The heart of sound

ICONOCLASTIC French composer Eliane Radigue’s synthesiser music swept her to international fame on a wave of musical controversy in the 1970s.

Now 83, Radigue is still composing, switching to acoustic instrumental some 10 years ago.

• Eliane Radigues with her synthesiser, 1980: Photo credit Yves Ferndandez | The Kitchen Archives via The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

• Eliane Radigues with her synthesiser, 1980: Photo credit Yves Ferndandez | The Kitchen Archives via The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles.

Her OCCAM Ocean series is set to be performed by Decibel New Music, after director Dr Cat Hope spent time with the composer as part of her Churchill Fellowship.

“We are the first Australian group to commission work by Eliane.”

• Eliane Radigues (front) and Carol Robinson.

• Eliane Radigues (front) and Carol Robinson.

Radigue’s works are created rather than notated, requiring musicians to spend time in her studio, but with her health ruling out a trip down under, long time collaborator Carol Robinson is in town for a two week residency: “Sort of ‘transmitting’ [the composition],” Hope says.

Changing slowly, almost imperceptibly, the music responds to the interactions between sound, instrument, musician and the resonance and acoustics of the performance space: “Her music is subliminal, transporting the listener into the very heart of sound.”

• Eliane Radigues, Nice, 1955

• Eliane Radigues, Nice, 1955

Grab a cushion and some floor space: “[And] get really taken away by the music,” Hope says. OCCAM, the Music of Eliane Radigue is on at PICA, Friday October 30, 7.30pm.

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