Across Systems (for Tony Conrad)

A composition by Eran Sachs and Yoav Beirach for double bass, computer and assorted sound diffusion techniques.

Across Systems is a composition for double bass and a computer playing treated field recordings and sine-tones within an environment of several different sound diffusion systems. The piece attempts to arrive at a meaningful sonic experience from the juxtaposition and interaction of acoustic phenomena with additional layers of critical and political content.

All the sounds in the piece are spectrally tuned to a specific harmonic series over a fundamental frequency of 6.875Hz.

The premiere performance, which took place as part of Tectonics Festival in Tel Aviv, employed a 2-D ambisonics system and several other modes of sound propagation. The interaction between the amplified sound and acoustic double bass was such that various sonic phenomena, like waveforms and actual pitches, were created “in the air” rather than on the level of the amplified signals. Naturally, the recording cannot capture these intricate behaviors of the sound in the space.

This notion of composite phenomena which are born during performance as a result of interaction between separate systems and depending on the actual conditions and context of the space, is taken further beyond the mere acoustic and expanded by the presence of additional frames of references: a political system imported by the field recordings, a semantic system and the historic-musicological one.

The field recordings were done in the deserted neighborhood of Qaitun, located at the heart of the occupied Palestinian city of Hebron. A deserted compound, completely sealed and barricaded by military barriers, this was once a thriving neighborhood, located near the market. Hebron is unlike any other place in the West Bank: it is the only place where a Jewish settlement (six separate ones, in fact) was established at the heart of a Palestinian city. 600 Jewish settlers in a city hosting close to 200,000 residents.
With the Jewish settlements came endless harassment. Due its proximity to the roads used by the Jewish settlers, the residents were prevented from using the roads leading to their houses. The people of Qaitun were left with no choice to leave in favor of a less troublesome location. Qaitun became completely abandoned. It currently stands, flats over flats, rooms on top of rooms, vacant and secluded.
The field recordings try to capture this absence.


Across Systems began as a study into Tony Conrad’s lectures about tuning, tuning systems and their political and philosophical history, and is deeply indebted to Tony’s remarkable ability for intellectual alchemy.

Tony Conrad's talk @ Paris London West Nile-2

Tony Conrad giving his lectures on tunings @ ParisLondonWestNile, NY, March 2008





Eran Sachs – computer and composition

Yoav Beirach – double bass and composition

Premiered on November 17, 2016 at Hateiva in Jaffa,as part of the opening event of Tectonics festival Tel Aviv, ,


Curated by Ilan Volkov

Sound Design and recording by Ronald Boersen