Lands and Genotypes

by Emmanuel Lorien Spinelli

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I tend to link (and mix) two practices, on one hand I am interested in soundscape composition, particularly the implications of the capture and manipulation of environmental sounds, and on the other hand I want to explore the potential of speech, utilizing language and the problematic of expressing one's self. Of course this does not constitute an aesthetic limitation and some pieces may adopt techniques borrowed from different trends in electro-acoustic music such as acoustic-ecology, granular synthesis, text-based and radio works, as well as musique concrète, sound poetry and algorithmic processes. Most of the time two elements constitute my source material: first a series of studio interviews with the person(s) "studied", the sound-subject(s), (often foreigners living in London who have felt a need for defining their identity, which help me initiating a discussion on how polyglotism has an influence on their persona as well as exploring the sonic quality of "accents"), and then a series of field recordings made around and inside their place, family house, (and when possible in their country of origin as well) and different locations where the subject usually spends time (work or leisure). Very often, these two elements form the fundamental limitation of the material used and inform the subject and structure of the resulting composition. Each sound must have a relationship, in one way or another, to the people interviewed during the composition process, and all these sounds are part of their sonorous environments, their personal soundscape. Prior to the field recordings, I always ask my interviewees to map the different locations where they usually spend most of their time and, when appropriate, sounds they remember from those places. I usually record much more material in those locations to capture other sounds they might not be aware of and seemed less obvious in order to highlight other sound-marks that are part of the sound-subjects' surroundings in a more detailed fashion. I often consider and use the sounds that surround us (and the sound-subjects in particular in my compositions) as a form of language, an abstracted form of comment that enhance and complete the discourse of the audio-diaries in which they represent the non-verbal, or sub-conscious if you will, narrative element. Jacques Lacan explains that language (and speech particularly) in all its content: silences, fatic expressions, highly complex statements or simple lapsus, and however “empty” the discourse may seem, is often perceived only “at its face value: that justifies the remark of Mallarmé’s, in which he compares the common use of language to the exchange of a coin whose obverse and reverse no longer bear any but effaced figures, and which people pass from hand to hand in silence. This metaphor is enough to remind us that speech, even when almost completely worn out, retains its value as a tessera .” (Lacan, Ecrits: a selection: 1966; 48) In a way, language and environment could therefore be seen as bearing the same function in that context. By mixing the voice of a subject with a part of his sonorous environment, I intend to create a representation of what I call the “Acoustic Phenotype ” of the subject studied in a particular piece.


released January 7, 2010

Emmanuel Lorien Spinelli
Recorded and Mixed in EMS, London, UK



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Emmanuel Lorien Spinelli London, UK

Emmanuel Lorien Spinelli is a composer, sound-designer, and music lecturer. He works within many genres such as soundscape composition, experimental music, musique concrète, sampling, free improvisation, jazz, avant-rock, drum n’ bass, electronica, and sound-poetry. ... more

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Track Name: Sanda Magna Morphina
Chasing roaming dogs in Bucharest, a market in Krakow, looking for traces, my traces....

“There are the so-called inert gases in the air we breathe. They bear curious Greek names of erudite derivation which means “the New” [Neon], “the Hidden” [Krypton], “the Inactive” [Argon], and “the Alien” [Xenon]. They are indeed so inert, so satisfied with their condition, that they do not combine with any other element, and for precisely this reason have gone undetected for centuries. (…) The little that I know about my ancestors presents many similarities to these gases.” (Primo Levi, The Periodic Table: 1975; 3)