for 2 Disklaviers

+ electronics & video


Animals have always been dear to me, even if I did not have any pets around as a child. However, it was not until recently that I have started to inform myself about their situation in relationship with people and to realize the various ways in which animals take part to our daily life.
Although it is easier not to pay attention to this issue, the manner in which humans treat the other creatures of this world has become more than heartless in the last century. In order to reach a natural balance, we should first ask ourselves, whether these beings have souls as well, or if they are simple bodies that we can manipulate freely.
More than 57 billion animals die each year globally to produce meat, eggs and dairy products.
The first part of the piece was entirely composed by translating recordings of different creatures, with the help of Georg Hajdu's software Macaque. I felt that the most suitable instrument to impersonate the incomprehensible shouts of our cohabitants was the Disklavier, which is also considered as having no soul, since no person is playing it.
In opposition, the second part is a contemplation, in which the two Disklaviers are one by one soloists and accompanists. With the risk of being considered an activist, the piece expresses my distress regarding the matter of animal abuse by means of factory farming, excessive hunting and fishing, clothing, experimenting and so on.



The word soulless, as pointed out in the text, has two meanings in the piece:

1. figurative – the merciless of some people towards animals;

2. literal – the absence of soul in a Disklavier14.

In a comparable mode to Autoimmune Disorder, this piece approaches a sensible subject. It is hard to talk to people about animal abuse, since it might look like you are trespassing their private rights (e.g. the choice of food). I am not a person who tries to convince everybody around to become vegetarians, nor am I convinced myself that every person on the planet should stop eating meat or wearing leather clothes. Nevertheless, I do believe that the recently developed methods used by industries to massively exploit animals are inhumane and people should be aware of that, in order to reduce or even eliminate them. So, I decided to compose a piece about this matter, because music does not offend people, on the contrary, it resonates with their sensibility.


The two Disklaviers were dressed in white sheets and transformed into video screens, using the technique projection mapping. This involves taking the picture of an object or a building and then, by making a virtual representation of it, being able to project images precisely on its surface.


Out of the five pieces of the concert, Soulless is the most quiet one, because I did not want it to be perceived as some sort of accusation, but rather as a sad story. It begins with electronically-altered recordings of nature sounds, spread between the 8 loudspeakers under the seats. Next, the buzzing sound of a bee swarm travels around the spectators and its musical translation is played by one of the Disklaviers. At the same time, a bee can be seen floating over the instrument, followed by the swarm. This event repeats a few times with different animals or avatars (two lizards, a snake, a fish-horse-object and a ball of fur) appearing and disappearing on the Disklaviers, while the piano music – generated algorithmically by the animal recordings – produces a neutral feeling. The animals seem to be in their element, they move around undisturbed and peaceful. A series of animal skins are projected on the instruments with rapid transitions and the second part of the piece starts unannounced.


The music differs not only aesthetically from the first part, but also because of its continuous flow and lack of electronic sounds. The part starts with the drawing of two piano-shaped birds that are eventually deconstructed into a rain of feathers. Further on, the creatures (sheep and aquatic animals) in the video appear to be trapped inside the two Disklaviers, but they are not revolting. The same things happens in real life: nevermind how cruel animals are manipulated, it does not lie in their power to complain or put an end to the mistreatment – it is our responsibility.


14 A Disklavier is a mechanically-automated piano, produced by Yamaha Corporation, which can perform independently.


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