OVI (Objet volant identifié)

Roxanne Turcotte

In memory of Martin

Electroacoustic research work based on the tone of the vibrating strings of a modified electric guitar and sounds from an eolian harp designed and built with François Doyon.

The instrument is made of recycled materials. It vibrates when wind blows on it or when you alter the tension in the strings and the boat riggings tied to its metal structure: piano strings, nylon strings (fishing lines), polyester, sheathed dyneema or kevlar, multi-stringed or monofilament type, size 0.8 to 3 mm. Add in pulleys to change tension in the strings and you get frequency modulations: C6 altering to B-flat 5, B5, G, A, and glissando variations depending on wind force measured with an anemometer. A light emitting device turns the structure into an installation suited for daytime and nighttime performances where a guitarist plays a transcription of the effects produces by the harp, disseminated through loudspeakers surrounding the listeners.

A delirious accumulation of music twirls around in flurries, producing mysterious whistling sounds caught in mid-flight as references to common expressions like to strike a chord and several strings to one’s bow. Use of the EBow in realtime brings the sounds together through sustain, thus creating fade effects with the eolian harp recordings. Placing the EBow on the pick-ups of the electric guitar creates an electromagnetic field that becomes an extension of the “identified flying object”…

The final section of the piece features notes naturally produced by mast shrouds. Boats become actual musical instruments fitted with long lines that produce whistling sounds in harmony with the clicks of the riggings. This mast chorus produces a chord of specific notes according to the various sizes of the mast shrouds and lines. It plays a magnificent open-air concert while the roads flying from airport to airport follow a plan in the sky that allows passage from sea to space. We start perceiving the ambience of various locations: airports, seaports, marinas, and the civilian air traffic control centre.

[English translation: François Couture, iv-14]

The current version of OVI (Objet volant identifié) [IFO (Identified Flying Object)] was realized in 2011, and completed in 2014, at the composer’s studio (Productions RTM) in Montréal. The installation version was presented in the fall of 2011 at Parc Bourgeau in Pointe-Claire (Québec). Thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA), François Doyon, Francis Brunet-Turcotte, Claude Lassonde for valuable advice on how to use the EBow; Julien Leblond, piano restorer and donator of lines and rigging; Philippe Labbé, structures and vibrations engineer; François Sébastien, the air traffic controller who would lead me to the “wind machine” when I visited his work station; and Martin Léveillé for advice about recording and contact microphones.



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