Portraits GRM / France / 2022
Living Torch, through its unique structural form and harmonic material, is a bold continuation of Kali Malone’s demanding and exciting body of work, while opening new perspectives and increasing the emotional potential of the music tenfold. As such, Living Torch is a major new piece by the composer and adds a significant milestone to an already fascinating repertoire.
Departing from the pipe organ that Malone’s music is most notable for, Living Torch features a complex electroacoustic ensemble. Leafing through recordings from conventional instruments like the trombone and bass clarinet to more experimental machines like the boîte à bourdon, passing through sinewave generators and Éliane Radigue’s ARP 2500 synthesizer. Living Torch weaves its own history, its own genealogy, and that of its author. It extends her robust structural approach to a liberated palette of timbre.
Living Torch was initially commissioned by GRM for its legendary loudspeaker orchestra, the Acousmonium, and premiered in its complete multichannel form at the Grand Auditorium of Radio France in a concert entirely dedicated to the artist.
Composed at GRM studios in Paris between 2020-2021, Living Torch is a work of great intensity, an oeuvre-monde that is singularly placed at the crossroads of instrumental writing and electroacoustic composition. Living Torch proceeds from multiple lineages, including early modern music, American minimalism, and musique concrète. It’s a work as much turned towards exploring justly tuned harmony and canonic structures as towards the polyphony of unique timbres, the scaling of dynamic range, and the revelation of sound qualities.
GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales), the pioneering institution of electroacoustic, acousmatic, and musique concrète, has been a unique laboratory for sonorous research since 1958. Witnessing the extreme vitality of the music championed by GRM, the Portraits GRM record series extends and expands this momentum with Kali Malone’s Living Torch.