The Blurred Compilation Album (Track 10) Rajesh Mehta “Sounding Buildings: New Music and New Architecture”

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.



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.



Tone Generator.


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


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.”


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