Based on 1954 recordings of a Nicolas Schöffer‘s sculpture, this music was elaborated in Pierre Henry‘s first private studio APSOM, active around 1954-58, while Henry was still a member of Pierre Schaeffer’s Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète. The music was intended as the soundtrack to the first Tour Spatiodynamique Cybernétique et Sonore, a cybernetic sculpture erected by Nicolas Schöffer in Saint Cloud, France during the 1955 ‘Salon du Bâtiment et des Travaux Publics’ fair, with technical help from a Philips Company engineer, Pierre Bureau. Metallic parts, mirrors, lighting and sounds emanating from the 50 meters high building interacted with the environment and visitors. Another Tower was installed in Liège, Belgium in 1961, with music provided by Henry Pousseur (the 2 pictures above show the Liège Tower). Information in French on the various Towers is availalbe here, and a sound excerpt is available here.
The present Spationdynamisme 7” was pressed by Philips to accompany the book ‘Nicolas Schöffer”, published by Editions du Griffon, Switzerland, 1963. Only a fraction of these recordings was reissued in the 3xCD set titled ‘Des Années 50’ (Mantra, France), with a mere 8mn46 excerpt. Using his usual technique at the time, Henry recorded various grating and scraping sounds from the metallic scultpure and reconfigured it to create the musique concrète of Spatiodynamisme. The A-side comes without much sound treatment except montage and collage, though some of Pierre Henry’s trademark sound effects are gradually added near the end of side 1, like backward running tape around 8:00 and quick reverb. Henry’s reference at the time was Luigi Russolo‘s L’arte dei Rumori, i.e. to make music with Modern Life’s sounds, especially the machines, however unpleasant to the ears. Technically speaking a ‘dub’, the B-side has more sound treatment and added bass sounds – a delight if your stereo system has the appropriate grunt in this department.
Pierre Henry ‘Spatiodynamisme’
01 Spatiodynamisme I (10:00)
02 Spatiodynamisme II (9:45)
Total time 19:45
7” single released with the ‘Nicolas Schöffer’ book, Editions du Griffon, Neuchâtel, Switzerland, 1963