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I very much admire the way you incorporate techno influences into your work - it is with great subtlety, and there is such a fluidity of
movement across boundaries of style, that conveys that ~all~ the sounds around us are music.
Is there a particular style of techno / drum'n'bass / hip-hop, or a
particular group that you like? I guess that when it comes to
incorporating techno into ea music it is also a question of what sort of music will work with the electroacoustic sounds, and whether you want things to blend or jump-cut.

I really don't know what I'm doing when it comes to combining genres... which is a good thing. I know that I won't write a classic electroacoustic or techno piece, but that's not what interests me these days anyhow, 'pure' anything. I listen to all kinds of music, as much as possible: the radio in the car, in the kitchen, web radio, dj friends, clubs/parties, etc. I get inspired by anything that is exciting. It can be 3 sine waves, or a dense soop of noise, as long as it's _alive_. We are really blessed here in Montreal, as there are 4 community radio stations, and I can almost always hear something interesting on air. I like fast, hard jungle, like the British stuff (Optical, )EIB(, Dillinja, Dom and Roland, Total Science); IDM/glitch/anything-else-that-fits-that-label, like Autechre (studio more than live), Oval, Ikeda, Pole, Pan Sonic Plastikman; and of course more Brits, like Amon Tobin, Luke Vibert, Luke Slater, Photek, Lamb.

Electroacoustic sounds can and should be any sound really, so the question is not so much what to combine, but rather what to leave out. Often, the problems are more technical than poetic. If you have a really heavy, in-your-face techno beat, chances are there's not much room in
the frequency spectrum for anything else, certainly not something subtle. So then it's a question of filtering the beat to make room for other sounds. I've been using electroacoustic soundscapes as bridges to beat sections - or beat sections as lead-ups to electroacoustic spaces... I see people like Matmos doing that, and I think it's great. They use electroacoustics as a way to create scenes, near-narrative contexts for their rhythmic tracks. I mean it's really nothing new. Many rock records I used to listen to as a teenager had field recordings or little montages that preceded a given song.

InTensify(Algeria) is a work composed from electroacoustically processed world-music soundscapes, featuring the voice of Isabelle Rajotte. This version is a remix of the original, which was created for the choreographer Ireni Stamou.

Ned Bouhalassa's website includes a page of samples which have formed the source material for some of his works.

What software and/or hardware do you use?
I gather you're Mac-based, are you using OS X at all?

I use Logic Audio and the AudioWerk card on a G3 desktop. As for operating systems, I prefer those that finish with a ".5 or .6"! By the time they get to that point, they usually have worked out a few bugs... I'm running 8.6 presently. I love VST plug-ins, especially Pluggo, and I've recently started using EXS24 (Emagic's soft-sampler). The latest, greatest toy in my collection is the new version of Absynth.

How you find working as an intuitive composer with programs like SuperCollider and granular synthesis apps that often require pretty
intensive programming? Are there ways in which you balance these
two seemingly opposite approaches?

Since the early days of using a university studio, I have had a
two-birds-with-one-stone approach to learning/programming software/synth patches: as I explore a new tool, I try to 'compose' gestures that I can later incorporate in a piece. That way, I don't feel like I'm 'wasting' precious composing time. Anyhow, there's no better way to judge the pertinence of a given program than by trying to make music with it right
off the bat.

Technically, are there particular approaches or applications that you
find helpful to acheive this? You already mentioned reverb, which I
would assume helps a lot in the spatialisation and dynamic movement of
sound. Are there any particular applications or techniques that help
you to put a sound under the microscope?

This might seem obvious, but one technique is to use EQ as a microscope. Use the peak filter setting, make a sharp bell, crank up the gain on the cutoff point and sweep around the frequency spectrum. This will allow you to 'zoom' in on the sound and find its significant frequency characteristics or formants. You can then decide if you want to highlite or hide the later. One can do so much with EQ alone.

Again it strikes me that its the movement, the dynamics of the transitions between beats and electroacoustics that inspires you... Sometimes I've noticed that the forms you use are quite cinematic, not only with the jump cuts from acousmatics to techno, but in the way you set a scene.
I'm aware that you also compose film music, I wondered if you'd like to say a little bit about your current project?

These days, I'm starting work on the soundtrack for a feature film called Jack and Ella (http://www.jackandella.com). I've been given carte-blanche for one of the rare times in my soundtrack career. The music will be a blend of film score, techno and electroacoustics (surprise, surprise!). It's a wonderful story, full of meaningful dialogue, superbly acted, well shot, etc. The director is my girlfriend, and we both work at home, so it should be an interesting experience!

I also just got a Canada Council grant to compose a new 30-minute acousmatic work based on the morphing of sounds, the Berlin zoo, and the myths of Orpheus and Morpheus. I hope to travel to Berlin to record animals and people in the zoo, and to San Francisco, where I will use some of Sound Traffic Control's resources for resynthesis.


Two excerpts from Ned's music for the film 'Jack and Ella':
Jack and Ella Running

Many thanks, Ned, and we wish you both all the very best with the forthcoming release of Jack and Ella.


Ned Bouhalassa's album "Aerosol" is available from empreintes DIGITALes:

Jack and Ella, a film by Brenda Keesal, featuring music by
Ned Bouhalassa, will be completed in Summer 2001.
Look out for further news on Mstation's nnnews pages.

Visit Ned Bouhalassa's website at http://www.nedfx.com

Photographs by Brenda Keesal - some enhanced by Luc Beauchemin.

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