish, assembling sounds from 134 voices in 26 different languages. I then edited these into their syllables, ending with more than 8300 sources."

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour Kafka

Francis Dhomont - Etudes Pour KafkaA new release from Francis Dhomont, who in the opinion of many is the greatest living composer of electroacoustic music. This CD contains 3 studies which were the seeds from which many of his other works grew. Behind major works of the scope of … mourir un peu, Sous le regard d’un soleil noir, and Forêt profonde, in these studies Dhomont experiments with the themes, tries out sound materials, and unveils glimpses of the final work. Dhomont at his best!

Denis Smalley - Sources - Scénes

Denis Smalley - Sources - ScénesrOne of our most popular titles is back in stock. Denis Smalley is one of the UK's best known composers of electroacoustic music, and this CD is a personal favourite of ours - definitely a desert island disc. The music is simply stunningly beautiful, the production and sound quality are as good as it gets. If you don't already have this CD, don't put it off any longer.
Parmegiani: l'Oeuvre MusicaleWe are fans of Bernard Parmegiani and so we now have all of his CDs in stock, including the newly released l'Oeuvre Musicale. If you don't know his music, we recommend that you make an acqaintence with it by listening to some clips and reading the comprehensive notes which we have on the site. Click here for links to his biography and all his CDs.
Pierre Hanry: Labyrinthe We now stock a selection of the best electroacoustic CDs from the GRM Catalog, both historic and new - Electroacoustic Classics from Pierre SchaefferPierre Henry Luc Ferrari and  Jean-Claude Risset are just some of the new offerings.

One of our most popular GRM titles is Pierre Henry's Labyrinthe - Pierre Henry says of Labyrinthe - "For the first time during my journey and ventures into the world of creation, I dreamt of a breath of fresh air deriving from the electronic realm." This CD is a real retrospective of this pioneer of electronic music.
New from Digital Music Archives - Download a continually expanding catalogue of electroacoustic music tracks!

You can now download a selection of single tracks of music from our website. All the tracks are encoded as top quality MP3s at 320k. All you have to do is go to our tracks page, add the ones you want to your shopping cart, and you will be presented with a webpage with links to the tracks as soon as your credit card payment has been authorised. You will also be sent an email with the links and a seven day period to download the tracks.
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Looking for a course in electroacoustic composition? - Try our links page for some of the best places in the UK. You'll also find links to organisations and institutes all over the world.

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CD Details for Denis Smalley: Sources/Scènes

Sources/Scènes Denis Smalley
This CD covers a wide spectrum of Dennis Smalley's output from Pentes (1974) through Tides (1984), Empty Vessels (1999) and Base Metals (2000)
In Stock
 Customer Reviews 
 Other Titles by Denis Smalley 
 Audio Clips 
Track 1
Base Metals (2000)
Track 2
Empty Vessels (1997)
Track 3,4
Tides (1984)
Track 5
 Sleeve Notes 

About the Artist

Denis Smalley b.(Nelson, New Zealand, 1946)

Denis Smalley studied music at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) — Diploma in organ performance, and MusB — and the Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) — BMus honours in composition. He then taught music at Wellington College for three years prior to gaining a French Government bursary which enabled him to study in Paris (France) in 1971. He spent a year in Olivier Messiaen’s composition class at the Conservatoire de Paris (France), and at the same time took the electroacoustic music course run by the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM). He was among the first composers to complete the newly established “Diplôme de musique électroacoustique et de recherche musicale.” He then moved to the UK, where he completed the DPhil in composition at the University of York. In 1975 he took up a Composition Fellowship at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK) and was appointed Lecturer in 1976 (Senior Lecturer from 1988), with special responsibility for electroacoustic composition activities and courses. In 1994 he was appointed Professor of Music and Head of the Department of Music at City University (London, UK).

His music has received a number of international awards: the Fylkingen Prize (Stockholm, Sweden, 1975), Bourges Electroacoustic Awards (France, 1977, 1983, 1992), the Special Prize of the International Confederation of Electroacoustic Music (CIME, 1983), Newcomp (USA, 1984), and the Golden Nica of Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria, 1988).

He has taken a keen interest in the performance of electroacoustic music, and pioneered the concept of sound diffusion in the UK, developing the first sound diffusion system from 1976 at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK). For ten years from 1976 he was very active in promoting electroacoustic music in a number of concert tours for the Arts Council Contemporary Music Network, working with such composers as Sarah Walker (voice), John Tilbury (piano), Singcircle (with Trevor Wishart), John Wallace (trumpet; with Tim Souster). He has been responsible for the sound production for some key electroacoustic events, such as the Electric Weekend on the South Bank in London in 1987, and the BBC Promenade concert celebrating the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Electroacoustic Music Association of Great Britain (now Sonic Arts Network).

Denis Smalley is also notable as a writer on the aesthetics of electroacoustic music. In particular, he has developed the notion of “spectromorphology” (the shaping of sound spectra through time), expanding concepts initially articulated by Pierre Schaeffer in order to explain sonic relationships in their musical context. The most widely read article — “Spectromorphology: Explaining Sound-Shapes” — has been published in English, French and Italian. With Lelio Camilleri he conceived and edited the first publication in English devoted of the analysis of electroacoustic music. With Simon Emmerson he has been responsible for the entry on Electroacoustic Music in the new edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.

About the Music


The idea of a principal sound source as provider of the central material and concept unites three works on this CD, and is embodied in their titles — Tides, Empty Vessels, and Base Metals. In each case a characteristic sound acts as a central reference as well as ‘irrigating’ the piece. But it also inspires and guides the choice of other sounds and the play of relationships among them, thereby influencing musical form. In Empty Vessels it is the sound of air resonating in large garden pots along with recordings of the surrounding environment. In Tides it is two water recordings — a closely recorded water texture which furnishes the ‘pool’ sequences, and a recording of the approaching sea which gives the second movement (Sea Flight) its wave forms. Finally, in Base Metals, the resonances of a family of metal sound sculptures provide the rich reservoir of colorful sound spectra which enable harmonic and timbral evolutions.

This idea of sources and their musical development is central to the more abstract preoccupations of the composer’s agenda, as a vehicle for creating families of relationships, and as a means for building musical logic and coherence. But the invisible world of acousmatic imagery also conjures up scenes in the imagination. Such ‘scenes’ can be quite close to reality. This is the case with Empty Vessels where nature, environment, the elements and broad exterior spaces are graphically featured, often without much alteration. However, recording techniques can considerably transform our aural view of the sounds: exaggerated magnification can turn peaceful bees into a threatening swarm, or allow us to perceive the finer timbral changes of raindrops falling on a hollow ceramic pot. Empty Vessels can be regarded a series of episodes which have a visual and experiential logic as a well as making musical sense. This is the closest my music gets to composition based on the soundscape. In Tides the water–based proposition is clear enough, but the more literal references are left behind as the concepts of ‘pool,’ ‘current,’ and wave–shaped morphologies are developed more abstractly. With Pentes the only clear link with the real world is the Northumbrian pipes, and so this piece is only scenic by analogy and metaphor — its spectral energies and motions. With Base Metals, too, the imagery is evoked by spaces and motion, quite remote from reality, although the energetic metallic impacts, which act as reference–points, are a type of sound we are all familiar with.

Quite noticeable in all these works is the absence of a human presence in the sonic fabric. With the exception of the pipes in Pentes, a few distant traces of human activity near the start of Empty Vessels, and possibly some reminders of instrumentally instigated timbres in Base Metals, the listener–spectator is left to observe and experience the scenes and spaces, alone. Between and beyond the loudspeakers virtual, metaphorical worlds approach and encroach in sonic flow, and are revealed for imaginative contemplation.

—Denis Smalley, London (UK), November 2000

Track 1: Base Metals (2000) | 13m42s

The title refers to the metal sounds that provided the central material for the piece, and it also evokes the creative process of transmuting these raw sources to a higher musical and expressive plane.

All the metal sources derive from sound sculptures created by the artist Derek Shiel from metal objects collected over a period of time. From the wide range of objects I selected those with the internal resonant properties that could provide me with variegated spectral families. Some possessed intervallic and tonal properties, others were inharmonic or noisier, and some sounded more synthetic than truly metallic. Although there are a number of orchestrated impacts and resonances in the piece, I was less interested in the clash of metal than in more sustained morphologies. Thus there is a focus on varied pushes, surges, swirls and sweeps of spectral energy, balanced with calmer drifts, undulations and dips, all of which move in and out of more clearly pulsed moments. These motions are also spatial so there are approaches, emergences, dispersals and distant disappearances, sometimes leaving behind the residues of spectral trails. The metal- based families, which are hardly ever absent, are brought into relations with a few other sound-types, and those who know my other pieces might spot the occasional refugee- sound from the past, recontextualized.

Base Metals was composed in 2000 in the composer’s studio and was premiered during the “L’espace du son” festival in Brussels (Belgium) on October 15, 2000. The piece was commissioned by Swedish Radio in Malmö (Sweden). Thanks to Derek Shiel for making his sound sculptures available, and to Bosse Bergqvist for initiating the commission

Track 2: Empty Vessels (1997) | 14m51s

The empty vessels of the title are some large garden pots from Crete and an olive jar from Turkey. Recordings of the air resonating in these vessels provided the starting-point for the piece. Since the recordings were done in my garden in north London, sounds from the environment (rain, birds, planes flying overhead) were also captured by the microphones inside the pots, and changes in the timbre of these sounds resulted from interaction with the filtering effect of the resonant vessels. These ‘natural’ transformations were extended through computer treatments of the sources, and they also suggested relations with very different types of resonant sounds. The garden palette was expanded with recordings made in the same environment without the benefit of the vessels’ transformations. The piece may be regarded as a journey passing through highly charged and more restful events, textures and spaces inspired by the empty vessels.

Empty Vessels was composed in 1997 and was premiered in Paris (France) in May, 1997. The piece was commissioned by the French State (‘Commande d’État’) and the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM).

Track 3 and 4: Tides (1984) | 30m17s

The sonic images of Tides are based on analogies between water and sound - motion, textures, images of turbulence, strength and tranquillity, the play of colors and light, and the intimacy and immensity of space. The first movement — Pools and Currents — is constructed around a series of interlocked ‘pools,’ each of which has a different character. The pool idea suggests textural play, while the idea of ‘currents’ stresses the more linear motion that propels the movement forward. The pools come to rest in a broad seascape out of which the wave-like gestures of the second movement, Sea Flight, emerge.

Tides is the first of my works to use computer transformations of source material.

Tides was completed in 1984 and mixed at the University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK). Materials for the work were created during visits to a number of studios - the University of Toronto Computer Systems Research Group (the Structured Sound Synthesis Project’s system), the Experimental Studio of Finnish Radio, and the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM) Digital Studio. The piece was commissioned by the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM) in Paris (France). [xi-00]

Track 5: Pentes (1974) | 12m51s

The title Pentes (both French and Latin, meaning slopes, inclines, ascents) was suggested by the outlines of the broad stretches of the piece, which evoke the spaciousness of landscape. Most of the music was created by transforming instrumental sounds, but there are also synthesized sounds. However, the only recognizable sound source is the Northumbrian Pipes, whose drone is responsible for the slowly evolving harmonies out of which its haunting traditional melody appears.

Pentes was composed in 1974 in the studios of the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina- GRM) and was premiered in 1975 in Paris (France). The piece was commissioned by the Groupe de recherches musicales (Ina-GRM).

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