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Baker's Dozen

Amorphous Choices: Mira Calix' Favourite Music
Jude Rogers , May 8th, 2019 12:42

Jude Rogers quizzes sound sculptor Mira Calix about her favourite albums, from MBV to Britten, Stravinsky to Laura Cannell, and PJ Harvey to the bountiful joys of the Warp back catalogue


Bernard Parmigiani – De Natura Sonorum
This is one 40-minute long piece from 1975, and it still sounds bloody extraordinary. It comes from the roots of musique concrete and electro-acoustic music, and it's all about the idea of collage and found sound. So much sound design in films comes from people like Parmigiani who were experimenting away from the 1950s. He worked under Pierre Schaefer at GRM [the pioneering French centre for musical research in sound and electroacoustic music, Groupe De Recherches Musicales] and GRM invented diffusion – the movement of sound through space. And I am obsessed with diffusion. 

I went to work at GRM a few years back in their crazy old building as I was just screaming to be there – to have the keys to the same studio where Parmigiani worked, to be making a diffusion piece in the same place fifty years on. The coffee machine made me laugh too – there was a button so you could choose between Illy and Lavazza! There was so much possibility in that space. I did a concert with Parmigiani in Paris too, in 2010. I had written a piece about the Southern Hemisphere, where I'm from, and he did the Northern.  I couldn't believe it. He died a few years ago, but what a privilege that was. It's amazing how much his music from decades ago still feels massively contemporary.