Ville Raasakka

White as Winter's Threads  (2013)  #08mn — première suisse
pour disklavier

«The silk-producing animal - the silkworm - is a highly bred species with an utilitarian purpose. It no longer appears in the wild and is only raised within textile factories. The animal cannot even crawl without human help. Just before hatching, the silkworm is thrown into boiling water, where its cocoon is recovered for the production of silk. The worm never gets to live its natural life cycle; its only function is to weave and produce beautiful, snow-white threads. It is therefore a kind of mechanized animal. The Disklavier is a (grand) piano with a normal mechanism but played by a digital control system. I use the instrument as a kind of 'loom'. The acoustic shapes resemble threads, knots, sewing, and weaving.

I've moved away from the natural sound of the piano using microtonality, concrete sounds acquired from inside the piano's mechanism, and through dragging and rubbing various kinds of threads and yarns. I've also used industrial sewing machine sounds as source material. Just as the textile industry has domesticated the silkworm, it has mechanized the human textile worker - with often tragic results. In Bangladesh alone, at least 1129 workers hade died in textile factory collapses in 2013, with large numbers of child workers among the dead. This work was commissioned by Gaudeamus Muziekweek, Fondation Royaumont, Time of Music Festival, and the Ulysses Network. It has been executed with the support of the Madetoja Foundation. The electronics were realized by Anders Pohjola.»

Ville Raasakka