Part 1: Opera ?
SOBRALASOLAS! is a radio opera for live, streamed and recorded sounds. This project, which began in 2007, gathers a international group of sound artists who through network collaboration and performances are in the process of developing a series of acousmatic episodes.
This 'radiopera' is an ongoing participative network performance with successive episodes including Jérôme Joy, Kaffe Matthews, Gregory Whitehead, Emmanuelle Gibello, Björn Eriksson, Caroline Bouissou and DinahBird : a skiffle sound & music collective adapting contemporary composition, improvisation and radiophony music.
And at present SOBRALASOLAS! is collectively developed in involving streaming and broadcasting technologies (net, web 2.0 and hertzian) in the framework of a kind of an everyday opera/co-opera 1 led and propelled by operators 2 , as much listeners as players.
Based on combinations of field recordings, spoken performances & electroacoustic improvisation in a networked playing configuration, the series of episodes don't aim to form a total work as one understands it when we speak about opera. SOBRALASOLAS! does not have preestablished scenario, nor is there a story to be told. It is neither a documentary nor a radio testimony. It is a place for glossolalies and echolalias, on-the-fly recordings and collected audio improvisations, to be experimented with, to be recontextualised and perhaps heard in new ways.
SOBRALASOLAS! intercuts collected and improvised sounds with the aim of recreating a new listening & soniferous environment that is both fictional and real, time-specific and site-specific, and certainly « deformal ».
The challenge was and still is to cross and to cross-pollinize personal styles and involvements in a real co-writing and co-playing. We experiment various sets of playing in involving moves and feedbacks between conductor(s), players & listeners starting from common protocols of participation. Initially built on a system that combines traditional studio practices (montage/mixing), live and remote performances (improvised parts) and networks (the streaming techniques used for the remote sound recordings, live sound collectings and performances) along the first episode -- wigs 3 --, SOBRALASOLAS! is an attempt at a « jive » opera. The microphone is at the center of Sobralasolas's systems -- moreover, in the beginning of the project, the first name of participants was « mike-heads ». In the same way for the loudspeaker : mics and speakers are both transducers, sensitive membranes and disembodied (& reincarnated as a result) extensions of our perception organs. Thru spaces, those from which we are emitting (or streaming) as well as those where we receive and listen to sound, SOBRALASOLAS! aims to condense and slow down the process of listening and, by extension, our way of grasping surroundings in everyday life : like lively & commensal perceptions to share 4 ).
Conceived as a series or a collection of episodes, -- as if we serialize an endless opera -- this 'radiopera' combines improvised, composed, streamed, and mixed sounds in open and continuous structures -- and in a persistent and split up environment one follows the diffuse narration --. Each episode is the occasion to re-create a live mix of remote protocols performed by the involved participants who, whether physically present or not (on a proposed stage or studio), feed off one another's audio environment and sonic reactions. Each episode is built on feedback between us (and others also), without a chosen subject or story, with reactions from each one of us along the work and during the composition.
SOBRALASOLAS! : a musical concert, radiophonic work & « comprovized » networked system, and a in-progress online podcast and fictive & "told" recordings.
In involving microphones uses and live sound collectings, this workprocess amplifies & probes the forgotten details of our everyday lives, mishaps, adventures, narratives and imagined soundscapes. The group of artists are currently working and developing different methods of using remote sound recording and collection via streaming with open microphones (or 'webmikes', a concept first used in the Locustream project by Locus Sonus 5 ) and file exchanges.
Broadcasting is conceived as a large and broad live scenography of memorised and live sounds : an inversion of the stage and the studio. We can easily imagine or consider the SOBRALASOLAS!'s system such a radio play studio -- a "hidden" and distant stage -- but here distributed in space : networked and remotely synchronized thanks to a live score 6 . SOBRALASOLAS! can be live played with remote and present players, (full-)broadcasted & aired, or simply played on loudspeakers in concert halls or other listening rooms or in outdoor configurations also. Even if communication technologies increases the speedness of access to distant sources from remote spaces, SOBRALASOLAS! interlaces these sources in a slowing-down of time, together-experimented.
Future episodes will explore various combinations of composition, improvisation 7 , live, remote and local performances, possibly mixed-media with current networks techniques. Our intention is to play with the sonic/cinematographic phantom 8 of our very different realities into which the listeners build their own perceptions and stories. Voices without physical bodies compose and tune into the present, to reveal new auditory experiences.
SOBRALASOLAS! is an expression from Finnegans Wake by James Joyce and probably coming from the title of a famous valse composed by José Juventino Rosas.
SOBRALASOLAS! ep1 (2007/2008) is produced in collaboration with Festival Sonor Nantes, Ohm Avatar Quebec, Locus Sonus http://locusonus.org/ , The Thing NYC, nujus.net, creacast.com, and Radiowne.org.
Graphisme / Cover art designer & graphics : Caroline Bouissou
Webdesign and webmaster : Jérôme Joy
1 opera / operai-tional / co-opera /
2 operators, operauthors, mike-heads : they not only provide sound contents and participate in the project like "potential" characters (« personnages »), but they are both co-composers and co-improvisers.
3 coming from the term « rycote », microphone windshield or foam (in French : "bonnette")
4 Le partage du sensible: the distribution of the Sensible, according to Jacques Rancière.
6 written with the help of data-processing programming and/or collective playing rules.
7 Comprovisation, (remote) live site- and time-specific selections, etc.
8 Jacques Derrida : "L'avenir est aux fantômes" (Future belongs to ghosts) and "Cinema/fiction is the art of conjuring up ghosts", quoted in « Ghost Dance », a movie by Ken Mc Mullen (1982/83).