Mombachoharp, guitar, cimbalom, double bass and electronics
2019réalisation informatique musicale: Monica Gil Giraldocommissioned by CIRM, National Center for Creation of Music (Nice, France) for the 2019 MANCA festival
work done in the studios of CIRM
premiered by Ensemble C. Barré
Located in Granada, Nicaragua, the Mombacho is an active volcano with a tropical rainforest on its summit. When I lived near the volcano, I would frequently hike in the rainforest, and became fascinated by the volcano’s rich sonic ecosystem. Thousands of different species of insects, birds, reptiles, and other animals that inhabit the rainforest create complex overlapping sounds that mix with the natural soundscape of the weather, the trees, and even the human inhabitants of the Mombacho.
This piece was inspired by this beautiful sound world. It is an exploration of the cyclical, diurnal, and seasonal changes of the rainforest’s sonic ecosystem. The quartet plays a variety of textures that continuously evolve through a slow microtonal harmonic progression, while each instrument is amplified and spatialized around the audience using a surround-sound ambisonic speaker setup. The audience is immersed in the ensemble’s sound while it constantly moves, evolves and interacts in the space around them.
To complement the instrumental sound of the quartet, and to add an additional element of unfamiliarity, an electronic tape part is synchronized with the instrumentalists and also spatialized around the audience. Most of the tape part was produced by recording household objects, and processing them with various studio techniques, and occasionally with a Buchla modular synthesizer. The goal was to create en electronic part that sounds as natural and organic as possible, that blends with the plucked strings of the ensemble, while complementing the quartet’s timbral palette.