DAVID TUDOR – RAINFOREST 1 (recorded in India in 1990)
– RAINFOREST 4 (undated recording) – 1998
This electro-acoustic music has
nothing to do with the Rainforest per se. All the sounds are artificial and
technically they are projected into some volume, some 3-D space via objects
that can be practically anything. These objects give the sounds some kind of texture,
structure and resonance (note such installations are becoming common place and
I have seen many even in distant provincial towns now microphones and
loudspeakers or amplifiers can be extremely small and wireless managed from
anywhere from the cloud in some WIFI space). The various objects are installed,
suspended or positioned in various spots in the volume and these sounds then
are inter-twisting around and through one another in some three dimensional
volume in which the listener is positioned. We have to understand what we get
on the CD is not what we would get in a real installation. We are positioned
with the CD in one single and immobile point and the sounds are surrounding us
according to the re-mastering performed for that CD. In a real installation we
can position ourselves in any point whatsoever and thus have the sound
composition the way it is received in that point and we can move in the
installation thus changing the composition by changing the reception point.
But even if we only get a
one-pointed experience of this music we can really enjoy and appreciate it.
The title of it is quite
justified in the fact that we have exactly the same experience we would have in
any forest, and particularly any rain forest. We are in the middle of it and we
have sounds coming from all the points around us, intertwining one another with
every single other sound and we are moving in that forest, some sounds becoming
distant and some becoming close in and from all possible directions. And the
sources of these sounds can themselves move since they are birds, animals, the wind in the leaves and of
course the rain itself on top of it. This music then becomes particularly
fascinating since we may believe, feel we are in such a natural environment.
That is what comes with the first
version of the piece.
The second version is quite
different because the sounds are no longer aiming at being close to the sounds
in a real rain forest, birds, wind in leaves and other natural sounds. These
are still there and in the same way as before, but the whole forest experience,
all the forest sounds are wrapped up in some other sounds that are more
mechanical, artificial, urban even, industrial some could say, in other words
noise and that gives a double feeling.
The first one is that the natural
rain forest is being eaten up by the industrial urban noise of some big city,
of our over-urbanized and over-populated world. We feel this rain forest, this
nature is in danger; is endangered by our world. This feeling may make us feel
guilty and at the same time what can we do? Can we get rid of two or three
billion people to go back to what the world was one century ago? Of course not.
But yet we have to curb our demography. Our galloping expanding demography is a
catastrophe for our world, for our human species. It is in fact our doom. And
doomsday will be at the end of the road.
At the very same time this rain
forest is inside the industrial wrapping and urban surrounding. This rain
forest is the very core, the absolute essence of our existence, of our species,
of humanity. We cannot negate the animality and naturalness of our existence
and negating it is negating us, negating humanity, negating nature, negating
life and we are alive, hence we contain the rain forest, we are not part of it
we are the temple of it, the shrine in which it is supposed to go on, living
This music is by far a lot more
than just electro-acoustic gymnastics. It is ethical, fascinating, mesmerizing.
We have to fall into its trap, its trick, its hypnosis and we may then become
the gods we have always wanted to be. We can become the gods the cosmos needs
to survive in its own dynamism and expansion. We have to assume the rain forest
in its dynamic survival that might imply its final destruction just the same
way as the existence and survival of the earth must imply its end.
That’s the main and third
(triune) feeling then. Since the earth as a beginning it will have an end,
since humanity developed from some moment in the past it will come to its own
end at some moment in the future, since the sun has come into existence with
its galaxy at a precise moment in the past it will have to come to its own end,
and yet no matter when this or that comes to an end the cosmos as a whole will
go one existing and expanding and transforming. We are living on a false idea
that the universe, the cosmos appeared from nothing and nowhere at one moment,
be it the Big Bang or the sudden caprice of an almighty creative and yet
uncreated god. We have to understand the universe was already in existence
before that moment even if it was existing in another form. Nothing comes from
nothing. Everything comes from something. The only universal rule is not about
the beginning and the end of this or that form of life, mineral, animal,
vegetal or cosmic, but the fact that any form of life is derived from another
form of life that existed before.
Hominins are descending from
Hominids who are descending from anterior forms of animal life that are
descending from other forms of vegetal life that are descending from other forms
of mineral life. There is no end in this descent. No end because there is no
beginning. That’s what’s troubling our minds so much and this music is soaking
us into this evanescent and drowning reality. Not to drown we have to accept
the universe as having no initial point and no final point but as being a
continuous and eternal transformation and evolution. That’s the feeling I
experience in any forest and I experienced it in the rain forest of Sri Lanka
for example, particularly in the night. Life surrounds you and you are a speck
of dust in this cosmic life. Just listen to it and enjoy it until you can merge
into it. Your birth was a miracle of cosmic evolution and your death will just
be your return to this cosmic evolution. How can you be afraid of it?
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU