Jean-Claude Eloy was born in 1938. After studying composition in Darius Milhaud's class at the Paris Conservatory, he attended Pierre Boulez' classes in Basel, Switzerland. Attracted to Far-Eastern civilizations he has stayed several times in Japan. In his purely instrumental works, he was able to set a contrast of sound colors while maintaining a rigorous structure. He confronted different instruments such as percussions, woods and the electric guitar, for instance, and did not escape the influences of the Japanese gagaku or the Hindu raga. Today, he is into computers.
lssy les Moulineaux. UPIC stands for "Unité polyagogique informatique du CEMAMU" (*) (a center created by Xenakis). Jean-Claude Eloy is holding an electric pen and is drawing; a television screen displays the sound graphics, provided to the computer. Sounds are born. He gathers. He selects. New writing.
(*) "CEMAMU computer polyagogic unit" (CEMAMU: Center for research on Mathematical and Automated Music).
"It is a new machine
to me. An uncharted territory. I tested computers only once in Stanford
in 1967 with John Chowning. I have been working here once a week for the
past few months. Without my being aware of it, a conception and writing
experience is emerging again. Even in the most amnesic episodes, the personality
comes back. It had been ten years since I moved away from "dots on
a line" music, from notes... Analyses on Asian music (71 sonograms)
had shown me the richness of gliding variation (voice of Hindu Daggar).
Inside a more or less held sound, I could feel the more or less variable
vibrato, a difference in degree, movement amplitude, and was leaning towards
a type of music in which the glissando is important again (during Boulez'
classes in Basel, the "glissando" was forbidden fruit!). The
possibilities of pen drawing on an electric table fit what I am looking
for today. I tend to feed on variable "mass slides". The UPIC,
combined with the logic of my desires, my evolution, has brought me to
elements that were Xenakis' (sound clouds) in relation with my recent
work for orchestra (Fluctuante-Immuable). I revived that old childhood
desire: I was the visual kind. When I practiced my piano between the age
of 11 and 13, I would put a postcard in front of the lamp. Paul Klee's
magic fish lingered for a long time: elements scattered through space,
weightless beings. I was dreaming of chords that would have such an attractive
force that they would cancel one another. I tried to find a melodic line
corresponding to volumes and flat expanses (mountain image). Under the
melody hugging the sky, large vertical blocks were there in lieu of trees.
With the UPIC, these childhood dreams become possible. The layout of the
landscape is only a sub-layout. The drawing you see can resonate in a
thousand different ways. The version changes according to the composition
used over it"