Molécule

Electronic music producer Romain Delahaye (aka Molécule) specialises in music created entirely in-situ. Behind this quest lies a clear and challenging goal: to take electronic music into a new sound dimension. All the sounds on his latest album, -22.7° C, were recorded during a five-week stay in a small fishing village in Greenland. Now he has taken on the technical challenge of transposing the sounds of these harsh environments to live mix concerts.

For the audience, it might mean presenting the show in an igloo at temperatures below zero to recreate the album’s recording conditions, or else in complete darkness to sharpen their sense of hearing. On the technical side, he has adopted L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology to play his work in detail – and fully spatialised.

Romain Delahaye (foreground) and Hervé Déjardin‘Being a pioneer is demanding,’ he says. ‘Not only does it require a great deal of time and involvement, it means working with reliable partners who are willing to listen.’

Delahaye found this reliable partner in Hervé Déjardin, a sound engineer working at Radio France, specialised in immersive audio. In short, a man of experience. It was Déjardin who guided the producer in his quest for a solution that could meet his demands, and who introduced him to L-ISA.

Romain Delahaye shares this pioneering spirit with L-Acoustics, an audio innovator since it was founded in 1984. According to the artist, the teams from L-Acoustics L-ISA Labs provided invaluable assistance in resolving the long list of technical challenges raised by his ambitious undertaking. 

It was through Guillaume Le Nost, L-ISA R&D Director, that Déjardin and Delahaye discovered what L-ISA could bring to the immersive aspect of the Parisian DJ’s live shows. Following their initial exchanges, Déjardin and Delahaye went to L-Acoustics headquarters in Marcoussis, for a period of pre-production. They tested the multiple creative possibilities afforded by L-ISA spatialisation and object-based mixing within the L-ISA Controller which proved to be easy to use. 

In spatialising music for the set, Molécule went beyond simply adjusting the balance of various sources; he relied on Déjardin’s skills to create the snapshots and automation needed to produce the show’s recurring movements, and using L-ISA to fire random sound movements.

The fruit of this immersive exploration was brought to the audience at Molécule’s first live mix using L-ISA at the Rex Club, a landmark of the Parisian electronic music scene. With a nearly 30-year legacy in techno, club embraces new perspectives and was an ideal stage for Molécule to premiere his immersive live mix. 

L-Acoustics Certified Provider Melpomen also worked closely with the Radio France teams on this operation. Representing the installation’s centrepiece, the L-ISA Processor can channel up to 96 inputs to 64 outputs. Thanks to an 11.1 immersive configuration of Syva colinear speakers, the production team was able to provide uniform  coverage and ultra-precise spatialisation. The 140° vertical directivity of the Syva speakers was an obvious asset for the deployment of L-ISA in a relatively confined space. Very prevalent in Molécule’s compositions, the bass frequencies were reproduced via two Syva Low speakers, and the infrabass frequencies via four KS28 subwoofers positioned throughout the venue. The entire Syva system was amplified via LA4X amplified controllers; with the KS28 subwoofers powered by an LA12X.

MoléculeThis allowed Delahaye and Déjardin to reproduce the sound dynamics present on 22.7° C. The optimal listening area created with L-ISA allowed the artists to dispense with stage monitors since the duo positioned themselves in the middle of the audience so that they too could benefit from their set’s immersive experience.

At the controls of his QL1 console for the evening, Déjardin managed the mix using L-ISA Controller software, adjusting the position and width of each of the 16 sound objects, as well as the distance between the sources, in real time. ‘Using L-ISA added a new immersive dimension to my work; the audience had to leave their usual points of reference at the door,’ Delahaye says. ‘With no technical worries, we were able to simply enjoy playing. Our set, initially scheduled for 55 minutes, lasted an hour and 40 minutes. We were the first to engage in this kind of sonic experiment.’

The audience’s rave reviews focused primarily on two aspects: on one hand, the sound quality delivered by L-Acoustics technology, and on the other, the precision and motion of the spatialisation, a first for most listeners. 

‘Since working in France Inter radio’s immersive audio department, I have noticed a strong similarity between L-Acoustics’ DNA and our own,’ says Déjardin. ‘We are constantly looking to push back the limits of the venue space. Stereo is great, but it is just a tiny part of what spatialisation has to offer. It would have been unfortunate to simply stop there.’

The success of the Rex Club show was such that Molécule and his production and management team, in collaboration with Radio France and L-Acoustics, will bring a version of this spatialised performance – Acousmatics 360° – to additional locations including one of France’s leading music festivals, Le Printemps de Bourges.

More: http://l-isa-immersive.com

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