Compression Music (2018)


for soprano, piano, percussion, modular synth and sampler performer and sound engineer


Compression music contrasts two different sound ideas. On the one hand, the current sound aesthetic is characterized by homogeneous dynamics and a compact and amplified sound. Due to the phenomenon of compression, most modern popular music presents minimal dynamic contrast between strong and weak parts. This idea is very strange compared to a classical musical tradition based on the opposite principle, in which for example you can find abysses of sound energy between an entire orchestra that plays in an overwhelming tutti and after a few seconds is followed by an intimate fragment with a single instrument. There are many other elements that derive from this conception of sound, such as differences in the approach to the sound space and instrumental color. A concert hall is not a CD or a recording studio, an acoustic instrument does not behave like an electric guitar and we have to be aware that when we listen to an amplified instrument we are also hearing the microphone and the speaker through which the recording is playing, at the least.

The particular instrumental work of the piece reflects this duality: piano, percussion and voice massively amplified, an interpreter of modular synthesizers, sampler and live electronics, and a sound engineer with a crucial role in the piece which appears thoroughly defined in the score. Compression music is part of this reflection as an awareness exercise. It is an attempt to confront how and why we listen and to propose, through different movements, situations that show these different and almost incompatible conceptions of sound. In Compression music, acoustics are not a characteristic or a secondary property of the concert: acoustics, the idea of sound, is the piece.

Compression Music has been written to be performed by Sarah Maria Sun, Neus Estarellas, Feliu Ribera, Santi Barguñó and Luis Codera Puzo


The text of the piece is a reconstruction of a multitude of fragments of lyrics of pop songs that I liked when I was younger


The project has been supported by the Fundación BBVA.