Floating Sound Gallery

Todor Todoroff


© Cassandre Sturbois

Todor Todoroff
Electrical Engineer with a specialization in telecommunications from the Free University of Brussels (ULB, 1987), he received a First Prize and a post-graduate diploma in Electroacoustic Composition from the Royal Conservatories of Music in Brussels (1993) and in Mons (1996). He is co-founder and president of FeBeME-BEFEM (Belgian Federation of Electroacoustic Music) and ARTeM(Art, Research, Technology & Music, in Brussels), and founding member of the Forum des Compositeurs.

First researcher in the field of speech processing at the Laboratory of Experimental Phonetics within the ULB (1987-1988), he became head of the Computer Music Research at the Polytechnic Faculty and the Royal Conservatory of Music in Mons (1992-1997),where the instruments he developed were used by composers Leo Kupper and Robert Normandeau. He collaborated on several occasions with IRCAM where his software tools were used by Joshua Fineberg, Emmanuel Nunes, Luca Francesconi, among others.
He was Belgian representative of the European COST (Cooperation in Science & Technology) actions”Digital Audio Effects” (DAFX, 1997-2001) and “Gesture Controlled Audio Systems” (CONGAS, 2003-2007).
He was researcher from 2008 to 2013 at the Numediart Institute within the University of Mons and taught from 2008 to 2015 within the digital art program at Arts, the School for the Arts in Mons.
Alongside this work, he has been developing at ARTeM since 1993 interactive systems for studio environments,concerts, sound installations and dance performances, exploring the possibilities of a wide variety of sensors, including a custom-made sensors system for violinist Stevie Wishart and the development of interactive audio-visual installations with FoAM in Brussels.
His electroacoustic music demonstrates a special interest in multichannel composition and the use of space,as well as in experimenting with new methods of interaction and sound transformation, where gesture plays an important role. He revisits the concept of the séquence-jeu (play-sequences associated with specific gestures) in the digital domain, in order to achieve a greater degree of expressivity.
In parallel to his work in fixed-medium acousmatic music, he develops gesture-controlled virtual instruments for live performances, from improvisations with musicians like Jean-Paul Dessy, Eric Sleichim and Stevie Wishart,to solo concerts, often combined with spatialization algorithms developed for the Zirkonium while in residency at ZKM, and ensemble works.In his audio-visual work « eVanescens » with video-artist Laura Colmenares Guerra, cellist Sigrid Vandenbogaerde wears custom-made sensors that allow her to transform both the acoustic sound of her instrument and the interactive video.
Passionate about creating dialogue with other art forms, he also composes music for film, video, dance, theatre, and sound installations.His long artistic collaboration with Belgian choreographer Michèle Noiret began in 1988 and has continued through 16 productions to the present day.He has also produced a series of interactive installations, often in collaboration with visual artists, including Marie-Jo Lafontaine, Fred Vaillant, Mario Benjamin, and Laura Colmenares Guerra.
He received the Prize of the Audience at the Noroit Competition (France, 91), Mentions (2002, 2005 and 2009) and a First Prize (2007) at the Bourges Competitions and was several times finalist.
Amongst others, he received commissions from the Opéra de Paris (F), Institut de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges (F), Musiques Nouvelles (B), Art Zoyd (F), Ars Musica (B), Musée des Beaux-Arts d’Angers (F), Festivaal van Vlaanderen (B) and Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM, DE).
His music is regularly programmed in international festivals.

Rupture d’équilibre / 1993, 95, 97, 10’17″
Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium

A virtual pendulum, simulated on a computer by a damped harmonic oscillator,crosses zones whose boundaries are defined interactively by the user.Each zone is programmed to trigger a sonic event which is variable in intensity, timbre and / or frequency, depending on the speed of the pendulum when it enters the zone.
The composer plays this virtual instrument with potentiometers.He modifies in real-time the mass, the stiffness constant, and the damping factor, and may also add various external disturbances. All of these forces interact and continuously modify the aspect, the speed and the amplitude of the movement, either generating pseudo-repetitive sequences or disrupting the equilibrium.
There is a sombre atmosphere, populated with little, organic-like virtual beings which resist the swinging motion and disrupt its regularity. This matter offers itself up for periodic transformation and distortion, colours are revealed and recombine, chimeras emerge from the nothingness and invite us to follow their hypnotic oscillation…
Disappearance, appearance, proliferation. Moans can be heard… are they calls? Responses? Is collapse inevitable? Is there something which could slow it down or stop it? Accident or destiny, uncertainty reigns as absolute master. There is no point in resisting…

Matières / 2003, 9’50″
Instrumentation: stereo fixed medium
Commission: Centre culturel du Brabant wallon (CCBW)

For Matières [Materials],composed for the publication Le corps de l’espace, les nouveaux matériaux dans l’architecture depuis 1850 [The Body in Space: New Materials in Architecture Since 1850]by the Centre culturel du Brabant wallon in 2003, I not only wanted to render audible materials used in architecture, but to put the focus primarily on the individuals who inhabit or move through these sites. I therefore decided to allow the gesture of the individual to speak for itself:brushing against a surface; caressing, rubbing, or striking it;taking an object and letting it fall, slide or making it roll through a space…
It seemed essential to me to return to the sources of musique concrète and to keep the sonic characteristics of the materials and of the spaces in which they resonate untouched. The recordings were therefore made on analog magnetic tape and no effects or processing techniques were used other than slowing down or speeding up the play rate and reversing playback direction.All reverberations were naturally-occuring.
In the course of editing and mixing, however, I tried to avoid anecdotal references (no sounds of footsteps nor creaking or slaming doors) in order to concentrate on the sound morphologies and energies revealed by different gestures, as well as on reverberation lengths, changes of acoustical space and contrasts between close and distant sounds. Chimeric spaces were thus created, where gestures dialogue with materials.

Beyond the Divide
(video by Laura Colmenares Guerra)

Those water leaks remember their old paths. Every drop that falls begins a track and ends up in the same well. Is there autonomy in the quest for truth?
…She believed fate belonged to her, but she cannot help submerging in those labyrinths as they continue to darken.
Beyond the Divide forces the spectator through a visceral state of mind, as if climbing a steep cliff of the human psyche.
Beyond the Divide is a collaboration between video artist Laura Colmenares Guerra and composer Todor Todoroff, a video conceived after the electroacoustic work Dédales.

Featuring: Anonymous and Valeria Garre.

Voices Part II: Distant Voices / 1999, 11’43″
is a very personal work. It sometimes seems to me that one of the reasons I came to pursue electroacoustic music can be traced back to a childhood experience. Around the age of seven, I began to build small radios out of a handful of components. These radios did not include amplifiers and their weak signals could only be heard through a small, crystal earphone. I spent many hours listening closely to these radios in the silent night. As their selectivity was very approximate, I usually captured two or three radio stations simultaneously, often in foreign languages. The focus of my listening shifted alternately from one to the other, according to which words caught my attention.
I was fascinated by these unknown voices, far away and mysterious, but also by the coincidences which appeared from time to time between these signals, coming from transmitters likely situated thousands of cilometers apart. It was as if these voices, speaking different languages and not able to hear each other, were nonetheless replying to each other.
I wanted to recreate an imaginary sonic world which would evoke the sensation of infinite spaces, weightlessness, communication, familiarity and mystery which I felt at that time. It appeared obvious to include recordings of voices heard through telephones, which seemed the perfect metaphor for this paradoxical situation combining distance with proximity.

Space in this piece is illuminated by voices serving as points of light: points which appear, flicker, slip away, and fade out, like stars in a night which is rhythmically defined by the sound of beeps, peppered with high-pitched frequency glissandi, and modulated by slow variations of timbre and amplitude.

Voices Part II – Distant Voices was realized in 1999 at the studios of the Institut international de musique électroacoustique de Bourges (IMEB, France) and was premiered on June 13, 2000 in the context of the Synthèse festival in Bourges. It was commissioned by the IMEB. Thank you to Birgitte Odgaard Nielsen whose voice is the main voice heard. In 2002, the piece was included on the CD Éclats, musique contemporaine (WBM 139).