[inaudible] (premiere)

Keiko Devaux

Born 1982

With [INAUDIBLE], Keiko Devaux continues her cycle of works exploring sound memory and auditory imagination. The composer’s interest in how sound can be transformed or altered in recollection is related to her compositional process, in which she often explores abstract melodic-harmonic and rhythmic gestures drawn from her memory.

The work is inspired by the effects made by the white noise of “off-air” radio and television signals and by the sound of scans and beeps of scanning signals. The work’s tensions arise from the contrasted reminiscences of these sound sources and from the act of pulling them up. Episodic memories of sounds reappear, get caught in a loop and deform. Overlaid on, melding into and interrupting each other or sometimes taking up the whole space, these evocations of noise may be expressed by the orchestra, by an instrumental section or by a soloist. The orchestra weaves long bolts of blurred sound worlds that are briefly broken by outbursts and dance fragments, often in opposition. Like tectonic plates of the memory, these layers evolve throughout the work, at times fighting for the foreground, before culminating in a moment of sonic cohesion. Fundamentally, the work is based not on quotation but on exploring rememorization, with the composer using old audible events to construct equivalent strucutral, harmonic and stylistic elements.

“The title [INAUDIBLE] comes from my side project of collecting film subtitles that describe sounds. The term ‘inaudible’ is common and I find it fascinating. The idea of describing the sound of something we can’t hear is an amazing concept for me. It evokes everything and nothing.” – Keiko Devaux

© Florence Leyssieux 2023
Translation © Craig Schweickert