Recorded live in a large hall serving as artist space in Saint-Ouen, this album presents the project Stahlstuhl in its typical line-up: a chair performer plus a laptop musician. By the way, this was the first concert held by the duo, in December 2012.
Guitar player, singer and computer science enthusiast, Olavo Vianna acts here as a chairs’ guru. His performance is the result of a long study on the timbrical possibilities of school chairs. As shown in this recording, such an ordinary object has all the potential for becoming a full scale musical instrument.
The interaction of wood and metal creates a specific sonority, unique for each chair. The diversity of sound palette is assured by Vianna via an instrumental action combining multiple gestures, such as dragging and percussion. One has to start listening, in order to believe that 100% of the sounds here come from a chair…
Sure, sound sources are processed in real time with a laptop and with an extremely cautious use of tape recordings of chairs. The laptop musician, Emanuele Battisti, receives the sound sources through a contact microphone (specifically used for the percussive sounds) and a condenser mic, the latter positioned at the center of the room – hence allowing a fuller reproduction of the granular sounds produced by the chair in that specific room.
By the use of different delays and reverbs, Battisti shapes ever-changing rhythmical structures, that move through ever-changing acoustic spaces. The original recording for this live concert was in four channels, and is reduced here to a stereo for obvious reasons. During the concert, the public was literally enfolded in a dynamic system of sounds.
Although this performance is improvised, the two musicians follow a strict order of gestures and interactions. The resulting form is a double crescendo, with a first climax at the middle of the composition, and a second larger climax at the end.
This recording is based on the synergistic connection between the chair, its sound, and the specific concert location. Vianna and Battisti often invite guest musicians, dancers and video-makers, since they are more interested in experimenting new paths, than in repeating already established formulas.