Le Chant du bollard


*2007 *

Duration 12′

création le 2 avril 2008 au Festival Syntax 7.2 à Perpignan

A bollard is a vertical sliding system to which boats tie up in locks; it emits discontinuous random sounds during the whole time the water is falling in the lock, and there are about a dozen that “sing” in this way in this gigantic sonorous cathedral. This is the sound film of a passage through a lock on the River Rhône. The water can sustain an entire life and intense human activity full of strange sounds for “terrestrials”; navigating in rivers where the sound environment is all fluidity can also create shocks, more or less violent, since the water is in movement, sometimes percussive and very harsh. This, therefore, is water heard from a boat passing through one of the immense locks on the Rhône, where everything is amplified and takes on a grandiose fullness.


The scar of Ulysses


Multi channel – 8 tracks

Duration 16′

SoundcloudYouTube BANDCAMP

This title, borrowed from Erich Auerbach, German writer and critic deceased in 1957, immediately sets the scene on a plane where realism is depicted in the aesthetics of Western music.

Electro-acoustic music has the ability, using “concrete” sounds (with all the ambiguity implied by the word), of giving us an immediate sensation of reality, which we can all situate in relation to our references and private objects of reference; these are the profound notions of sublimitas and humilitas, which merge and unite in musical expression.

I have chosen a composition on eight channels, and sound recordings on the edge of a motorway, with an especially dynamic and very bold Doppler sound effect, which immediately informs and imposes movement in the finite space of octophonic music.

Every listener will be able to decipher his or her own images of a collective mental universe from the essence of this kind of artistic creation, just like the scar by which Ulysses was recognised by his former servant woman.


Commission of IMEB *2005*

Duration 16′

Ellipse is a scientific word and ellipsis, the literary word, each with its own special meaning. Ellipse is used in geometry, astronomy and colorimetry, and ellipsis is a term used in literature, poetry and rhetoric; the word itself is a metaphor; in another of its singularities, in geometry, it is a fixed and finite shape.
Every mode of expression and the different media use this term to avoid any too obvious duplication, and more often, also to enhance the impact of a narrative or story.
In cinema, another kind of medium, it becomes a narrative tool, widely used to leave out a certain number of elements perceived as repetitive in a story, which are a part of the logic development of the fiction, but are considered unnecessary to its understanding; editing then becomes critical to the effectiveness of the ellipsis.
Music is constrained by the same criteria of economy of time, narrative efficiency and poeticism, and therefore makes extensive use of these principles of narration.
For me, this is a wonderful metaphor, so pertinent, right from its finite geometry through to the development of musical discourse in its temporal perception, in spite of the meaning of the Greek word, which invokes an”insufficiency”.

Soundcloud Youtube


for Tape alone


Duration 16 min 40

State commission
created in the auditorium Olivier Messiaen – Maison de Radio France – Paris 14 mars 2004

For Aurélie

Even now, we still encounter the problematics of Platon and particularly of Aristote, suggested nearly 2500 years ago, concerning the nature of art and the role of the creator in the City.
According to Aristote, artistic creation (poèsis) is not simply rhetoric (diègèsis), but “imitation” (mimèsis), providing the possibility of purification (catharsis).
Mimesis must be understood to be not simply a copy of reality but a sort of renewal of this “energeia” which is the essence of life.

Since the 19th Century, first photographs, then cinema and the media – so omnipresent in the 20th Century, which have filled us with images and all kinds of representations – have tended to illegitimate the mimetic pretensions of painting, and even of music. The 20th Century witnessed the emergence of painters who refuse any relationship between their work and reality, along the various currents of abstraction, in addition to a stubborn resurgence of the cry “art for art’s sake”.

This was the reflection and its confrontation with the music of the 21st Century which gave me my departure point. Indeed, this work uses both sounds of “imitation” drawing their aesthetic value from the “world reality” and sounds of “images of creation” which re-create the energy and meaningful acts of life.

But let us go back to Aristote’s opposition of mimèsis and diègèsis, seized upon by Anglo-Saxon criticism, which distinguishes between the ideas of showing and telling : my work is also a discourse which evolves like an expedition and sometimes like an odyssey, in the history of the memory, drawn from narrations, interactions, relations, comparisons, imitations, exemplifications, from renewed meaning, from life.

Denying myself any equivocation between these two notions, I resolutely gave preference to “rendering the perceived impression in a new combination” (Paul Klee).

In its fundamental and atavistic ambiguity, where image and reality exist together, where meaning and abstract mingle ; to me, acousmatic music was the obvious choice of a language fitting my approach to these difficult themes.


Acousmatic music  18′ (short version 12′) – 2002

The word orphism was suggested by the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, with the publication of his “Méditations esthétiques” (Aesthetic meditations) en 1912, to describe some aspects of avant-garde painting. Apollinaire names five orphic painters: Picasso, Delaunay, Léger, Picabia, Duchamp.
So, this piece is a re-read (and a rewrite) of a piece composed in 1983 to pay homage to the painter Fernand Léger: Eléments mécaniques (Mechanical elements).
The piece seemed to me to be strongly marked by the very “analogical” techniques of the time, and so I have tried, using digital methods and a more focused discourse, to expose in a new fashion this concept of the mechanical element in the world of sound just as Fernand Léger achieved it in the world of painting.

Christian ELOY