Luca Francesconi told me once that he forbids his students from beginning a piece for tape with a slow crescendo starting from nothing. This quote is originally from a discussion about composition models and how certain compositional strategies have become clichéd. It's certainly not about rules and prohibitions of this kind, but it is true that music genres also carry their own clichés around with them.
In live electronics, too, more specifically in the live transformation of sound, there are traditional strategies. Instrumental sound is exposed and gradually expanded using live electronics, that is they become condensed (for example by delay and self-overlay), or get microscoped. This creates complex, often deliberately unpredictable situations. Musicians respond to the resulting sound. This method, however, can also become a cliché itself: that of sound multiplication.
In “cocoon”, live electronics does not function to expand or condense instrumental sound. Instead, there is a principle of systematic structural involvement of transformations in the development of the material. This material consists of very simple musical elements (single notes, chords, noise-like actions, pulsating events) that are associated with a particular type of transformation just as articulation is part of a sound that is being produced. Thanks to the low dynamics of the string quartet, the different elements are predominantly mediated by the live electronics.
These elements enter into a relationship to one another via a musical discourse and the type of relationship (for instance, same or different) is made clear by the use of live electronics, that is to say: analytically orchestrated. As a result, each single tone is sometimes transformed by a different live electronic circuit. Beyond this, there are phases, in which several different transformations articulate the same tone in a different way and produce a kind of polyphony in addition to what the instruments are playing
2 violins, viola, violoncello
Macintosh computer, MAX/msp (cycling74)