solo conductor, projection and interactive system

Commission: GMEM with support from the Ministère de la Culture

Premiere: 2004, Biennale Musiques en scène, Lyon (Rhône, France)

Light Music sets in motion a new phase in a series of pieces that includes Hands (1983), Musique de Tables (1987), Unknowness (1996), and Silence Must Be! (2002). These works explore the tension in the borders between gesture and outcome, the visual and the aural, choreography and music. Equipped with movement sensors, the “solo conductor” or percussionist (who uses no percussion instruments) may generate sounds or musical sequences simply by moving his or her hands. These sounds may be further manipulated in time and space, set in a loop, rip them, create echos, and other effects.

The English title allows for the play on words: “light music” represents the performer who has no instrument aside from the weight of the technological devices; “light’s music” stands for the light points and their evolution over time are determining elements for the movement sensors. Movement functions as an interface between the various modes of sensory perception, the performer and the machine, the algorhythms of intuition and their musical expression, choreography and the score, and finally, between the conductor’s movements and the orchestra’s performance.

Light Music Version II brings with it even more interactivity for increased performer freedom: a boost in movement sensors (visuals, accelerometers, and movement analysis) allows the “solo conductor” to have control over the unfolding of the work from the stage. A quote from Nietzsche that is dear to Thierry De Mey is implied in a number of aspects of Light Music’s scenario: “It is necessary to have chaos inside oneself to give birth to a dancing star”.