Julien Ottavi voice, computer
In August 2001, I was staying in London for the summer, playing gigs, touring around, but also joining the protests at Genoa in Italy with British militants against the 27th G8 summit.
On the 2nd of August I was invited to play at Consume, hosted by the 13th Note Café in Glasgow, to present a performance for voice and computer. Of course, it was more than 22 years ago, my memory is slightly blurry about what exactly happened that evening...
I took a Virgin train from London to Glasgow; I was already surprised, coming from France, that a private company was running the trains in the UK, rather than a public service. For me, Virgin was just a mainstream corporate music label and shop, not a transport business.
I have a vague memory of the city of Glasgow itself… I remember going to the basement of the 13th Note Café to play my concert.
The only details that are printed on my memory are that I wanted to play some very minimal sounds with my mouth, using squeaky wet borborygmes manipulated live with my laptop.
The air in the cave of the café was very dry and I didn’t manage to play those little wet sounds, my mouth found no moisture, so I had to change the composition I had imagined while starting the performance.
Listening to the recording confirms my memory of singing at the beginning of the performance, rather than producing micro-sounds with my mouth.
Interestingly, I can’t remember the rest of the performance and I am genuinely surprised to listen to the three pieces that have been recorded. During this period, I was presenting a few different live performances: voice & computer, Études aux Hertz, and Free Electronics improvisation.
Thank you Liam Stefani for releasing this material and Murray Johnston for the recording.
[Julien Ottavi March 2023]
Julien Ottavi is part of a generation of audio artists to emerge in the 1990s that indicated some of the directions that music and sound art are taking.
While at art school, he organized a series of concerts, bringing international artists from the experimental scene to Nantes, drawing touring musicians to movements happening outside of Paris, which became not just a destination but a nexus for collaborations.
This resulted, for example, in the group Formanex performing graphic scores of electro-acoustic music, and in Apo33, an artists collective to facilitate, nurture, and disseminate creative audio practice. In this way, Julien represents the energy and initiative of a present day artist – activist through practice, organizing as performance, publishing as networking, open source and open aesthetic. This fluidity of working across boundaries of style and role are seen in his music, physical with computer, performative and reflective. [Atau Tanaka]
Ottavi studied drums, percussion and photography at the School of Art in Nantes, France.
Since 1997 he has developed compositions for voice and computer and is a founder, artistic programmer, audio computer researcher and sound artist of the experimental music organisation APO33.