Generator was written for Mark Eden and Chris Stell. It was partly inspired by H.R.Giger’s paintings of ‘bio-mechanoids’, hybrids between man and machine which exist in bleak visions of the future. These surreal and often disturbing images were the inspiration for Ridley Scott’s movie ‘Alien’, which earned Giger an Oscar in1980 for ‘Best Achievement for Visual Effects’.
The piece depicts the birth, life and death of one of these bio-mechanoids, combining ‘human’ tonal elements with machine-like percussive sounds and extended techniques. It opens with a mysterious and spacious slow section in which sounds emerge tentatively from silence. A series of mosaic like ideas, partly ordered by the performers, accompanies a rising melodic progression, with ‘electrical sparks’ symbolising the machine’s creation. Eventually an engine-like rhythm ignites and the music comes to life with vigorous rhythmic energy, passing through a series of contrasting musical episodes until the symmetry of malfunction, death and decay finally brings the piece to extinction.