The sound material for Phalanxes is produced completely synthetically and derived from a source material that is unique for the piece. this material consists of recorded quadraphonic output from a patch made in the voltage controlled studio at the Institute of Sonology. Subsequently this source material underwent a number of sound transformations. The piece begins with the source material and then introduces the transformations one by one, ususally with overlaps.
Whereas in Lasciar Vibrare, the source material is a group of static sound textures with contrasting timbral qualities, in Phalanxes it is a group of structures with identical timbres but with different behaviours. Regular rhythmical patterns of noise impulses are increasing and decreasing in loudness, changing speed and colour with every new envelope. By superimposing such patterns in the first part of the piece, a kind of landscape is created with very high densities of sound events. Gradually the regularity of the patterns is disturbed, and new gestures of a much more organic nature emerge.
While the first half of the piece is mostly based on sounds with a noisy character, in the second half the sounds are given a pitched character by using resonance filters. Gradually the gestures are decomposed into single, small sound events, while towards the end of the piece the regularity of the beginning is re-introduced by looping small parts of previous, irregular forms.
Phalanxes is composed for seven loudspeakers. Up to nine groups of polyphonic material are presented simultaneously. Every group of voices has a specific spatial behaviour, and moves either along a quadrant formed by the four speakers in the corners, or along a triangle formed by the speakers in the front and the two sides of the hall.
Phalanxes was commissioned by the Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst and premiered during the Ultraschall festival at the Kubus theatre in Berlin, December 2005.