Black Forest Set

The Black Forest Set consists of 30 minutes of music for saxophone with live electronics. Conceived as two separate pieces at the intersection of composition and improvisation, acoustic and electronic, and with the most diverse influences from Noise music, Free Jazz or Electronica to Ambient merged into a very eclectic but individual aesthetic, the music explores the possibilities and the limits of the use of electronic processing on the instrument with the intention to not only expand the possibilities of the saxophone, but to create a completely new hybrid instrument with its own identity and its own musical language.

The first half of the set is a clear reflection of this attempt. The traditional identity of the saxophone and all its associations are radically erased, as the most unconventional ways of playing the instrument, blurred with all sorts of electronic processing, progressively define this new electroacoustic instrument, some sort of electric air machine that moves in the spectrum in between the natural of the human breath and the artificial of the noise of the machine. The concept of sampling plays a big role here, trapping the voice of the instrument to be manipulated by faders and knobs and processes inside the computer. Intense, fast and excessive, the performer plays on the instrument, on the different controllers and pedals and on the computer, in an exercise of accelerated multitasking that makes the hands jump in between the keys of the instrument and the knobs of the controllers.

The lyrical voice of the saxophone emerges then from the dissolution of the previous part, after a long progression of hyper-active music, close to noise at many times, into a peaceful melodic landscape. Inspired by the slow progressions of minimal music and the suggestion of soundscape of ambient music, several melodic lines are looped and played back, slowly generating a texture of sounds that grows in intensity as the performer increases his activity, improvising on top and constantly adding new layers until the piece reaches a complex polyphonic map of crossing melodies, an imaginative landscape of sounds.

The Black Forest Set is a very personal project for which I composed the sounds and programmed the electronics. There are no scores and its not intended to be transferable to other performers, since it is a reflection of the way I play, of my instrument (here not only the saxophone but a whole set of microphones, controllers, pedals and electronic patches that I use in equal importance) and, finally, of the music I like to listen to and I like to play. The pieces keep evolving and changing over time, and I get to discover unexpected musical corners every night I play them in concert. The Set is as well a meeting point for so many different interests of mine: saxophone playing, free improvisation, composition, electronic performance, both academic and underground culture, and so many different genres that have influenced this music and have helped me to very slowly define my personal artistic voice.