VISIONARY COMPOSER DUSTIN O’HALLORAN DELIVERS HIS LONG-AWAITED NEW ELECTRONICS-FORWARD ALBUM, 1 0 0 1
1 0 0 1 is an exploration of nature, consciousness, technology, and the profound implications of artificial intelligence and our understanding of it
The album is released by DG/Universal Music Canada on March 22, 2024
Listen to “Spiritus Naturae Aeternus (single edit)” here
Music video launching 31 January here
Watch the EPK here
“1 0 0 1 was a chance to break with everything that I had done in the past and explore new ways of writing, expressing sound, and to create a piece that could be experienced as well as initiate a conversation.”
26 JANUARY 2024 (TORONTO, ON) — 1 0 0 1 is a musical exploration of the nature of the human mind and contemplates the implications of artificial intelligence, raising questions about the essence of humanity in a world increasingly intertwined with advanced technology. Designed for “intentional listening” – to be experienced as a whole, in the same way as we take our time to contemplate a painting or a sculpture – Dustin O’Halloran’s immersive new album provides a space in which to slow down and reflect on some of the complex philosophical questions facing our ever-more-rapidly evolving world. O’Halloran recorded 1 0 0 1 at RRO Studios in Reykjavík, where he was joined by his longtime collaborator/composer Bryan Senti on violin, a hand-picked eight-voice choir, Paul Corley (Sigur Rós) on electronic production, and the Budapest Art Orchestra orchestrated by Roman Vinuesa – all mixed by Francesco Donadello. The album comes out on Deutsche Grammophon on March 22, 2024 and will be preceded by the release of single edits of three of the four tracks: “Spiritus Naturae Aeternus” on January 26, “Cymatic Love Spiral” on February 16, and “Harmonic Dream Sequence” on March 8.
A video for “Spiritus Naturae Aeternus” will be released on DG’s YouTube channel on January 31. Shot in Iceland and directed by Markus Englmair, it features London/Tokyo-based dance artist and choreographer Fukiko Takase. “The video serves as a poignant allegory for the cycle of life,” says Englmair. “The long, uninterrupted scenes uphold the dance’s integrity and allow Takase’s choreography to connect with the haunting melodies, the requiem-like cadence, and the profound themes of O’Halloran’s composition. The contrast between Iceland’s natural beauty and the desolate urban settings provides a transformative journey from organic to artificial environments. Within a bleak world, Takase’s dance becomes an expression of the enduring process of growth, renewal, and eventual decay.”
1 0 0 1 began life, in fact, as a collaborative piece created with Fukiko Takase. Its seeds were planted more than a decade ago while O’Halloran was working as one half of the ambient music duo A Winged Victory for the Sullen on Atomos, a dance piece for Company Wayne McGregor. O’Halloran and Takase discovered that they shared a profound interest in the science and metaphysics of human consciousness. Their wide-ranging philosophical conversations touched on Masamune Shirow’s manga Ghost In The Shell, a story about the concepts of mind-body dualism. O’Halloran’s exchange of ideas with Takase led to the creation of a dynamic dance work in three movements that explored the interaction between humans and machines. They presented the piece for the first time in 2019 but were forced to cancel a scheduled run of performances the following year due to the pandemic.
Working from his new home in Iceland, O’Halloran decided to reimagine the work as a standalone auditory experience and develop its mix of acoustic and electronic sounds to create a sense of thought-provoking emotions surrounding the rapid development of technology and its impact on what it means to be human.
“When 1 0 0 1 first premiered in 2019, the global landscape was markedly different, and the discourse surrounding superintelligence and its implications for the human mind, body, and consciousness seemed distant,” says Dustin O’Halloran. “The rapid acceleration of this dialogue took me by surprise, prompting a decision to unveil this work before its themes became untimely. 1 0 0 1 serves as an auditory exploration into the crossroads of artificial intelligence and our comprehension of existence. The record navigates the nuanced interplay between the intangible realm of consciousness and the rapidly advancing capabilities of technology. Each track is a deliberate exploration into uncharted territories, a reflection on the implications of a future where the distinctions between humanity and technology become increasingly blurred.”
The work, now in four movements, opens with “Spiritus Naturae Aeternus,” Latin for “The eternal spirit of Nature.” O’Halloran calls this a “representation of the beauty and chaos of nature,” for female voices, solo violin, orchestral strings, and piano in which the familiar order of conscious communication slowly unravels to leave fading fragments of sound. Specially written for the album, “Cymatic Love Spiral” evokes arguably the most powerful of all human emotions. The spirit of love dances in the form of a violin solo, played by the composer’s friend Bryan Senti, which gradually intertwines with a riff for soaring strings before dissolving into silence. “Harmonic Dream Sequence” is a psychedelic depiction of what O’Halloran sees as the current naive desire to experiment with technology and a lack of concern for a future in which it gains autonomy from its creators and users. Beneath the music’s exciting, playful surface lies a darker undertone, as the stuff of sci-fi becomes a cacophonous reality. “Transfigural Syntax Eclipse,” meanwhile, steps into a world where disembodied choral voices sing a wordless chant above a shimmering ocean of synthetic sounds and bell-like drones. The piece speaks to us about what might happen if human language is lost, and we find ourselves disconnected from nature.
1 0 0 1 stands as a visionary composer’s creative response to the unknowns surrounding AI and a future in which machines are likely to develop their emotions, feelings, and languages. “The final piece on the album comes out of the hallucinatory journey that immediately precedes it,” observes Dustin O’Halloran. “It confronts existential ideas of consciousness and what humanity will lose in this race and desire to create consciousness, which is something we don’t yet fully understand.”