David Toop - 37th Floor At Sunset: Music For Mondophreneti
  Year :   2005
  Location :   England
  Worktype :   CD
  Materials:   -
  Info :   Sub Rosa SR163

  Work Details  
  The invitation to create music for the CD-ROM installation - Mondophrenetic - came from the Belgian team of producer Rony Vissers, artist/photographer Els Opsomer and writer/theorist Herman Asselberghs. Loosely inspired by Jean-Luc Godards 1967 film, Deux ou Trois Choses que je sais delle, the installation takes Els Opsomers photographs of high rise apartment blocks, shot in many different countries, as the focal point of explorations of globalism at the end of the 20th century, the beginning of the 21st century. Creating a soundtrack for Mondophrenentic raised a number of new challenges for me. The first of these was focussed on the issue of non-linearity. Music composed for a multi-media setting such as Mondophrenetic relinquishes control. Questions as to when it is used or in what context are decisions governed in the first instance by the programmer and designers, then ultimately by the user, whoever he or she may be. Different pieces of music may appear in unforeseen juxtapositions, be disrupted, or may be heard in unpredictable visual and textual contexts as the user navigates. Such outcomes have to be accepted and, to some extent, anticipated by the composer and built into the nature of the music. The second challenge was to create a kind of soundtrack that was not so far forward to demand attention as music in its own right, yet not so far in the background to be peripheral sound design. I wanted to create atmospheres suggestive of buildings as living organisms, creatures with nervous systems, without reducing the soundtrack to a catalogue of sound effects. In his novel, Highrise, J.G. Ballard described the subtle relationship of an apartment block s nervous system to the disintegrating ecology of the mini-society of its inhabitants. Apartment blocks look much the same, whether in China or the suburbs of Paris, yet the lives within them are very different. The sounds of lift shafts, ventilation and heating systems, the murmurs of human activity, radio and television, have a universality that becomes specific only in the finest details, a moment in time at the right place, maybe through the walls of the 37th floor at sunset. I also wanted to create music that suggested globalism and the absorption of global cultures into an environment of signs, a kind of easy listening or aetherial mix that is detached from any recognisable source other than the perpetual movement of hybridised culture in the 21st century. Information is a kind of architecture, though like music, its walls are intangible. David Toop June 2000 . Accessed 12.12.06 from http://www.subrosa.net/index_fr.htm