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“Metastability” by Ben Carey

Metastability was composed & performed on the 1975 La Trobe Serge ‘Paperface’, a colossal modular synthesiser designed by Serge Tcherepnin, currently housed at the Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS), Naarm/Melbourne, Australia. The fruits of two residencies at MESS in 2019 & 2021, Metastability explores some of the vast sonic terrain of this unique machine across its five tracks. The instrument was commissioned for the La Trobe University Music Department in the mid-1970s by composer Warren Burt & has since been restored by renowned Serge expert Ken Stone. Affectionately dubbed a ‘Paperface’ system due to the characteristic paper graphics used on its front panels, the La Trobe Serge is one of three instruments designed by Tcherepnin to make its way to Australia during this period.

The La Trobe Serge is a beautiful, complex instrument. At the core of Tcherepnin’s design philosophy is the concept of ‘patch programmability’, where low-level functions of the instrument are made available to the musician. This design approach pushes the performer to define & re-define the scope of the instrument’s architecture as part of the compositional process. In my encounters with the Serge, I experience the… afficher plus
paru le 26 juin 2023

1975 La Trobe Serge ‘Paperface’ (MESS Ltd Collection)
73-75 ‘Homebuilt’ Panels
1968 AKAI 1710W Reel to Reel Tape Machine
Marantz CP430 Cassette Recorder
NF Audio SPR-20 Stereo Spring Reverb
DIY Plate Reverb

Apparent Equilibrium:
1975 La Trobe Serge ‘Paperface’ (MESS Ltd Collection)
Random*Source Touch Activated Keyboard Sequencer
Landscape Stereofield + O/O Touchpads
Max/Mira/IRCAM SPAT (live mixing/ spatialisation & binaural rendering)

Composed, performed & mixed by
Ben Carey at MESS (Naarm/Melbourne) & Neutral Bay (Eora/Sydney), 2019-2022

Mastered & cut by Kassian Troyer, D&M, Berlin, October 2022
Photography by Kristoffer Paulsen
Design by WBYK

Thank you: Serge Tcherepnin for the inspirational designs. Robin Fox, Byron Scullin, Kate Antonas, Lauren Squire, Jonnine Nokes & the entire MESS team for the generous support. Mat Watson for the support & friendship during my MESS residencies in 2019 & 2021. Warren Burt for commissioning this instrument. Ken Stone for the custodianship & deep connection to the Serge. David Chesworth for the inspirational early explorations of this instrument. Thanks to Matt McGuigan for the continued support of my work.

This creative research project was made possible through funding support from The University of Sydney, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, & the Australia Council for the Arts.