Monday, November 30, 2009

concert no. 1 - environment

The first concert of the series presents a collection of 5 works each of which interface with the idea of environment in a unique way.

Ambiences - Chris Warren (USA)
Aether - Hans Timmermans (Holland)
Écologie Matérielle - Adam Basanta (USA)
Passing Landscapes - James Moses (USA)
Blanc Distance - Junya Oikawa (Japan)

About Aether Hans Timmermans writes:

The concept of "aether" has existed for centuries in the physical sciences. Although aether has never been proven, many physicists were and still are convinced that the earth floats in a highly elastic substance that carries radio (and television) and light waves that permeate all space. The ancient Greeks described aether as a medium that not only supported the earth but also steered all light.

The works of Einstein and colleagues have left little room in the present day sciences for this style of postulation and the laws of electrodynamics have made it clear that there is no substance needed for the transport and/or propagation of electromagnetic waves. It is truly a shame that such Romantic ideas cease to exist when they have lost their theoretic necessity.

Imagine the earth floating in a light blue, iris-like, watery substance in which ripples as in a lake, like catapulted sailboats, are witnessing of significant cosmic events or reminiscing the existence of the human race. It follows the earth, the tail of the comet, electromagnetic garbage. I don't consider myself to be a poet yet the concept holds me in its grip.

The studio composition AETHER lasts 14 minutes and 33 seconds. This specific length is not a coincidence.

Specific timings and musical events lose their traditional roles in AETHER. The hope is that the listener may even lose their sense of time and place. Sounds simply occur, or they are already there, and the listener by coincidence hears them or possibly misses them. They may even just pass by without engaging the listener in any conscious way. The listener is immersed in a sonic poem that expresses an unused and untouched
concept. It offers an experience that begins and ends but actually exists all the time, without start or finish points.

This work was inspired by the ancient and current concepts surrounding the phenomenon ether (historically aether) as described above. The compositional process included, in part, a study in the development of certain gestures that were necessary for the expressive quality of the work. The audio material consists of synthesized or complexly modulated acoustic samples by using granular synthesis, resonators and various parameter controls via constructed (data)gestures.

In the mid 1980’s I developed, in an analog electronic music studio, 12 sonic modes. These modes have proven to be very useful in my compositions. They are broad clusters with carefully designed consonants and dissonants in specific regions of the sonic spectrum. When used in sequence from 1 to 12 they form a lovely and often very useful harmonic progression. They also relate directly to other important aspects of my
electronic music where timbre, sonority, color and sonic development occur. In AETHER I use modes 1 and 12.

About Écologie Matérielle Adam Basanta writes:

Between the natural environment and the consumer products which are derived from it (paper/plastic bags and wrappers/foil) lies a sonic and metaphoric continuum. Within this scope, I chose to explore variations on the theme of extraction and re-deposition of one sound image to another, as well as create an evolving musical interplay between the ecological organization characteristics of each sound world.

About Passing Landscapes Jim Moses writes:

Passing Landscapes is sonic/musical impression of a passing day. The work blends realistic surround-sound environmental recordings and electro-acoustic compositional techniques. The work reflects the omnipresence of machines in our lives (and in our acoustic environments) and the contrast between the serene and the intense. There are three movements - ‘waking’, ‘drive-time’ and ‘drifting’.

Thanks to Brian Knoth for help engineering the field recordings, and thanks to the MEME program at the Brown University Music Department where the piece was realized.

About Blanc Distance Junya Oikawa writes:

"The consciousness is like a surface or skin of enormous, unknown territory of the unconscious." (C.G. Jung, Analytical Psychology)

A blurring sensation of something not physical - it is almost tangible, but cannot be touched. Just like going in between dream and reality, it is woven in the space of interaction between tension-laxation, arousing the unconscious.

Persistent sounds that subordinate the consciousness, glitch sounds that distance the consciousness, palpable primitive voice and attack/release of sounds - they transform the structure flexibly, giving corporeal quality to the space. In other words, it is to render a space as a virtual sense organ, through sound texture, distance,sensation on the skin created by sound pressure.

How it begins:

Greetings earthlings. Welcome to the "Music under the influence of computers" blog.

Over the course of six concerts the Music Under the Influence of Computers series presents an international collection of music conceived with a special relationship to technology. It is currently (and generously) sponsored by the Center for Research in Computing and the Arts (CRCA), CALIT2, and Wavelink.

All concerts are held in the Atkinson Hall Black Box theater on the campus of U.C. San Diego.

Each event is both a presentation of music as well as an opportunity for discussion regarding the concerns of composers, performers, and listeners. This blog is intended to provide documentation of the events and the discussions that follow.