Parabolic Studies For Migraine

‘Parabolic Studies for Migraine’ was composed specifically for a multi-speaker concert I was invited to perform in. The concert took place at Aures London venue to a blindfolded audience in March 2019. The performance was repeated three times and all three performances, which involved different audiences, were sold out. The theme of the concert was ‘the experience of pain’ and my performance explored the effects of migraine, which was approached by working with high frequency textures and throbbing low frequency registers.

For the purpose of the performance I recomposed for 8 channels a version of Huit Études Paraboliques by the Belgian composer Henri Pousseur (1929-2009), originally created in 1972. Pousseur regarded this work (which was a series of eight compositions) as source material to be plundered and reconfigured to produce new compositions. My version used original material as well as transformed and reconfigured material from three of Pousseur’s eight original compositions: ‘Les Ailes d’Icare’, ‘An Heinrich, Ping-pong’ and ‘Voyage aux Éléments’. The sound material was treated carefully so as to retain and emphasise scintillating grains and lines as well as pulsating bass, while reducing the prominence of unnecessary -for this particular performance- elements.

The performance of ‘Parabolic Studies for Migraine’ lasted for 15 minutes and involved live diffusion of the eight individual channels over 50 loudspeakers that surrounded the blindfolded audience. The performance also explored deprivation of the sense of vision in the context of largely moving sounds which mostly created disorientation that agreed with the theme of pain and migraine. The piece was recorded in binaural format, it was broadcast on Resonance FM on 1st of April 2019, and was published through the label GUTZ.

photography by Sophie Le Roux

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