Stollery, “What you will not see are performers”.

“The diffusers are in the centre of the room”.

“The speaker system consists of stereo pairs, and will diffuse sound from all around the room, and also give the appearance of sound coming from outside the room”.

Pete Stollery | ‘scenes /rendez-vous’

The first piece presented ‘scenes /rendez-vous’ by Stollery is introduced by a film by Claude le Louche. The film was an attempt by the filmmaker to travel a certain route through Paris in a speeding Mercedes with a short period of time. As Stollery’s father was dying, father and son repeatedly watched the film. Following the death of his father Stollery visited Paris and made recordings along the route taken by LeLouche; these recordings formed the basis of the composition. It seemed anomalous, in an acousmatic presentation, to connect the work with the visual domain.

Sketches made during performance.

Washhhhhhhm of white noise sound.

Beep (car horn)

Traffic sounds moving left         to         right and             right
to
left.

Car horn modified into thematic material.

Car horn filtered from all other noise acting as anchoring drone.

Very low bass hum.

Digital scrapes – like bottles being tapped by coins.

A coin spinning on a table – eternal. This is a heavily treated section.

Raw street sound. Mopeds, other vehicles. Slight treatment enhancing spativality.

Little granular chimes – unidentifiable source.

Play on the stereo field.

Thor coughs.

Street sounds.

Passing cars.

Footsteps.

Thor coughs.

Something being shaken or pushed.

Passing             traffic             spatialised.

Door slams.
Squeak of child or cat.
Running water.

Treated background washed out texture.

Water being poured onto some different surface.

James Wyness | “Metallurgy”

He is working from a score. His piece is much more spatial, the sounds seem much more separated. He is mixing manually on an old analog mixing desk, riding the faders of the multiple stereo pairs.

For this work, the Scottish artist gained entry to a small metal working factory. During his time there he made a series of recordings of working men and machines. In addition to this he obtained off cuts of metal which he then used to create instruments, also heard in the piece.

An immersion in sculpted sound.

A fading in and out of raw source material and abstracted inner processes.

A poetic work operating on a number of levels:

An exploration of this particular room.

An exploration of a specific local context and work environment.

An investigation into the sonic properties of the material used in that workplace (various metals) – he created instruments constructed from waste obtained from the metal factory.

A investigation into the electro-acoustic techniques of transformation.

Further to this, an unexpected spontaneity of performance.

An audience member utters a small moan of appreciation.

I am unable to describe my experience of sound in this context. The material is too rich, too dynamic, too changing, too spatial and shifting to be represented by writing.

A small bat type sound flicks from the left to the right of the room, pricking my awareness, forming connections between underdeveloped synapses.

There is consummate control of sound in a positive sense.

Nothing over the past few days comes close to the sheer poetics of these pieces. What might airlines, bus companies, architects learn from these artists?

Each composer has announced themselves acoustically and succinctly proving just enough to provide an intriguing entry point into the work.

Chimes, gongs, rain.

Wind or a travelling train.

Scrunkle. Leaves?

Small chimes.

Again the physical impression of natural sound.

Modified water – which becomes more so, like a scribbling pen on paper.

Ke –             binng.
CHoin –     choing     – choing

Swellzza.
Bloop –         bloop         woopa         wooopa
Derrehh

Kak cha-cha.

Shaka.            shaka.shaka.

Wopple –             whoople bloip bloip             blop blop

Woip-woip woip woip-woip bubble-bubble

Tubba                     tuba

Dzzz     Dzzz     zeeerr

Creak-creak Creak-creak  Creak-creak  Creak-creak

Dup-dup Dup-dup Dup-dup Dup-dup

Shhhhh

Scribble                 scrubble                 scribble

Husshhhhhh

SKribble

D-zee-          de-ze,         d’ze

Tok
Scraape
Trickle-trickle

Something is now squeaking rhythmically, a mechanism turning. Not loud.

Café sounds. Birdsong. A canary?

Pans being gonged.

Indistinct conversation – male and female.

A click. (Billiard balls?)

Passing traffic, very spatialised.

An aeroplane passes overhead.

An opera singer from a radio in some kind of distance.

Sudden extreme processing. Washes of sounds – source unidentified.

Car horn type sound, very abstracted becomes a choral chant.
It is now                     fading a    w        a        y.

Whistling.         Broken     snatches of         conversation.

Claking footsteps. A crowd of people. A touch of flute. A touch of fiddle music.

Near-silence

Applause

Jonty Harrison | Unsound Objects

I am watching his fingers flicker over the faders of the mixing desk. It is so beautiful. Detailed. Defined. Dangerous.

Running water. So much ‘waterness’.

He rides the array of stereo pairs as a thunderclap enters. What beautiful power. Powerful beauty.

To see Jonty, clearly enjoying himself in the throes of live acousmatic performance is to understand his problems with academia. This music is intuitive. He is using no score, and he anticipates each sound object, moving them around the room. He is placed in the middle of the audience, the position of best audition. An interaction between composer-player-space-technology-representation.

He twists his head around to map the audio levels front and rear.

Ocean waves. Walking on shingle. Children’s voices. A fade to a bell-like electric tone.
To near silence.

Applause.

He grins, nods his appreciation.

Harrison is here to provoke the audience. He is one of the UK’s, if not the world’s, leading acousmatic composers. He describes a situation where a relatively young art form, acousmatic music, is treated with open hostility by those within traditional musical discourse. Here he is explicitly referring to ‘classical’ music practitioners, but I would propose that this hostility, or lack of comprehension, could be extended to almost any realm of traditional sound-making.

While acousmatic music enjoys a relatively high degree of support in its historical Francophonic centres of France and Canada (more specifically Paris and Montreal), within the UK, and much of the rest of the world, acousmatic music remains a culturally isolated activity. Harrison is here to offer us some insight and analysis of this situation.

He beginsby defining his terms. Acousmatic music is designed specifically for loudspeakers; he goes on to pick out a number of defining characteristics:

1)Acousmatic can refer to a situation, or to an intent, it is not a description of a style, and should be seen as a means and not as an end. He compares the term to ‘piano music’ which is sufficiently open to cover musics ranging from traditional jazz, classical works, film scores, experimental work and so on; he relates ‘acousmatic’, as a term, to also allow a great range of interpretations and deployments.
2)It allows the use of any sound as a valid compositional element.
3)Visual aspects are detrimental to acousmatic performance. The focus is upon sound and its transformations and movement in space.

Acousmatic composers trace their filiation to Pierre Schaefer’s influential invention ‘musique concrete’, which began from an empirical approach to sound. From this empiricism (e.g. the classification of sounds according to its amplitude envelope (attack, decay, sustain, release) and frequency envelope) structural compositional implications are derived, with a resulting effect upon working methods; which Harrison describes as ‘hands on’ and ‘organic’.

He compares this traditional with the Cologne School of ‘elektronische Musik’ which operated along much more formalist methods, as typified by serialism.

e.g of Tony Conrad et al boycotting Stockhausen concerts – cultural elitism of Lamonte Young for all his posturing.

Harrison notes that the tension between the differing approaches of the two schools continues to destabilise practice.

L’objet sonore – ‘recording was the most important dynamic of twentieth century music, much more than the abandonment of tonality.

— McLuhan – sense ratios.

Reduced listening – the detaching of the sound object from the sounding object

‘sound as sound’

Schaefer’s early work Etude aux Chemins de Fer (1948), now seen more as an experiment rather than a finished work, was criticised for too close a relation between the two objects, but Harrison notes that this oscillation between ‘real sounds’ and those more abstracted, is one of the most effective techniques available to acousmatic composers.

—- how is visual representation considered? A painting, photograph or a film surely is not presented as reality, but a construct. What does this allow us to say about acousmatics, field recording and phonography?

Harrison ends this section of his talk with a description of the introduction of digital technology as a ‘quantum leap’ forward.

playback > > “Unsound Objects” J.Harrison (1995, 13mins, excerpt)

———-

Footsteps on bracken.
Footsteps on shingle.
Footsteps on snow.

Sudden short cracking sound reveals itself as fire.

Realism gives way to abstract interplay and textural changes.

Fire bounces spatially.
Which then becomes a ping pong ball which fades away.

The sound of keys leads to the unlocking of a door.

Recapitulation–? of rain and thunder
Footsteps motif is linked to a similar sound, a car on shingle.

We then arrive on a beach.

———-

There is a real fluidity in the way the location can be treated in acousmatics.

Acousmatics proceeds from the concrete into the abstract, and from practice to theory.

Harrison then asks the question whether acousmatic music is actually music. Using the often cited quote that music is sound organised in time, and sound art is sound organised in space. Is it then music? Harrison argues that an acousmatic work can be listened to on a CD much less problematically than a sound art piece.

–why?

– less associated with the specific site of reception.

– often uses multiple sites as sound sources.

– is concerned with the sonic properties of sound objects, less of a conceptual emphasis. The conceptual concerns of many sound artists, while important in creating significant artworks, can create some pretty unlistenable results, once they have be removed from their original context.

– acousmatic work is explicitly created for loudspeaker listening. Sound art audio output can often be the result of

– unpredicable
– natural
– improvised
– kinetic

activities

and their interest is not in the empirical qualities of sounds per se but in sound’s ability to articulate

spatial relationships.
cultural concerns.
environmental processes.
socio-political agendas.
technological dependencies.

He reports a dialogue he had with Bill Fontana, who is more concerned with letting ‘sound be’, without any of the transformative techniques used by Harrison and other acousmatic composers. Harrison, self-depreciatingly describes his methods as ‘tinkering around’ but, more seriously, considers his transformative approach as an investigation into what ‘sounds may yet become’.

“Acousmatic music is sound art, but sound art is not music”.

In his final comments, Harrison describes his vision of the future of acousmatics, he sees this future an inevitably involving collaboration, diversification and hybridisation, in a effort to move acousmatics from its precarious position in the arts.

While his address has had much to say, he seems to be firmly entrenched within a modernist and institutionalised culture of academic music. Although acousmatics can be seen to question the conventions of serious music, chiefly through its rejection of the score, and in its reconfiguration of performance norms, within the UK at least, one can say that acousmatic music is firmly tied to academic institutions. Examples of this are Harrison’s own BEAST diffusion system, and the work carried out at the University of York and the University of East Anglia since the early 1970s. Harrison claims that acousmatics has this academic association for historical reasons, and that there is absolutely nothing intrinsic to the form that definitively ties it to academia.

Applause.

“Thankyou.”

Kubisch (from the floor),”I have always seen acousmatic music as academic. There is no difference between a composer of instrumental music, and one of acousmatic music. It’s very male dominated, is not fun, and is clearly academic”.

Harrison responds by emphasising the organic nature of his working process. He is not engaged in research, he ‘makes things’. His approach is not theoretical, but is based in practice. Again he reiterates the historical justification for its placement within universities, but then acknowledges that performance venues and the technical difficulties associated with monitoring and mixing acousmatic work, has limited much performance to relatively well-resourced institutions.

Acousmatic music involves the audience in very ‘artificial listening’, and as such requires a process of familiarisation with the techniques, processes and goals of composers. Given the fact that it remains a largely under funded discipline, particularly in the United Kingdom, this process of familiarisation, has historically been centred upon those institutions associated with the development of acousmatic technique, discourse and practice. Penetration into broader society would require a degree of promotion and dissemination impossible under the financial constraints suffered by historical practice. Harrison responds to Kubisch’s comments with the observation that the acousmatic listeners are highly dispersed in a geographical sense, and a survey of such an audience remains to be undertaken. He concludes by speculating on the future of acousmatic music in the information age where listening habits of music lovers in the widest sense are changing, perhaps towards a situation more sympathetic to acousmatic listening.

“We’re having this conversation again, about you not being academic”. (Male voice from the floor)

Both of these projects, in their own ways, offer a different perspective on contemporary sound art practice. They operate less along the lines of the modernist artist, or of creative collaboration with agents of capital, but are centred upon the educational and community benefits to be gained from a creative engagement with sound.

In one example of the SonicPostcards project, the Sonic Arts Network team went into Downham special School. Activities included drawing sound maps, drawing environmental sounds and students being encouraged to keep a sound diary. The project is explicitly driven by debate and discussion, with technology being deliberately kept in the background as a facilitating, but potentially distracting, conduit for the exchange of ideas between the visiting artists and the students.

Adam Proctor presenting directly after the SAN has been working on a sound project in the nearby town of Inverie. The aim of the piece was to explore the identity of young people within their environment, and for them to experience everyday sounds from a different perspective.

Proctor articulates a desire to move these types of activity into mainstream education, as he has proposes that creative sound projects can help ‘marginalised’ groups and individuals reengage with learning on a wider level.

—- get more specifics.

— discussion – funding sources for sound art

— proof for his claims? Is he arguing this to secure finance for his organisation?

Jana Phillips, “Sonic Postcards: A consideration of the interdisciplinary and artistic possibilities of a school-based sound education project”

 

& Adam Proctor “See Hear Inverurie”

 

Both of these projects, in their own ways, offer a different perspective on contemporary sound art practice. They operate less along the lines of the modernist artist, or of creative collaboration with agents of capital, but are centred upon the educational and community benefits to be gained from a creative engagement with sound.

 

In one example of the SonicPostcards project, the Sonic Arts Network team went into Downham special School. Activities included drawing sound maps, drawing environmental sounds and students being encouraged to keep a sound diary. The project is explicitly driven by debate and discussion, with technology being deliberately kept in the background as a facilitating, but potentially distracting, conduit for the exchange of ideas between the visiting artists and the students.

 

Adam Proctor presenting directly after the SAN has been working on a sound project in the nearby town of Inverie. The aim of the piece was to explore the identity of young people within their environment, and for them to experience everyday sounds from a different perspective.

 

Proctor articulates a desire to move these types of activity into mainstream education, as he has proposes that creative sound projects can help ‘marginalised’ groups and individuals reengage with learning on a wider level.

 

—- get more specifics.

 

— discussion – funding sources for sound art

 

— proof for his claims? Is he arguing this to secure finance for his organisation?

Jana Phillips, “Sonic Postcards: A consideration of the interdisciplinary and artistic possibilities of a school-based sound education project”

& Adam Proctor “See Hear Inverurie”

Both of these projects, in their own ways, offer a different perspective on contemporary sound art practice. They operate less along the lines of the modernist artist, or of creative collaboration with agents of capital, but are centred upon the educational and community benefits to be gained from a creative engagement with sound.

In one example of the SonicPostcards project, the Sonic Arts Network team went into Downham special School. Activities included drawing sound maps, drawing environmental sounds and students being encouraged to keep a sound diary. The project is explicitly driven by debate and discussion, with technology being deliberately kept in the background as a facilitating, but potentially distracting, conduit for the exchange of ideas between the visiting artists and the students.

Adam Proctor presenting directly after the SAN has been working on a sound project in the nearby town of Inverie. The aim of the piece was to explore the identity of young people within their environment, and for them to experience everyday sounds from a different perspective.

Proctor articulates a desire to move these types of activity into mainstream education, as he has proposes that creative sound projects can help ‘marginalised’ groups and individuals reengage with learning on a wider level.

—- get more specifics.

— discussion – funding sources for sound art

— proof for his claims? Is he arguing this to secure finance for his organisation?

Keywords

Adorno, The form of the Phonographic Record.

Time-binding – changing sounding flow into object.

‘The Intractable Recording’

playback > > Thomas Edison “Mary had a Little Lamb” (19xx)

‘The Veridical’ – ‘an empirical document outside of reality, with an aura of truth’. We read this to be true though this may not be the case.

playback > > Chris Watson “Ol-Olool-Ol” (2003)

‘Voice and Verity’ – transparency and opaqueness.

playback > > John Cousins “Sleep Exposure” (1979)

The Edison track erroneously plays.

‘Authenticity and the Real’ – ethnographic truths. It is not possible to record folk songs on paper”

playback > > Berio “Naturale” (1985)

‘The Analytical Recording’ – records are photographs of their owners.

‘The Spectral Recording’

‘Spectres & Affect’

‘Coda’ – ‘sonaisance’

Applause.

Lecture Theatre, MacRoberts Building, Uni.of Aberdeen.


“There’s feedback going on throughout the system…”.

“…both internal and external…”

“…Sound is the interface…”

“…a heretical use of technology. Less problem solving and more problem raising.”

“…it cannot be controlled, and can only be interacted with”.
Applause.
“Questions”.

“the relation of technology to sound artists is interesting from an anthropological perspective”.

“…using technology for critical discourse on a technological world”.

“How do artists engage with technology on a day to day basis?”

“Compare this to acoustic instruments. The search for extended techniques is emblematic of the creative spirit. The desire to subvert design”.
Applause.

“I’m Bill Thompson, we’re going to start”.

Owww. Sine tone

Like vinyl noise.

Sinetone.
Like vinyl noise.

Sinetone.
High sine tone.

Like vinyl tone. Higher in the mix. More defined.

Source = water? Fire?
Pop.         Pop       Pop…       crackle

Pop

Shuffle.
The footsteps of latecomers.

Skrayp of chair.

1  2  3, 1  2  3, 1  2, 1  2, 1  2  3, 1  2  3  4

Mid-low percussion kicks.

I close my eyes and wait for something to write.

Any number of images come into my mind.

The first being a view of the ocean today during a soundwalk.

Cold wind, ocean surf, ships in the middle distance. What does this have to do with these sounds?

Hi hi static sine tones, with slight beating.

Low register bass tones. Beating more noticeable.

Thompson pulls out a contact mic and battery powered fan. It makes a sound.

Beating pulse tones continue.

Cough from two seats to my left.

I look at the clock.

A lo to mid bass texture comes into the mix.

I am experiencing some in ear soundings.

A deeper bass texture increases its presence. Pulsing, pulsating.

Hi frequencies are now clearly sounding in my ears.

Not unpleasant. Not pleasant. What then?

A bass texture, pulsating comes into the foreground.

In ear tones continue. Maybe one of the extractor fans from the Heathrow smokers’ area have spawned a cartoon monster offspring that has tracked me here?

The sound of oars? Running stream water.

I am now inside the sound. Or rather, it is now inside of me.

Everything disappears other than pulsing pure tones.

As I move my head, so the effect changes. Hmmm…

The same tone that began the piece is still there.

I am sitting much closer to the left speaker than to the right. Am I missing something?

People seem much more comfortable and attentive to this than the last performance. Is this due to Thompson turning on a toy disco light? There is something strangely focusing about the banal play of light from yellow, to green to orange, to red to yellow to…

The threshold has fallen.

Low bass hum. Gentle.

In ear tones continue at a much more comfortable level.

Mid tone.

Click,                     glitch.

Glitch. Click.

Click, click, clik-clik, click, click, clik- clik.

Male voice (whispered) “This is shite.” (Scottish accent)
Near silence.

Applause.

Lights up.

“Lots more tomorrow.”

| Concert Hall |

Keith Rowe, Rajesh Mehta, and Rohan de Saram Improvised Performance

Cello Sound Check.

Trumpet Sound Check.

Rowe sitting behind his table of objects.

Web Streaming team are set up in the corner.

“…there was one time when someone turned up at the end of the night, and at the end of the concert, just helped us pack up…”

“…here…”

“…one or two really belligerent people… I don’t need that anymore.”

“We’d like to welcome Keith Rowe, Rajesh Mehta, and Rohand de Saran…”
Applause.

Lights are switched off.

Near silence. Some air conditioning.

The performance begins.
Cello harmonics.

Rowe emits whooshy electromagnetic washes.
Breath

Psst. Pssssst

Bwwoooow

Muted trumpet. Closed to open.

The sound is a mixture of acoustic sounds and amplified sounds from two huge Genelec monitor speakers.

Crack, snickle, from Rowe. Joggle pickup up.

K – K DOnk. Fiddle Fiffle Ckik.

Trumpet slide – the trompet? Muted like wah-wah.

Crackle – crackle…glitch

Cello – lo lo drone
Bzzt

A sound like wind from Rowe. A battery powered fan like a mini distorted helicopter.

Bzzt
Hybrid trumpet – opening frequencies.

Volume threshold increase.

Funereal cello.

There is some slight interest in the contrast between Rowe’s knob twiddling and consumer noiseplay with the meditative cello and the experimentally tubed bugle boy.
Bab bab bab. Trumpet as Drumpet.

Crackle creatures from the guitar neck. A slight pumping of a volume pedal.

Trumpet like passing propeller.

Cello pushing quavers, suggesting a chase sequence?

Rowe tunes into the communication ether. Radio static between the units in pursuit.

An insect buzzes against the hot-hot windscreen.

The trumpet helicopter passes overhead.

Disembodied voices demand guidance.

“Where is Bernhard?”

Fade to Super-8 noize of a summer field.

Flicker, flicker, white out of summer sun.

The bleeding body lies under summer heat.
Exposed nerve endings twitching in white more heat.

So cold.

Subject through teared up eyes.

Brain stem exposed to gentle breeze.

Where is he? What happened?

Fizz. Fizz. Distant sirens / sirens close.

I don’t know.

Twitch. Twitch. Raw electricity

Emergency.

Mayday.

M’aidez.

Help me.

Christ, please help me. I think I’m dying.

Ga goo – goo. I’m becoming a baby.

Snatches of piano lessons in the drawing room.

Comical toy trumpets.

Fratured melodies. I’m sure I know this song.
Materd Frelod. I’m sure I’m now this song.
Actref olemsidi. I’m ss.s I.s .sss.ss.s.ss

Gentle warm.
Am I being moved?
Something is moving against my skin.

Near silence.

A pop.
A click.
A buzz.

A laugh from the audience.
A snigger.

A continued buzz in the Genelecs.

Pockle. Pockle.

High Harmonic. A call for attention.

A squiggle of new life.
Is this the sound of life?

A background pulse of theme begins.

BzzzzzzZZZzzzzZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZZzzzzZzzzzzzzzZZZZZZZzzZz
mmmm.mmmm.mmmmmm.mmmMMMM.mMMMm.MMM.MMMMMMmmMMMMM.

The universe opens out to me.

High harmonic. A call to life.

Quick cut back into the darkened and quietened theatre space.

A trumpet with tubing and a lighting frame attached is sounding a high harmonic.

The cello responds.
Rowe – alone with his broken noises bzzzzzzzzz.

The battery powered fan brushes against pickups or strings.
Increase in volume threshold, from what was approaching near silence.

Strange subtones and solar winds.

Ba – da  da   dah  dab a dah – cello

Scrunch – scrunh

Buzzbell overtone from Rowe.

Hysterical cello fingers.

Now a calm drone.

Glitch   glitch.

I am reminded of nothing.

Trumpet swell and cello insects.

Cello glissando.

Small sine type wave.

Squiggly glic glic from Rowe.

Small sine wave meets bass tubed trumpet.

Buzzbell undertone.

Harmonic overtone series from cello.

Wahh whaa. Baby cry from trumpet.

Cello bass drone.

Rowe turns something on.

He picks something up. Skrayp.

I wonder when he’ll use his electric toothbrush.

Tap tap.

Cello low harmonics.

Muted trumpet suggests a higher place.

Crackle crackle schwa schwa.

Bik-bik  bik.

The trumpet is sad.

Ooo-ooo- wh. So is the cello.

“Hello”, it says, “Can you make me laugh?”
The musicians stand defeated.

Rowe’s machines continue to sound.

The cello adds a comment, “but…but…but, I am too”.

Rowe’s toy helicopters are ready to napalm the guitar fields.

The cello plays a death song.

A trumpet spatial sweep marks bass feedback swells.

Rowe: scribble scribble scratch. He appears to be fixing an old timepiece, being cooled in his garden shed by a 99p battery powered fan. Oblivious to all around him.

The cello plays a death song.

Many in the audience have their eyes closed. Beautific. Some look incredulous. Others look around as I do.

The artists continue to fumble around, in search of what, I neither know nor care.

An attractive space though, and some pretty comfy chairs.

Apart from air conditioning; silence.

A cough.

Some shuffling.

Rowe looks up.

The artists smile.
The audience applauds.
The artists stand awkward.
The applause ends.

Thompson : “That’s fine”.

Skrayyp of chairs.

Low conversation.

We are in an acoustically designed space, open wooden floored, and wall panels.
“I think I’m getting feedback from putting this on the table”.

Shuffles and snuffles as the audience enters.

Male voice, “It’s great”.

Female voice, “You have to imagine we’ve come on to tremendous applause”.

Mattosian introduces de Saram and begins the story of Xenakis and his traumatic life, which is, for her as a biographer, key to understanding his work. She describes Xenakis as an outsider, a role he felt natural with, and in many ways, he adopted this persona. She sees Xenakis as both a scientist and an artist investigating the world and sonorising the results. He composed in a very systematic way, but balanced this with a great deal of intuition and gave himself the freedom to change his compositions if a more effective solution presented itself to him, that did not fit with his compositional strategy.

Xenakis grew up in Greece, and as a young man was very influenced by Plato and Marx. Following Mussolini’s invasion of his homeland and the subsequent occupation by Nazi forces, he was part of the communist resistance. The social chaos he experienced during this period, was to crop up again and again in his creative works, and this dynamic between continuity and discontinuity is apparent in many of his compositions. Following the defeat of the Axis forces, Churchill attacked and bombed Athens in an effort to drive out leftist forces from positions of influence. Xenakis himself was directly affected by this, he lost an eye from an explosion of shrapnel and was dragged out from a pile of dead bodies by his father.

Slight feedback.

He went into a long period of depression, and was forced into hiding as the right came into power. His father secured him a false passport and Xenakis was able to leave to France where he begin working for the architect Le Corbusier.

He was quickly recognised as a very capable young man, and by 195x had been trusted by Le Corbusier to design the façade of _________, a musically inspired screen of glass.

Picture.

Slight feedback.

At the same time he composed a new piece which used the same principles, namely a modular approach based on the Fibonacci series. Here we see his profound sense of continuity, in this case, a highly original connectivity between architectural and musical composition. He was always inspired by nature, and more specifically the mathematics underlying the continuum of natural order to disorder.

The piece of music which is now to be presented to us is an example of Xenakis’ systematic mathematical approach towards composition. ‘Nomos Alpha’, a piece for solo cello is based upon the rotation of a cube. The piece is in 24 sections, 8 movements in each section, each one being unique.

Slight feedback.

The piece uses glissandi and microtonal beatings in a manner specific to string instrument, as well as extended bow techniques (for example using the back of the bow).

Slight feedback from rear speakers.

“This is Nomos Alpha”.

Unamplified solo cello.

A switching of instruments as the piece requires the lowest string to be detuned an octave. This is an unusual solution.

A second switch of instruments.

Creak of floorboards.

Footsteps receding.

Footsteps approaching returning the detuned cello.

Switch.

Switch. Return.

The sound of the cello scraping the floor as the assistant sits down as quietly as he can.

Little cough from a bald man in the row in front of me.

Someone clears their throat behind me.

de Saram tightens the lowest string. CHunnnNk.

Unanticipated electronic beep from my mobile which gains unwanted attention. It makes me nervous and I almost blush. The man next to me takes off his spectacles in a show of pointed annoyance.

Applause. Slightly more than polite.

She then provides a biographers’ analysis of the work. He argument follows that systematic compositional gridding provided a framework for Xenakis to work through his traumatic experience of wartime Greece. She tells us an anecdote from much earlier in Xenakis’ life which remained close to his heart; an occasion when he was in a tent at night hearing sounds from all around him. She argues that his creative work is a psychological outward projection, recreating a damaged internal universe experienced in a synaesthetic nightmare of sound and light. She goes further to describe Xenakis’ conception of ‘l’effect combine’ and his love of creating son et lumiere spectacles, and his early effort to establish a centre for computer music with an especial emphasis on spatialised sound, as more or less directly related to the personal trauma he experienced during the Allied bombing of his hometown.

Her argument is alluring directly following the intense and fractured experience of hearing Nomos Alpha. Discontinuity is evident, the effect of the work is violent, and providing a vision of an ancient city being bombed by a supposed ally, does give a greater sense of Xenakis’ aims. Listening to this work, not in terms of formalistic musical composition, (harmonic progression, chordal structure etc), but instead as a psycho-mathematical creative engagement by an extraordinary man with the specifics of an extraordinary multi-sensory violence, indicates commonalities with such other real-world elements of sound art discourse as musique concrete, and Cageian ‘all sound’.

The next piece to be presented is ‘Kotos’, a work from 195x inspired by the concept of ‘l’effect combine’

-sky
-clouds
-ocean

The solo cello piece begins.

There is intense listening happening in the room. Some eyes are closed. Heads are bent, almost in prayer. Hands on mouths, stifling speech perhaps. The speech of oneself, and that of others. All silenced in front of such a troubled life, half a face destroyed by Churchill.

Someone’s stomach gurgles at the end of the piece.

Applause.
“We will have a ten minute break”.

I go outside to get some air. The wind is fierce and refreshing.

Returning into the space, a 12 piece orchestra is warming up. A fantastic sound of chaos. Not so dissimilar to the last piece we heard.

People take their seats.

Near silence.

Dok A microphone is tapped. She begins to speak about the last period of his life.
Female voice, “…is this working…?”
“…Bah…I never have lunch…”

In this period Xenakis established an automated music centre where children could draw and hear resultant sound almost immediately.

Slight feedback from clip mic.

“…it’s up to you to figure out how this all fits together at the end of the night.”

Orchestra tunes up.

The performance begins.

This is wonderful sound. Spatialised, rich, co-ordinated, contradictory. Atonal. Acoustic.

Someone’s stomach gurgles during a dramatic pause.
Warm brass swells accompanying scratchy solo violin.
Flutes, gentle over the top.
Warm brass swells with woodwind.
Syncopated flutes and clarinets.
Angular solo cello scratches at the notes.

It is rare for me to see such co-ordinated sound making.

Listening seems easy for the audience, me included.

The cellist’s intonation seems slightly off. Can I trust my ears?

Is it intended?

I am fascinated by the jerky broken toy actions of the conductor, and I do not understand how his actions relate to the sounds I am hearing.

Applause.
Male voice, “She will be signing copies of the Xenakis biography in the foyer.”

Female voice, “She should write a biography of Rohan. A fascinating life.”

Chat and shuffling as people leave.

Present in the room are Jonty Harrison, Thor Magnusson, Keith Rowe, Christina Kubisch, members of the Sonic Arts Network, various composers, sound artists and students. Sound art discourse as embodied experience.

Keynote Address

The atmosphere is becoming more cordial in the room. People are chatting more with each other.

Rajesh began his professional career as an Acoustic Engineer and developed an interest in modern architecture and the acoustics of particular buildings. He has an interest in mapping and visual art, alongside a background in music, playing the trumpet. He began to approach his instrument as a modifiable architecture, a structure in which to intervene, and he has, over the years, developed a number of techniques to extend the trumpet using pipes, lamps, mutes and slides.

In the early 21st century his visual art began to intersect with the architectural drawings to which he was being exposed, and developed into meta-compositional scores, which he describes as ‘imaginational maps’.

This dynamic between score, instrument, architecture, space, and movement came together in a collaborative project called ‘Sounding Buildings’.

A-V technician wearing a headset is instructing a camera operator.

Mutter. Mutter.
playback > > DVD of the Film Project ‘Sounding Buildings’, MIT

Snik, Snik, SNik. DVD play.

Female voice – AhhHHh. Modulations in tone. No words.

Flute overlay.

DVD snik, snik – Screen and sound frozen for 3 seconds.

Rattle.                     Drone.
Insect type sounds.

Palimpsest video. Static buildings, maps.

Overlayed textures.

Arrhythmic rattles.

Difference video overlay.

Skratch.                 Scatta.                 Squiggle.

Tambourine. Tap and shake.

Drum tap lo.

Violin glissandi. Microtonal variations.

Rhythm disappears.

Cello. Lo glissandi. And Pluck.

Rainstick.

Triangle.

Brass. Buzzy Swells. Almost as analogue synth resonant sweep.

Lo bowed strings.

Some suggestion of trumpet tonality.

Fade out. Screen transition to black.

Rajesh describes the importance of the DVD as an integrating medium. Video compositing and the synchronisation of audio and visual material acted as a ‘glue’ between disparate domains; namely the architecture of sound, derived from drawing notated scores and the architecture of environments. His concerns at this time were the historically reoccurring interest in possible synaesthetic translations from the visual to the audible domains.

He goes on to a more detailed discussion of his strategies with regards to his score making, and his development of a multidimensional approach in keeping with his architectural concerns. The scores he has developed address pitch, rhythm, melodic ornamentation, and spatial trajectories thorough the performance space.
“The music is constructed from a map – like an architect”.

Alongside this architectural construction of sound, is a complementary and contradictory deconstruction of the architecture of his instrument. He demonstrates his hybrid trumpet experiments; by removing the slides from the trumpets pipes, its sound becomes a spatialised simultaneity, operating both forwards and backwards, and also existing in a newly acknowledged immanence, surrounding the composer/performer alerting the audience to a reinvigorated engagement with the specifics of space.

He presents us with DVD documentation of a realisation of the project which occurred in Cork (year? Specifics?).

playback > >

ding DVD auto resume.

The camera moves through a modern art gallery at night, picking out the shadows of audience members moving freely through the space, and the illuminated faces of musicians and sound artists distributed throughout the gallery space.

Female voices. Reverberant in space.
Muted trumpet.
Electronics and laptop.
Kaospad. Version 2.
Bass trumpet.
Stratocaster. Highly effected and transformed.

Droney.

Shruti.

Tone Generator.

Toys.

“Different happenings all over the building. It’s hard to capture everything that was going on over 4 floors”.

Applause.

Questions from the floor.

“How much were you hearing when you were drawing?”

“…a conscious choice about language, a monkey going up and down, and this takes time…”.

“…it was done very freely…”.

“It was mixed, but it was nice to be in a system that existed before and after listening”.

Rajesh expands upon this point and relates it to Hindi music theory, where ‘nada’, the struck sound, complements ‘anhatanada’, the unstruck sound. This ‘before sounding’ provides the metaphysical basis for sound-making within the culture from which his family originates.

“We’ll leave it there.”

Applause.

Lecture Theatre, MacRobert Building. University of Abderdeen

This presentation concerns Streaming Media and Network Radio. Of particular interest to me is the selection of two of my case studies as examples, namely Negativeland and Sam Auinger (other artists selected by Byrne are Katherin Roggla, Bruce Russell and x.y)

playback > > Background level of unknown track

Byrne begins his tracing of the topic with the over-familiar citation of Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto for Radio, La Radio from 1933. This vision is criticised for its rather utopian scope, and the discussion moves on to a consideration of broadcast as a medium and the essential tension between the visionaries of radio, such as Marinetti, and the political reality facing such artists when working in such a capital intensive domain. Early on in the radio’s history, studios and stations became rapidly centralised, moving away from the participatory, many-to-many networks imagined by Marinetti, to become fetishised centres for the dissemination of dominant discourse to societies being organised to maximise consumption and production. Artists who chose to work in this medium worked under highly restricted parameters, including such standardisations as program length, volume, subject taboos, the use of silence, restricted playlists.

E.g.s

Orson Wells – War of the Worlds.
Artaud – Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (1947)

Of relevance to my work, is the means by which the differences by which radio art and sound art can be distinguished. Key works in this area are Radical Radio by R.M. Schaefer (1987), and ‘Towards a Definition of Radio Art (19xx).

“Radio Art is not Sound Art, nor is it Music. It is Radio”.

“Sound Art and Music are not Radio Art just because they are broadcast on Radio”.

How can these efforts to delineate radio art practice be used to articulate similar efforts in sound art?

Keywords: Kunstradio, Austria, New American Radio.

n.b Both of these work within state infrastructure. What is the significance of this?

e.g. Negativeland – Over the Edge – KPFA, Berkeley, California.

Byrne goes on to consider how web streaming has suggested new strategies and possibilities for the medium of audio broadcast. There are questions; is internet streaming Radio Art? Is it a new form? It certainly is not radio. Let us consider the similarities and differences between the two.

This can be much expanded using Shaefer, and the Micro Radio Manifesto, Italy.

Traditional Radio
Web Broadcast
Single site
Multi-site streams
Regulated
Unregulated
Monologue
Dialogue / Trialogue
Diatope
Polytope
1 hour format
Long duration
Assimilated
Isolated
Owned
Shared
Promoting
Communing
Speakered
Screened
Through Air
Through Wires
Populist
Specialist

Questions – site of reception of both? Listening environments

Keywords

‘Radio Polyphony’ – The Thing, New York
RadioNetz, Berlin
Reboot.fm
WPS1
RadioDays
post.thing.net
Locus Sonus – audio art research group
Art Dirt Redux
Bitforms – podcast
Whitney Biennial mashup.

There is much of interest in this section, and it moves some way to explain the frustration and annoyance I felt at Hanson’s presentation. His view that the studio as object of discourse as relevant and of interest, reveals itself as an ill-informed and obsolete view of sound practice. Issues of portability, and the very examples of artists demystifying their workspaces that he presented, indicate an alternative position.

dematerialisation
influence of Fluxus, land art, Kubisch working in situ.
Sound art for mobile phones – who presented this – get paper  from Bill
Community initiatives

While the artist studio as a trope may well be in evidence in the works he presented, their relevance, and interest is limited in scope, and represents an historically entrenched position, showing little understanding of current practice.