benjamin thigpen

  paths 2011
  turn 2010
  still 2009
  shift 2009
  head transplant experiment 2008
  malfunction30931 2007
  undertow 2006
  brief candle 2005
  0.95652173913 2005
  incandescence 2003
  espoir 2003
  balagan 2001
  not even the rain 2000
  step,under 1998
  dust 1997
  ashes,ashes 1996
  h 1995
  appel 1995
  dédale 1994
  études au mouvant, 2e livre 1994
for 8-channel electromagnetic media
duration : 21'45

(excerpt 0'00-8'39)

Ecce deus fortior me, qui veniens dominabitur michi.

– Dante Alighieri

It starts out quietly — almost imperceptibly. The nature of the small bouncing sounds that open the piece, however, should put us on our guard: tense and nervous, they announce the catastrophes to come. Because 0.95652… is a catastrophic, cataclysmic piece. Its very substance seems to be catastrophe. Relationships are inverted. Tumultuous noises, increasing throughout the piece, are paradoxically its moments of peace. Which may shed some light on its enigmatic and unpronounceable title (like the name of God in the Old Testament?). This almost one speaks the limit, the smallest difference, which is also the instant of maximal intensity. And 0.95652... places us within this instant as if within a nest. (After, there will be one: completion(?), silence(?), death(?) — domains beyond our reach.) The “total sound,” immobile and solar agitation, is detached from all causality. It appears brutally (increasingly brutally as the piece advances), and stops just as abruptly, without reason. — Or at the very least as a displaced and disproportionate consequence of what could be its cause: the banging of tin plates, the buzzing of poor childrens' wind-up toys unexpectedly skid out of control, exploding into intergalactic rodeos, into co(s)mic crackling epics. Possible images among others left to the listeners' discretion and imagination. The whole speaks of a fundamental ambivalence between ends and means. The “entire sound” of almost one is not the result of a learnedly elaborated construction (à la Beethoven or Wagner, say): it is already there. It takes the place of silence. This music recognizes an existing complexity — indecipherable – that it takes over and accepts; and there, very naturally, it finds peace. Which is what gives it its most unexpected quality, its “ethic”: this extreme power – light and transparent – does not overwhelm us; instead, it leaves us free and invigorated – as if we had been in an air bath. [Régis Renouard Larivière]

Comissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, 2005. Premiered in Paris, 23 April 2006.