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Capsule

Pierre***
Rousseau*

Composer, Producer, Sound Designer.

This website highlights personal releases alongside a selection of collaborations and commissions.

General :
hello@pierrerousseau.info
alexandre.gaulmin@me.com
Instagram

Commissions :
hello@stereoimage.info
alexandre@stereoimage.info
Instagram

Identity and Design by Faye & Gina, Website by Tristan Bagot.

Capsule
2023

'Dismantling Nakagin Capsule Tower', a CD insert for Capsule Issue 2, introduced at Spazio Maiocchi on April 8 2023 at the occasion of Salone Del Mobile.

"I first visited Nakagin Capsule Tower in the summer of 2018 during an intense heatwave which had engulfed Japan. The tower had already been set for dismantling for years, and following my visit, I had been asked to sign a petition protesting the decision to take it down. I was deeply moved by the experience, both enthused by my encounter with a personal aesthetic fantasy, made up of blue floors and tape machines, but also saddened by the impending demise of a utopian modular masterpiece.

I am honored that Alessio Ascari has asked me to contribute this piece for Capsule. I don’t know whether he knew how much this building meant to me when he reached out, but the magazine seemed like the perfect medium to pay hommage to the Tower, in its interpolation of ‘Design and Desire’.

I wanted to share a few thoughts on conceptualizing ‘Dismantling Nakagin Capsule Tower’, as a sort of addendum to the music itself. As I set out creating the piece, I initially imagined it could evoke its formal, structural components. Hence, the composition faithfully follows the structure of the building, as it interprets the architectural blueprints much like a score.

Every chord change within the piece represents the next floor of the building. Within these chords, or floors, radical shifts in the audio treatment occur regularly and precisely, each evoking a new capsule. The shifts occur 140 times, for the number of capsules which made up the building. Each chord lasts for the exact amount of capsules on each floor. The sudden shifts represent the idea that, although the capsules were materially identical, lived experience within them would had been extremely different from one resident to another. The piece lasts 13 minutes, echoing the building’s thirteen floors.

Although this provided for an inspiring starting point, I was quickly confronted with the limitations of this literal interpretation. The piece was satisfying, but too strict, and lacking an acknowledgement of the Tower’s degradation. I processed the sound again and again, through both analog and digital equipment, until, in its chaos, it eventually sounded like the building I had visited. A sort of synesthetic memory.

I was beginning to ‘feel’ the Tower within the piece, but still, it seemed like it could become even more present. This is when I started involving my friends.

I first wrote Zak text: Zak), a Tokyo-based sound engineer, who recorded thirty minutes at the site where the Tower once stood. The recordings of this void can be heard most clearly at the beginning and end of the piece, but are playing throughout. When I integrated these audio files to my arrangement, I realized that the piece would not be about the Tower itself, but about its eventual dismantling and absence.

I then wrote writer Théo Casciani, whose first novel, ‘Rétine’, beautifully
described the disorienting experience of living in Japan. I simply evoked the following idea : ‘dismantling Nakagin Capsule Tower’. Within 24 hours, he had written the text which can be heard throughout the piece, as read by Annabel Fernandes. Through his weaving of fact and fiction, Théo had re-built the Tower where it will now live on : the realm of myth."

Concept, Composition, and Production by Pierre Rousseau.
Writing by Théo Casciani.
Reading by Annabel Fernandes.
Field Recording by Zak.
Mastering by Adrien Pallot.

Also available on Apple Music, Spotify and all major streaming services.

Listen here.

Capsule - © Pierre Rousseau
Capsule - © Pierre Rousseau