Alogon    -    2009    -    13’35

Alogon: - the unutterable, the illogical and the unmeasurable -

    Composition for Computer, Choir and 2 * 8 speakers 

        (a main surround system and a subsystem under the audience).

Alogon (Greek), the unutterable, the illogical and the unmeasurable this is how ancient Greek philosophers (Phytagoras and Plato) described rational numbers.

According these philosophers the world existence could only be expressed in ratio’s made up of whole numbers. Everything outside this vision could not exist in their ‘ideal’ world and therefore was unutterable. The irrational was forbidden; presumed that there was a direct link between number and order of the soul in the Universe.

Proclus declaimed that everyone who brought these numbers to daylight would disappear in a shipwrecking. The unutterable and the shapeless should stay hidden. And they who are willing to show and bring them to daylight shall be destroyed right away and remain the plaything of the eternal waves forever.

… But things are different now, our world exists and develops precisely thanks to these rational (floating point) numbers. We do like to make use of technology, but does our world view of culture and the use of technology collide with that of a world of whole relationships (ecology)? Or do they as a matter of fact complement each other?

The composition as a whole can be observed as a research into the use of these rational numbers. A calculation: a population growth algorithm(also known as Verhulst / Feigenbaum or Bifurcation Algorithm, was used to create musical material. The composition, uses the output as rational numbers for providing pitches, durations, rests and dynamics. It is the central idea in this composition.

Live sound processing will be performed with sung notes and sound material in a Multi speaker setup. One Soundsystem: as a speaker grid of 8 speakers beneath the listener and another one surround system also consisting of 8 speakers.

Sometimes the outcome collides, and sometimes it complements each other: but actually, always the end result cannot be achieved without technology.

Can that technology, in the form of special DSP techniques, perhaps help us further to strip voice and texts of their logical content and thus form the tool to search for

the unpronounceable singing?,

the technically illogical?,

and the musically immeasurable ...?

(pre-recorded) speech and ‘Sprechstimme’: Ted Szántò

As a libretto (in Latin) large fragments of the poem ‘De Hirundine’ (the Swallow) of Bishop Radboud from ca. 896 A.D. are used. And here is the great, and for me very inspiring Dutch translation by René Veenman:

The speech and ‘Sprechstimme’ all done by Ted Szántò, makes use of sentences used by the internet during the financial crash of 2007/2008. All related to the financial world.

The live recording has been done by Manuel Cooymans, DJC Recording , live sound processing, postprocessing and audio editing and mastering: Michèl Koenders.

The composition has been commissioned by: ‘NFPK+’ (The Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts).


Has been performed by: Hollands Vocaal Ensemble.

Audio design and Technical drawings: © Michèl Koenders  2009

Poster design: Dré Kampfraath