Colliding Galaxies: Colour and Tones


In the vacuum of space no one can hear you scream. Or explode. Or sing eerily incongruous songs from the 1800s. Unless, of course, you are contained in the artificial atmosphere of a spacecraft designed for interplanetary travel. Music is a terrestrial pursuit. Even NASA’s overtonal sonic interpretations of the plasma waves at the frontier of the heliosphere exist only as conceptual renderings made possible by computer models. HAL would have enjoyed crunching those numbers.

In my interpretation of elements of both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Solaris I explore the taut psychological tension that underpins these films. These aspects are explored through the magnification of the small, claustrophobic sounds that set the tone for both Kubrick's and Tarkovsky's works.

I also play with Gen X's relationship to the 1970s and 80s take on the sound of space via gritty 8-bit video games and our cohort's pervasive attachment to retro-futurism.

Nicole Lizée CA

Called a “brilliant musical scientist” and lauded for “creating a stir with listeners for her breathless imagination and ability to capture Gen-X and beyond generation”, JUNO-nominated composer and video artist Nicole Lizée creates new work from an eclectic mix of influences including turntablism, glitch, rave culture, Hitchcock, Kubrick, and 1960s psychedelia.

Her commission list of over 50 works includes the Kronos Quartet, BBC Proms, San Francisco Symphony, National Arts Centre Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, NYC’s Kaufman Center, So Percussion, and Eve Egoyan. Her music has been performed worldwide in venues including Carnegie Hall and the Royal Albert Hall – and in festivals including the BBC Proms (UK), Roskilde (Denmark), Bang On a Can (USA), Classical:NEXT (Rotterdam), All Tomorrow’s Parties (UK), Barbican’s Sound Unbound (UK), Metropolis (Australia), Luminato (Canada), and Dark Music Days (Iceland).

Nicole was awarded the prestigious 2013 Canada Council for the Arts Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music. She is a 2016 Lucas Artists Fellow (California) and 2010 Civitella Ranieri Foundation Fellow (New York City/Italy). In 2015 she was selected by composer Howard Shore to be his protégée as part of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. Additional awards and nominations include a Prix Opus, an Images Festival Award, a Dora Mavor Moore Award in Opera, the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers’ Top 10 List, and the Canada Council Robert Fleming Prize for achievements in composition.

For more information about Nicole Lizée, click here.

Nicole Lizée