Unheimliches Wasser

Poema acusmático compuesto en 1994-95 (revisado en 2004) en los estudios del GMVL (Lyon, Francia)
Voces: Eric Donnez and Catherine Bonnefont.
Texto: Blas Payri.
Ronquidos: Carmen Calvo.

En esta pieza alternan los bloques de sonido reconocible (pasos, agua, ambientes) con bloques de sonidos transformados, que proceden a su vez de sonidos de agua procesados. Estos sonidos de agua procesados llegan a formar notas con alturas reconocibles, que están distribuidas en una afinación de tercios de tono, como tentativa de exploración de afinaciones microtonales. Esta alternancia de bloques responde a la alternancia entre lo conocido (Heimlich) y lo subyacente e inquietante (Unheimlich).

Los sonidos procesados hacen más o menos referencia a su origen acuático, y se van superponiendo creando “transparencias” sonoras. Los sonidos reconocibles han sido grabados y montados destacando la sensación espacial de los lugares, jugando con la reverberación natural y la distancia fuente-micrófono.

… denn dies Unheimliche ist wirklich nichts Neues oder Fremdes, sondern etwas von alters Vertrautes […]: Unheimlich sei alles, was ein Geheimnis, im Verborgenen bleiben sollte und hervorgetreten ist.

… woher rührt die Unheimlichkeit der Stille, des Alleinseins, der Dunkelheit ?

Sigmund Freud, Das Unheimliche.

… as this Uncanny is not really something new or strange, but something longlife familiar […]: may be Uncanny all that should have remained a secret, in the shadow, and that has come out….

from where does the uncanny feeling of stillness, of loneliness, of darkness come?

Sigmund Freud, Das Unheimliche. (The Uncanny)

The argument: Unheimliches Wasser is the twilight.

Is it a dream? Is it a remembrance? Night is falling, dampness of this forest that is so uncanny and also so familiar: this house is standing somewhere, rotten by the dampness of this forest …

Musical construction: Sequences of close and recognizable sounds alternate with sequences of distant and abstract sounds …The work switches regularly from the known and familiar ground to the distant and uncanny background … these distant sequences are like breaches … an inkling of a latent presence.

An ostinato, sustained in the distance all along the piece; it is but an aspect of the river. Play of transparency with the sounds in the distance: sounds are superimposed, each at a given pitch and location … improbable space configurations … The narrator tells a simple and linear story, seeming not to notice those sounds so distant, … but so present.

Coda, final silence … desolation. The brief initial theme comes back. The coda develops on the musical framework of the first part, but with a slowed down pace, without any concrete sound: scarcity of sound, immobility; some “characters” barely perceived in the first part are heard again.

The text: The german language was chosen for this piece, and specially the liquid sounds of the language … german is a language of which I am fond, and also, it is a small tribute to Sigmund Freud (the title of the piece was inspired by Freud’s essay Das Unheimliche, and the title could be translated by Uncanny water). The words , the narrative style used are the closest possible to everyday speech, my aim is to create an “electroacoustic poetry” by bringing together the words, by confronting words with surrounding sounds, atmospheres.

A whispered voice (in french this time) appears as a counterpoint to the narrator’s account, a comment.

 

Leading voice:

Eine nacht bin ich durch den Wald gewandert, ein nasses Gebiet mit vielen dunklen Bäumen, mit zerfallenen Bäumen, dann kam ich vor einem Fluß .Dann wollte ich über den Fluß , ohne dabei naß zu werden. Da habe ich einen gefallenen Baum gesehen, der wie ein Brücke über dem Fluß gebildet hatte; dann kam ich rüber, und plötzlich sah ich, in der Dunkelheit, ein verlorenes, halb zerfallenes Haus, daß naß und feucht, nach Wasser, Schatten, Feuchtigkeit und nach dem Dreck der Einwohnern gestunken hat.

Es war sehr unangenehm, es war wie im Grab; kalt und dunkel, und einsam. Ich wollte so schnell möglich raus aus diesem Haus, da habe ich gehofft, daß es so schnell wie möglich zerfallen würde, daß das Haus von allein kaputt gehen würde, daß es verschwandt … von der Erde.

Whispered voice:

… je ne veux pas me mouiller, me souiller! … mais elle est sale, souillée, impure! … le moisi suinte …cette maison … quel minable taudis! si seulement cette odeur… cette odeur de cambouis et de bois moisi …

Si seulement un jour elle pouvait se décomposer en la terre grasse et humide, mais si fertile, si naturelle et belle sur laquelle pousseront d’autres ronces et se poseront d’autres feuilles.

Translation

Leading voice:

In the night, I walked in a forest … a damp ground with many dark trees, with fallen in trees, then I arrived … in front of a river. Then I wanted to walk across without getting wet. And then I saw a fallen tree that made like a bridge over the river; and then I crossed, and suddenly, I saw … in the darkness, an old forgotten house, half fallen in, that was wet and damp … the house stank of dampness, shadow, and the dirtyness of the inhabitants. It was very unpleasant, it was like in a grave; it was cold and dark, and lonely.

And then I wanted to flee this house as quick as possible, and then I hoped that it fall in as quick as possible, that the house break down, that it disappear from the earth.

Whispered voice:

… I don’t want to get wet … to get soiled … this water is cold, soiled, impure … the mould oozes … this house, what a seedy hovel! this smell of dirty grease and musty wood!

if only it was decomposing into the soil thick and damp, but so fertile, so natural and beautiful, on which other brambles will grow and other leaves will lay …