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Stelios Manousakis - Megas Diakosmos [2011]

modularbrains on May 13, 2011 19:38

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    • About the project:
This solo live electronics project merges vocabularies and approaches from different, often seemingly clashing, realms of electronic music: noise and no-input music with electroacoustic composition with vibrant underground tekno. The sets are very hands-on, using a custom-built live-electronics instrument programmed in SuperCollider. Playing it is very involved, and as real-time as playing an acoustic instrument.

    • About this piece:
    Megas Diakosmos ('Μέγας Διάκοσμος', i.e. ‘The Great Order of the Universe) takes its name from a lost cosmological treatise written by Leukippos, an ancient Greek natural philosopher of the 5th century BCE. In this treatise, Leukippos introduced for the first time an Atomic Theory of cosmology, surprisingly comparable to contemporary cosmological theories. Very little is known about the work, but according to remarks of other ancient writers, Leukippos postulated that the universe consists of tiny, invisible, indestructible, unchangeable and indivisible 'Atoms' (the 'Being') differing only in size and shape, and of 'Void' (the 'Non-being'), that exists in-between atoms and has also material properties, although different (anti-matter?). This infinitely expanding and contracting void allows atoms to move and collide eternally, creating and destroying matter, new bodies, and our world, but also a vast number of other worlds in the universe, some inhabited some not.
    Leukippos' atomic theory and turbulent cosmogonic vision form the conceptual and experiential starting points for the composition, its sonorities and their development throughout the piece, as well as for the system and sound synthesis methods used. The system is a cybernetic model based on digital feedback and implemented as a sonic complex dynamical system – mathematically similar to a cosmological entity or universe in motion. This sonic universe is defined by the sample-by-sample interactions of a single binary digit (One, or ‘Being’) moving incessantly within a world of Void (Zeros, or ‘Non-being’). This digit floats and collides, is fused and split from delayed copies of itself, thus creating countless sonic bodies in states of equilibrium, oscillation, chaotic behavior, noise and silence.
    Although Megas Diakosmos is a fixed medium piece, all the different ‘worlds’ (layers and sections) were performed in real-time using a hands-on, live electronics version of the system to maintain an aspect of ‘in-time’ timelessness, and to accentuate the primal and visceral character of the composition.

    • More info and a schematic of the live electronics instrument can be found here:

    This piece appears together with an artist interview at Gonzo(circus) [issue 103], a Belgian/Dutch magazine for contemporary music and culture.


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