Sync (2019)

Written during the second half of 2019 for the zurich saxophone collective, Sync is a piece for ensemble of 6 saxophonists, 6 performers operating lights and electronics. The use of a click-track, one of the most common tools in recent music to synchronize performers on stage, becomes the main musical and dramatic element and articulates the form of the piece. Once the mechanism of synchronization has been revealed and becomes hearable by both the performers and the audience, not only the singular events but also their position in the musical structure are perceived, exposing the performers and erasing any notion of chamber music virtuosity. The piece toys with the expectations and contradictions of this situation, building a dramaturgy both severe and humorous where this tool of synchronization fails and starts acting against the performers, provoking situations of disorientation or struggle clearly revealed to the audience.

The content of the electronic part, fully fixed under the strict grid of this digital metronome, could be understood as some sort of fraudulent live electronics. In recent literature, the combination of pre-recorded elements and real-time transformations blurs many of the definitions that usually described and differentiated the many varied practices of electroacoustic performance. This idea is brought to the extreme and becomes one of the core concepts of the piece. All the sounds performed in real time by the saxophonists have their pre-recorded duplication in the electronic part, converting organic, individual actions in a plastic material susceptible to be manipulated and reproduced identically in a process of merciless digital copy-paste. Most gestures, physically demanding but acoustically discreet, are magnified to unnatural results. When the gesture of a saxophonist successfully synchronizes with the sound coming from the speakers, the result is the illusion of amplification, a reversed acousmatic, and the body of the saxophonist is perceived as the main source of sound. But here, once again, does the piece play with the impossibility of a perfect illusion: slight coordination imperfections, either provoked, requested or accidental, bring back a human dimension to the performance and remind the audience of the constant exercise of synchronization that sometimes tests the limits of the musicians.