Pulsations by Swiss sound artiste Marcel Zaes uses sine wave as the basic element

Swiss sound artiste Marcel Zaes’s new work uses pulse in complex compositions 

Ayesha Tabassum Published :  22nd June 2018 06:00 AM   |   Published :   |  22nd June 2018 06:00 AM

Marcel Zaes

For Marcel Zaes, the sine wave (a mathematical curve that describes a smooth periodic oscillation) holds a special place in his experiments. One might mistake Marcel to be a mathematician or a physicist considering the importance he gives to the sine wave. But for the Swiss sound artiste, composer and performer, the wave has offered opportunities to think of digital sounds beyond the ordinary. 

Marcel, who is an awardee of the Pro Helvetia Studio Residency 2018, brings to Bengaluru his newest experiment, Pulsations — a solo performance with digital sound, trash speakers and video, next weekend. A conglomerate of software tools is assembled into a larger performative array to create pulsations. “I use software to produce pulses that are slightly off, slightly out of time, and juxtapose several of them to create fascinating yet shifting patterns that appear to be much more complex than just a single pulse,” explains Marcel, adding, “While a simple, single metronome would be quite boring, as soon as some shifting, and layering is added, the pulse turns into a complex array of pulsations, which suddenly appears to be interesting enough to listen to. This is how I turn pulse into music.”

Another highlight of the upcoming performance is how Marcel is using a pair of old speakers that he found in the trash. The half-broken speakers that still sort of work help in creating fragile, shaky, instable sounds that are enriched with noise. 

Marcel explains how when complex sounds are reduced to their basic component, it’s only the sine wave that remains. “This is nothing but physics. Physics tells us that the sine wave is the simplest sound possible. It rarely exists in nature, but is producible with electric and electronic means,” he concludes.

Entry free. June 28, 6.30 pm. At Swissnex, Rest House Road