Fantasia On A Single Number

Fantasia On A Single Number (pronounced: /fantazía/) is an open composition that takes its final form through live performance. ‘Fantasia’ was the most open to improvisation classical music form. Described by Renaissance composer Luis de Milán in the 16th century as an instrumental composition whose form and invention spring ‘solely from the fantasy and skill of the author who created it’, the form developed considerably in the following centuries, varying widely from free, improvisatory types to much stricter contrapuntal forms, while always remaining highly virtuosic.

This piece aims to reclaim the idea of virtuosic performance of electronic music, recontextualizing the long tradition of virtuosic composed improvisation that has been pushed away from the western music tradition.

Fantasia On A Single Number is composed for a live-electronics instrument; the instrument is designed as a complex dynamical sonic system whose raw power the performer guides into states of equilibrium, oscillation, chaotic behavior, noise and silence to create an immersive sonic experience that fluctuates between varying degrees of tension and release. The piece and the instrument are based on digital feedback, set in motion by one single number which draws from the guts of the machine an intense visceral stream of bursts, rhythms, turbulence, drones and resonances. No other sound sources are used but real-time manipulation of the number’s path within a synthetic space, revealing its emergent beauty as it populates a constantly shifting digital universe.

The piece is part of the suite Primeval Sonic Atoms, a project that aims to merge vocabularies and approaches from different, often seemingly clashing, realms of electronic music: noise and no-input music with electroacoustic composition with vibrant underground tekno.

Year: 2009
Type: Performance, composition
Instrumentation: for digital feedback
Duration: 22′-27′
Materials/Media: Sound, speakers
Software: SuperCollider
Publication: Released by inkilino records in 2016, in Stelios Manousakis: Primeval Sonic Atoms


Stelios Manousakis: Composition, studio performance, programming
From a performance at the Chapel Performance Space, Seattle, December 2009




L' Hypothèse de l' Atome Primitif Sonore, by Stelios Manousakis: Instrument Diagram
L’ Hypothèse de l’ Atome Primitif Sonore, by Stelios Manousakis: Instrument Diagram