Spatial Sound

Orient-Occident (1960/2016)

Iannis Xenakis, Paul Oomen

Orient-Occident (1960) is very different from the other electroacoustic pieces of Iannis Xenakis (and even from his whole music) : it is a music that sounds at first sight very close to the aesthetics of GRM (of that time). While Diamorphoses, Concret PH, Analogique B and Bohor - the other pieces that Xenakis composed in the end of the 1950s and beginning of the 1960s at the GRM - are oriented toward the construction of totally new macro-sonorities resulting from the fusion of micro-sonorities (attempts to simulate the not yet invented granular synthesis in Concret PH and Analogique B, continuum in Diamorphoses and even more in Bohor), Orient-Occident is working on the level of sound object in the schaefferian sense of the term. (Besides, some sound objects, clearly audible, are probably taken from GRM’s sound library - we can hear them in particular in the fourth piece of Schaeffer’s Etudes aux objets, "Objets liés").

This observation can be explained, in some extent, by the fact that the piece is narrative and descriptive (it was composed for the soundtrack of a short film by Enrico Fuchignoni). But, on the level of sound objects’ montage, Orient-Occident doesn’t follow the schaefferian project, which is characterized by the attempt to replace the note by the sound object in the hope of remaining into the traditional definition of music - music as language -, where there is an articulation level fitting to the idea of "syntax".

‘Orient-Occident’ was reinterpreted in 4DSOUND by Paul Oomen and premiered in this new interpretation during Points on the Curve at Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe.