Prairie Urbaine

music composition for double bass, sine wave oscillators and town noise recordings
Duration 75 mins
composed in 2012-2013

Sabrina Merz - double bass
Marcel Zaes - composition, sine waves, town noise

Artwork: visual installation by Anna Schölß

Album released by Tonus Music Records, Oct 16, 2014

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Video by Lia Sáile, 2014-2015

Minimalistic sound landscape

In PRAIRIE URBAINE the use of the contrabass is reduced to its natural overtones. The four harmonic series – one per string, sounding plucked – represent the only sound material, the overlapping of which characterizes the special harmony of the composition. Sinus sounds take over the pitches of the plucked contrabass and thus extend them. They become an artificial extension of the instrument, which seemingly is being played permanently. As a contrast, a recording from the city of Cairo can be heard every now and then, opposing the contrabass with the noise of dense traffic.

PRAIRIE URBAINE consists of four equally long parts, the harmony of each is specifically based on one of the four contrabass strings. The composition score is computer-generated and follows a strict system of rules. A probability table determines frequency, volume and exact position of occurrence for each individual element. PRAIRIE URBAINE creates a lengthy sound world, continuing to show the same from ever new perspectives.
The development of this music was made possible by the Momento Foundation as well as the Graf Fonds of the Zurich University of the Arts. This work was premiered in January 2013 at the Zurich University of the Arts.

Album 'Prairie Urbaine'

Released by Tonus Music Records, 2014
Tonus Music Records - web store
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with Sabrina Merz (double bass)
17 Oct 2014 - Orbital Garden - Bern CH

9 Jan 2013 - University of the Arts - Zurich CH