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DU-O (2019)

for two kissers, two instrumentalists and one spotlight - 7 minutes


As I was walking down the Große Petersgrube in Lübeck in 2018, I crossed a young couple making out on the street. Although I have nothing against the public display of affection in general, I was triggered by the sound of their lips touching. It was something I have had before: the sound of other people kissing somehow triggered a form of misophonia for me. 
I reflected on how it is possible that these affectionate sounds could evoke such unpleasant feelings, and if it would help me come clean with it, if I would explore them more. So, I decided to compose a work "based on the sound of a kiss".


First, I sonically explored different types of kisses and created a sound database that I wanted to work with. Next, I drew data from user interactions on the digital dating platform Tinder as a base for building a serialist framework. I constructed mathematical rows based on my swiping preferences and the public data of the people I matched with (such as age, distance and their pictures). This process resulted in 6 variations of 1 serialist row.

Silhouette from DU-O

The variations were then meticulously notated — including instructions on sound, duration, loudness and additional gestures. The performers are not only creating sounds, they are also performing a short shadow play on stage. Hidden behind a semi-transparent tarp and supported by a spotlight, they depict a small love story with its initial insecurities, passion and final challenges.

The composition’s mathematical nature combined with the spontaneousness and intimacy of the act of kissing serves as a musical reflection on the paradox of human dating through electronic devices.

DU-O premiered at the ljudOljud festival in Stockholm (SE) in Spring 2019. A second performance happened at Labo Scènes ActuelleS in Lyon (FR) in Autumn 2019. Many thanks to Olga and Stan, Mélanie and Robert, and Vladimir and Mélisande for kissing; to Sara Constant, Hanna Anderberg and Colin Heller for playing; to Helena Tulve, Marie Samuelsson and Alexander Schubert for their compositional wisdom; and to the whole CoPeCo class for helping out with the stage set-up and the support!

Silhouette from DU-O, performance in Sweden
Silhouette from DU-O, performance in France
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