cello and processing

Martin Matalon composed his Traces I for cello and real-time electronics in 2004, with the intention of initiating a series of similar compositions that, “in the manner of a personal diary, will address the compositional problems of the moments in which they will be written.” Subsequently, Traces II through VI have appeared, and all seek to “create an environment that, by means of electronics, transforms and transcends the possibilities of the solo instrument.”

According to Matalon, Traces I is a “diptych in which two conceptions of musical time, two sound-styles, and two formal procedures are opposed. The first is constructed in an environment where musical time is suspended. Dynamic lines sweep through space and the cello’s registers and are expanded by their electronic treatment. A granular, suspended texture is formed with the sediments and traces left by those lines. This movement has a linear character, and the cello is given a full, extroverted sound.

The intimate sound of the second panel responds to the exuberant sound of the first. This results from the use of a lead mute on the cello and various types of electronic filtering. Contrasting with the linearity of the first panel, the second has a circular form. A phrase of a few measures is sampled in real time and then looped until the end of the piece, in the manner of a passacaglia, while following a predetermined but aleatoric cycle of transpositions. Atop this layer, other, more ethereal sound objects appear.

A Deruchie [ii-07]