Occam XXV


Éliane Radigue: "We live in a universe filled with waves. Not only between the Earth and the Sun but all the way down to the tiniest microwaves and inside it is the minuscule band that lies between the 60 Hz and the 12,000 to 15,000 Hz that our ears turn into sound. There are many wavelengths in the ocean too and we also come into contact with it physically, mentally and spiritually. That explains the title of this body of work which is called Occam Ocean. The main aim of this work is to focus on how the partials are dealt with. Whether they come in the form of micro beats, pulsations, harmonics, subharmonics -- which are extremely rare but have a transcendent beauty -- bass pulsations -- the highly intangible aspect of sound. That's what makes it so rich. When Luciano Pavarotti gave free rein to the full force of his voice the conductor stopped beating time and you could hear the richness in its entirety. Music in written form, or however it is relayed, ultimately remains abstract. It's the performer, the person playing it who brings it to life. So, the person playing the instrument must come first. I've always thought of performers and their instruments as one. They form a dual personality. No two performers, playing the same instrument, have the same relationship with that instrument -- the same intimate relationship. This is where the process of making the work personal begins. The purely personal task of deciding on the theme or image that we're going to work from. Obviously, because this is Occam Ocean, the theme is always related to water. It could be a little stream, a fountain, the distant ocean, rivers. Out of the fifty or so musicians I've worked with no two themes have been the same. Each musician's theme is completely unique and completely personal. The music does the talking. This is one of those art forms that manages to express the many things that words aren't able to. Even at an early stage, all those ideas need to have been brought together."

Composed by Éliane Radigue. Performed by Frédéric Blondy. Commissioned by Organ Reframed, curated by Claire M Singer. Recorded on January 8, 2020 by Daniel Halford at Union Chapel on the organ built by "Father" Henry Willis, 1877. Mastered by Denis Blackham at Skye Mastering. Cover organ photography: Daniela Sbrisny. Designed by Philip Marshall, Berlin, June 2021. This commission was generously supported by Arts Council England, the London Community Foundation/Cockayne, PRS Foundation, and SACEM.