Jacques Rémus

Les Frigos is one the most special art institutions in Paris. A former refrigeration station built in 1921, it gave home to some 200 artists from 1980, painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, publishers, designers and instrument makers. Jacques Rémus is one of them and on the weekend of 28/29 May, he invited to a short concert of his Thermophones. It was definitely one of the most special concerts I ever attended.

Jacques Rémus calls himself a sound sculptor and if he has created a lot of different sound installations, a truly interesting part of his work are his thermophones based on the Rijke effect.

In collaboration with Steve Garret from Penn State University and several researchers in France, Jacques Rémus began developing an instrumentarium with pipes heated by electricity. Thermoacoustics is a young science involving several disciplines: fluid mechanics, acoustics and thermal transfers. The team in France involves Limsi-CNRS from Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique with Diana Baltéan-Carlès and her collaborators.

The sound comes from a tube which is heated punctually. The transfer of heat to the air will increase its pressure according to the gas law. The air flowing inside the tube creates the sound.

Jacques Rémus uses tubes of different length to obtain deep bass sounds and very clear tones. The tubes of his installation are not tuned. The sound creation is based on a computer program controlling the heaters of the various tubes in use. Temperatures vary between 600 and 800 degrees centigrade.Remus2

Sounds produced by Thermophones are pure, profound, powerful and mystically beautiful. However, as the composer said, it is not easy to control the very complex technical parameters so that there is still a way to go before longer compositions can be created using a perfectly calibrated instrument.

More information available here.


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