In a world driven by plug-ins and the computer modelling of sound the FREQue II, with its totally analogue operation and interconnection, is a breath of fresh air. (Mark Webber)
Mark Webber is an electronic artist working across genres, in sound, moving image and
performance, but specializing in projects related to electro-acoustic and
Having studied electro-acoustic music at the University of Hertfordshire he has spent the past 20 years composing in a variety of creative environments from opera and experimental theatre through to animation and even contemporary puppetry. In doing so he uses a huge variety of electronic music studio hardware and techniques, encompassing the legacy of both the analogue and digital domains.
"I am very interested in expression and an emotional engagement within electronic music, of raw sound that can move one just as any song or poem might. I'm always looking for equipment and techniques that are going to get me closer to these human considerations when making work, the DACS FREQue II is one such unit. The quality of the FREQue II ring modulation is second to none, when processing it retains all the complexities and nuances of the source materials presented to it, this is key to retaining the meaning and musicality in sound composition."
"I always struggle to describe my work but have settled on the label of symphonic musique concrète, which I think was coined by Pierre Henry, or at least is contained within some text concerning his work. I aim to make electronic music that retains the dynamic range, delicacy and power of an orchestra, and coupled with this a similar timbral complexity and therefore subsequent emotional intensity. The DACS FREQue II is a key instrument in my studio to realising these aims. In a world driven by plug-ins and the computer modelling of sound the FREQue II, with its totally analogue operation and interconnection, is a breath of fresh air. To me the FREQue II enables the creation of real sound objects rather than digitally modelled imitations, akin to why a sculptor would work in stone rather than creating work virtually with CAD software in a computer. I feel the same way about the sounds created with the FREQue II, they have an unrivalled acoustic depth and sonority that other hardwareor modelled ring modulators I've usedjust aren't capable of producing, delivering complex overtones and new sounds that seem to resound and sparkle."
Mark's eclectic back catalogue includes works such as Sunayani, a Sonic Arts Network commission, a concrète work for tape and video made entirely from the sound and visual recordings of peacocks. This piece also toured the world as part of the American Composers Forum's Sonic Circuits VII program.His 2003 Opera North commission, as part of their Resonance initiative,Four White Walls wasfor 5 voices and tape. In this case the electronic partwasmade from the studio treatment ofmodified piano and coupled with processed field recordings made across the Languedoc region of France. Mark's most recent work isThe Glass Hotel- an opera concrète, an Arts Council Lottery Funded project created with mezzo-soprano Loré Lixenberg. In this work, again for multiple voices and tape, the composition was created entirely from recordings of glass as the only sonic source material.
"Many of my projects are often realised using very unusual sound objects and sources as starting points. This audio may also be very acoustically fragile, that is to say that they have low energy gestures and detailcontained within them that I need to explore. Once again The FREQue II excels at retaining and enhancing this sonic relief, the amazing lack of bleed though means that even tiny sounds are not obliterated by the modulation source so that sounds don't end up getting lost or sounding ragged as so often happens. This is especially true when working with the human voice as I often am, the FREQue II yields a really usable, musical output. This unit has been a vast improvement compared to the ring modulators I was previously chiefly using from within a 1970s modular synthesizer."
"I've been hankering after the DACS FREQue II for a few years now and have just decided to invest in what are probably the best ring modulators currently available. My purchase was prompted by a potential project I have in the pipeline at the moment, a collaboration with a choreographer associated with English National Ballet and Saddlers Wells in celebration of the centenary of Stravinsky's revolutionary scores for the Ballets Russes. I am very excited at the prospect of electronically reworking and reinterpreting the three key works from this era for a new dance piece. Given weight and complexity of these original scores I wanted a piece of equipment that was going to be up to dealing with this material, to honour its musical vigour and subtlety. I'm also looking forward to experimenting with the harmonic movement contained within Stravinsky's works by utilizing the FREQue II's CV input, this gives external control of the on-board oscillators, so harnessing the power of the sound sculpting capabilities of the unit by interfacing with other studio devices. Ultimately great thing about ring modulation is it is sometimes unpredictable and chaotic in its very nature, the FREQue II is a very powerful processor and can yield the most outrageous and interesting sounds from seemingly average sources. It encourages the kind of experimentation and sheer thrill of creating sound that I remember when I bought my first synthesizer nearly 30 years ago."