I composed the music for a dance piece about the digital side of our everyday life

Playing chilled beats at the “Dernière” at Grosse Halle, Bern – Photo: Katha Eitel

In march 2022 i was part of a production with Öff Öff. A contemporary dance piece called “Separate Reality” for which i wrote the music. A piece by Alexa von Wehren. The dancers are Jack Wignall, Flurin Kappenberger, Sandra Klimek & Catherine Jaeger, Video by Tae Peter, Light by Raphael Vuilleumier.

When most people think of electronic music, they likely think of dance music- the kind that is designed to get people on the dance floor. But electronic music can be used for so much more than just getting people up and moving. It can be used to create moods and evoke emotions, just like any other type of music. In this post, I’ll talk about how I composed a piece of electronic music specifically for use in a modern dance piece.

When you’re creating a dance piece, the music you choose is just as important as the choreography. The right music can help set the mood and convey the emotions of the dancers.

The cue sheet that only i can read

Alexa von Wehren’s new piece, “Separate Reality”, is about the digital side of our everyday life. In it she explores what happens when we can’t disconnect from screens and how this has impacted society in general as well as those who are trying to live without a constant connection. As the dancers demonstrated, life is difficult when you have to balance between two realities. They showed their struggles by expressive movements that highlighted each person’s unique experience in this thin and slippery wire with an audience watching them closely for any mistakes.

Most of the music for “Separate Reality” has been composed between 2009 – 2021. Alexa chose from an extensive catalog I gave her, choosing pieces that would best represent her vision and style as well as show off some tracks that i composed especially for “Separate Reality”.

Four screens perform a ballet. Foto: www.andremaurer.ch

In one part of the piece, I have taken the beginning from 1st Piano Sonata by Beethoven and rearranged it with heavy beat. The dancers use their mobile phones as light sources while they dance to this new arrangement that is created using the Make Noise Morphagene Eurorack Module recording techniques before being morphed into the original score for piano coloring within emotional boundaries set forth in this classical masterpiece. The sounds of an atmospheric soundscape a cymbal driven beat and a synth melody based loosely on the first two bars of Beethovens Sonata in F minor merging slowly into the real piano recording somehow creates this sense that there are two realities collapsing together.

The dancers’ phones were an excellent light source for this part of the piece. They used the torches of their mobile devices to create patterns as they moved around, merging with other dancers on stage and creating a whimsical environment that was both calming, frightening and exciting at once. Then four different colors come to life on the screens as they perform a ballet for your viewing pleasure.

The experience of working on this project has been nothing short of amazing. I’ve loved getting lost in the music and then finding myself again, creating with abandon for a few hours before collapsing into bed completely exhausted but feeling exhilarated and satisfied. The team has been great to work with, and I think we’ve created something truly unique and special. If you haven’t already, please take a listen to the playlist – I hope it gives you as much joy as it has given me.

Raphael Vuilleumier (front) and me on the set. Foto: www.andremaurer.ch