following lines will certainly provide the ideal listener with food for
All images are a result of the human mind.
Although we believe them to be a simple reflection of the outside world,
they possess an inner,
It is the poet’s task to push those images slightly in order to
make sure the human mind is working on them humanly, make sure they are
human images, images that humanise the forces of the cosmos.
That then takes us to the cosmology of the human mind.
Instead of experiencing an innocent anthropomorphism,
man is given up to profound, elementary forces.
Bachelard — L’Air et les Songes
San Vitesse-Lumière - Light Speed-Sound
I . Grandeur nature 1980 31’49 (Life size)
an ‘object’ that is coming to ‘visit’ us from
many light years away. Journey.
Approach. Images of speed. Soundscapes. First contact. Observations. Uneasy
movements. Departures and discreet disappearances...
Why not ‘explain’ this piece in such a way? Everyone is free
to give his own interpretation.
As for the music (don’t worry, it can’t be related!), it’s
a question of transformation by compression, distension, disappearance,
decomposition, synthesis and other rather alchemic operations… at
that point I shall slip away, leaving the listener to read the lines by
Bachelard quoted at the beginning of this text.
Paysage, personnage, nuage 1980 24’06 (Landscape, person, cloud)
The ‘object’, motionless, far away, is connected. It takes
its sequence of information. But a sustained note discreetly shows that
it is at work. The scene is bare. A desert, an oasis perhaps. Vocalic
manifestations; then, suddenly, a commentary. My voice giving a speech...
It comes in snatches, like interference on a radio. The scene continues.
Interference from electric mirages. It seems to be burning, burning and
crackling like the film from a great celluloid image.
But if I relate everything, what will there be left to listen to? Everything,
III. Voyage au centre de Ia tate 1981 20’25
(Journey to the centre of the head)
of all, my love of Jules Verne (Espaces inhabitables, Jelta) and his symbols.
And also the impossibility of not reflecting the surrealist experience
inherited by my generation. We thus ‘see’ two sound images
which come together and begin to converse and respond, adopting one another
as two fragments of the same thing: the transformed image of chanting
in a monastery, and the natural sound of a woman at home making coffee
(inside the coffee-pot versus centre of the head!).
Indeed, this section is about ‘the inside’. The object moves
In the programme notes to a performance of part of this section (dedicated
to Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry and lannis Xenakis) I wrote: ‘Inside
us we have as it were a harp producing silent sounds; the strings of that
harp are set in movement by sounds from outside, which act as fingers.
Music rises only when the former (the silent sounds) become audible through
the skilful action of the latter (the fingers — the sounds from
Le sommeil d’Euclide 1983 20’37 (Euclid’s sleep)
‘forms’ occupy the auditory space of this work. The first
is radically modified to transcend perception, thus creating an illusion-space,
a phantasmagorical effect. The second (including the substantial fragments
into which it is broken up) is roughly shaken up; the ear can make out
the degrees of order and disorder that are intentionally added to it.
The transformation of the first ‘form’ (derived from a short
sample with a creaking pulley (consists of variously transposed progressive
elongations and minute descending transitions. An instrument for freezing
and mixing, designed by B. Maillard — a machine offering a wide
range of serrated morphologies — was used for this process. The
same instrument was used to treat the second ‘form’, consisting
of samples of song and sounds accompanying the act of raising water by
means of an Indian noria. The way the creaking of the pulley is reflected
in the singing of the water-drawers already constitutes, I believe, a
‘natural transformation’. In contrast, the treatment of larger
sections enabled me to obtain more definite curves and spatial gradations.
fragments of the second ‘form’ also act as motifs in the general
composition of the set to which this piece belongs, re-using the material
from an earlier movement — Paysage, personnage, nuage — and
extending the listening with the idea of working on the sound image, in
turn an icon (or im-son, ‘im-sound’), a diagram (or di-son,
‘di- sound’), or a metaphor (me-son, ‘me-sound’).
‘sound snapshots’ that were presented in an almost natural
state in part II, are ‘filtered’ here and given in the form
of what I would call a ‘diagram’, in other words, designs
that retain only a few signs of the original referent, and are reorganised
and varied, solely from the viewpoint of the geometry of forms.
constant ‘curve-linear’ trend of the masses and fragments
in transition functions as a metaphor for ‘non-Euclidian’
dreams. Surely the famous Greek experienced the anti-world of dreams too.
Or so, at least, I have taken the liberty of imagining...
This piece describes orbs, spiral steps, intertwined parallels.
The ‘object’ moves in its own particular way, following a
logic to which we shall one day, no doubt, find the key, since music already
provides us with a certain intuition.
Everything stems from the creaking of a pulley and the humming of a top.
Pulley-top, digital treatments, the whole lyre of technology, unprejudiced
by the good old ways of concrete music; on tape for greater precision.
Naturally, this movement is similar to a lullaby, or a nocturne.
V. Lumière ralentie 1983 21 ‘ 39 (Light in slow motion)
Counter-space. Inversion of the general title. End of the journey.
The ‘object’ has become wind. And half the duration of this
piece is taken up by a pattern of interlacing winds. As little phonic
resistance as possible. Melodies that are understood, variations in speed,
gusts, lulls, whirlwinds, and air movements that may be conveyed by sound
(speed-light). Then everything freezes, in straight lines, layers, stripes,
projected colours, loops, with flying objects slowly passing through,
Are they listening?
Change of scale; a peaceful night.
But we must end. The ‘object’ has to leave. Enough information.
Or is its energy spent?
No time to waste. It goes, leaving behind just a trace, which soon evaporates.
And the earth goes on turning. Of course.
And the hostility of the days is still to be overcome.
F.B. — Translation: Mary Pardce
of composition and first performance of the different versions
l and ll (1980)
First performed 23 March 1981, Grand Auditorium de Radio-France, lna-GRM
First performed 23 April 1982, Grand Auditorium de Radio-France, lna-GRM
concert for the European Broadcasting Union.
1 — II — III — IV and V) The first complete version
First performed 18 November 1983, Palais des Sports Metz 112th International
Contemporary Music Festival in Metz); IV et V : Paris premiere 30 January
Grand Auditorium de Radio-France, lna-GRM Acousmatic Cycle.
‘Deux milliards de kilomètres en 116 minutes’, version
for the Atelier de Creation Radiophonique de Radio-France,. With the voices
of Bernard Noel, Michel Cassé, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Paul Virilio,
Francois Bayle and René Farabet reading short excerpts from Le
Pays de Ia Magie by Henri Michaux.
Soundscapes : G Level, D. Toursière, M. Clary, H. Charnproux
Sound recording : Ch. Zanesi — Traitements Syter : J.-F. Allouis,
D. Teruggi Digital processing : B. Mailliard, Y. Geslin, J.-F. Bernier
The narrative version marked the inauguration of the first edition of
FAUST (Forum des Arts de l’Univers Scientifique et Technique) on
25 October 1986, Halle aux Grains, Toulouse...photos cover- sides front/rear
and photos c & e: G. Bordenave... photos a & b : Genevieve Bayle.
The Chaillot version (new mixing) was first performed with the Acousmonium
on 12 December 1988, at the Thétre National de Chaillot.... photo
d: Genevieve Bayle.. photo I and photos booklet p. 1— 12-13 —24:
The complete version and the others were accompanied by a registration
lighting by Jacques Rouveyrollis and laser by Patrice Richard.
About the Artist
Bayle was born in Tamatave, Madagascar, in 1932 and spent the first fourteen
years of his life there and in the Comoros. He then moved to Paris, where
he taught himself music. In 1958-60, François Bayle joined the
Groupe de Recherches Musicales (GRM) and Pierre Schaeffer - Olivier Messiaen
and Karlheinz Stockhausen (1959-62). In 1966 he became director of the
GRM which became part of the Institut National de I’Audiovisuel
(INA) in 1975. He was head of the Ina-ORM until 1997.
François Bayle was at the origin of the conception of the Acousmonium
(1974), he established the Ina-GRM’s record collections, organised
concerts and broadcasts and supported the development of musical instruments
using advanced technology (SYTER, DAM Tools, Midi Formers, Acousmographe).
In 1992 he founded the Acousmatheque. This ‘acoustic library’
now contains over 2,000 works written from 1948 onwards; it also organises
seminars and provides composer portraits (‘Empreintes’).
Since the 1960s François Bayle has composed regularly and his works
fall into several distinct periods. He himself refers to his works as
‘sound-Utopias exploring the genesis of sound forms and movements,
the grammar of their formation, their relationship to events in the physical
and psychical world.’
principal works fall into the following periods:
1963-66: Instrumental sources
Trois portraits d’Un-Oiseau-Qui-N’existe-Pas
Archipelf or string quartet — Plurielf or orchestra and tape.
1967-70: Sound space
Espaces inhabitables — delta.
1970-72: Listening space
L’Expdrience Acoustique — La Divine Comedic
Trois réves d’oiseau.
1973-75: Acousmatic writing
Vibrations composées — Grande polyphonic.
1976-80: Formal questions
Camera oscura — Erosphère.
1981-85: New technologies:
Son Vitesse-Lumière — Les couleurs de Ia nuir.
1985-88: Metaforms and metaphors
Motion-Emotion — Aêr.
1988-94: New tools:
21 Théâtre d’Ombres — Fabulae.
La Main Vide — Morceaux de ciels.
Prix des Compositeurs SACEM (1978)— Grand Prix National du Disque
(1981 — Ars Electronica Prize (Unz 1989)— Grand Prix de Ia
Ville de Paris (1996)— Tribute from the CIME (Sao Paolo 1997).
After leaving the GRM, in 1997, F. Bayle installs his own digital and
multiphonic workroom- the Magison Studio –where he dedicates from
now on all his aims towards research, writing and composition.