“Creating Layered Sounds to Match Layered Animations: Between Science and Garbage at Merkin Concert Hall”

“Creating Layered Sounds to Match Layered Animations:
Between Science and Garbage at Merkin Concert Hall”

January 14, 2003
by Jon Parales

Junk food and trash were the makings of “Between Science and Garbage” by Bob Ostertag, an electronic composer, and Pierre Hébert, an animator, on Thursday night. The music started with Mr. Ostertag popping the top of a Coke can; he handed the can to Mr. Hébert, who put its image on screen, to be combined with images of a swinging watch, an apple and a computer motherboard that looked like a city seen from the air. There were also drawings that Mr. Hébert made on the spot of a man falling, reaching for the apple or diving into a garbage can.

Meanwhile Mr. Ostertag and his computer layered pop-tops, fizzes, rubber-duck squeaks and the crunch of chips into assemblages that could be sparse and funny. Then he transformed them into thick, rumbling, throbbing soundscapes like distant ominous factories. The imagery grew apocalyptic: a city buried or perhaps bombed, a man perpetually plunging and reappearing. Despite its comic moments, the piece left eerie memories.