Synth Jam In An Abandoned Castle

This video, via Fact, captures a live modular performance by Hélène Vogelsinger, in an abandoned French castle.

Vogelsinger works by exploring abandoned places and recording their sounds. Then she creates compositions based on the location recordings. Finally, she returns and creates a live performance video.

Here’s the background on this particular performance:

Prior to this episode of Patch Notes, Vogelsinger went on a 800km trip to visit an abandoned cloister, where she took pictures, videos and recorded soundscapes. She then came back to her studio and started to create the musical foundations based on what she experienced during that day. “I always compose my main sequences and record the vocals and instruments upstream,” she says. “It is the first phase of creation.”

A few weeks later, Vogelsinger returned to record the finished piece, but the building wasn’t accessible. But on her way back home, in the south of France, she came across an abandoned castle, “an improbable apparition”, in the middle of an industrial zone. “With Chalisk, who films all my sessions, we were amazed and shocked at the same time,” she says. “We were amazed by this place’s aura and energy and shocked by the way it has been ransacked.”

Although the piece wasn’t recorded for the space, the castle’s own history (the family who lived there helped refugees who fled war) and aura made it suitable for the session.

“The installation and the recording session are always a process within the process, which takes a few hours. Technically it requires a good organisation: three modular cases and hundred of cables, a generator, a camera, lights and again so many cables,” she says. “It is something really intense, especially in those types of abandoned places, where you have to avoid a lot of obstacles.”

14 thoughts on “Synth Jam In An Abandoned Castle

    1. Not sure how this was done, but there are inexpensive ‘steadicam’ type devices for mobile phones that let you do this sort of stabilized shot. iPhones can do 4K video, so paired with a stabilizer, they can do some pretty professional looking video.

  1. Found the music rather fresh in its combination of tropes from different eras. Pretty subtle, as a through-composed piece being jammed.
    It does feel like Chalisk’s gimbal setup is pretty effective. We can see him in the mirror on occasion.

    Wonder how much of the room has been rearranged. The books and typewriter are like mis-en-scène the way most electronic music Youtubers put plants in their shots.

    Strange that Fact made a typo in Vogelsinger’s last name, in the credit.

      1. I’m not familiar with modular synths, would you mind saying what some of the modules she is using are? In general, and the ones that can play samples. Thanks!

  2. I like it up to a point…half way through it got boring…same pattern repeated over and over again gets boring eventually assuming that one is not indulging in recreational substance abuse.
    And as someone else has said, where does the choir come from? Guessing that it’s added in post-production, which if so is cheating.
    But she is certainly easier on the eye than your usual modular synthesis freak.

    1. ” indulging in recreational substance abuse”

      My intuition tells me that this demographic comprises a large part of the fanbase of said music. Although, I’d probably drop the “recreational” part in many instances. Yes, I know…I’m closed-minded, yada-yada-yada, etc…

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