After my double bass mentor Thierry Barbé introduced me to his concept of "alto double bass", an imaginary instrument whose role was to fill the gap between the velocity of the cello and the depth of the double bass, I explored this imaginary instrument by experimenting with tunings in fifths and various settings through my previous albums Baroque Tardif and Télévision. For Ritournelles & Mosaïques, I continued this research by studying the influence of string types, bows, tailpieces, microphones, and recording techniques on the timbre of my instrument. The pieces Quatre Fromages and Gold illustrate quite well this new sound, thinner, lighter, and softer in comparison to the usual sound of a double bass played arco. In parallel, I undertook the tedious work of compiling audio sample libraries of my instruments in order to create acoustic pieces that would be completely impossible to play live. Printemps Permanent and Téléphone are perfect examples of this type of productions entirely made of samples.
Automating my creative processes and fostering a playful approach to composition was also one of the concerns and research in the making of Ritournelles & Mosaïques. After making many hand-made audiovisual pieces for my previous album Télévision, the need to work in a more flexible and playful environment became obvious and necessary. Working meticulously by hand in video editing software, as in the making of the piece Melody From Mars, was not only laborious but also extremely rigid: a simple change of tempo or audiovisual material required starting the whole editing process from the beginning. Therefore, I developed an automated environment for playful audiovisual creation in the Ableton Live, Max For Live, and Jitter programs, which allows you to create music and images while observing the results in real time.
In 2020, when we all got locked in, I had drafts for about 50 pieces and it was obvious that there was too much material to fill a single album. After trying different combinations and consulting with my friends and colleagues at Princeton University, I decided to create two albums based on the level of attention each piece received. Thus, on the one hand, the relatively simple, instrumental pieces of Ritournelles can be listened to in the manner of Erik Satie's "furniture music" in the background, while the stranger, audiovisual pieces of Mosaïques require more attention and constitute an audiovisual approach to music concrete in continuation of the work of Pierre Schaeffer.
The first side of this double album is called Ritournelles.
It is available as a CD, digital formats on Bandcamp, as well as on all digital streaming platforms.
Ritournelles is an instrumental album using many double basses, cellos, guitars, various other string instruments, percussion, and wordless voices. Ritournelles is an attempt at blending electronics with acoustic instruments by using simultaneously sample libraries of my instruments with instruments played and recorded live.
The second side of this double album is called Mosaïques.
It is available as a digital album only on Bandcamp, all digital streaming platforms, and the videos will be gradually available on Bandcamp and on my Youtube channel.
Mosaïques uses audiovisual samples in a sort of "audiovisual musique concrete". On this side of the album, there are samples of trains, animals, tennis players, weather reports, and speech.
On October 17th 2022, a limited-edition vinyl LP will be released under the title Ritournelles & Mosaïques and will include pieces from both sides in a sort of "best of" the two albums, gluing together the entire album.
Composition, performance, programming, recording, mixing, and videos by Florent Ghys
Mastering by Jessica Thompson
Artwork by Nathalie Berger
Design by Sophie Chauvin
Executive producers: Michael Gordon. David Lang, Kenny Savelson and Julia Wolfe
Label Manager: Bill Murphy
Sales & licensing: Adam Cuthbert
Label assistant: Aeryn Santillan
double basses, cello, violin, bass viol, classical guitar, folk guitar, baritone guitar, mandolin, electric bass, sarangi, sitar, voices, whistling, party blower, kazoo, mbira, flowers pots, vacuum cleaner, turntable, moka pot, frying pan, trains, tennis players, cows, sheep, weather reports, telephone
Voices by: François Cha, Hannah Collins, Florent Ghys, Rosie K, Pascal Le Boeuf, Molly Netter, Anna Pidgorna, Élodie Rousseau
Thanks to: Aline Brunet, Claudio Cavallari, Donnacha Dennehy, Bernard Ghys, Pascal Le Boeuf, Molly Herron, James Moore, Eleonore Oppenheim, Anna Pidgorna, Frédéric Roumagne, Jeff Snyder, Dan Trueman, Dmitri Tymoczko