sept 16, 2003.

In my sept 6th 'Factuals'-post there was of course something of the idea that, whatever it is that separates 'sound' from 'music', the it can be traversed or shifted by means of a listener's attention (consciousness).

That is pretty Cagean.

"[Cage] formalized the performance of music to where it could be dependent on listening alone. He [...] left no sonorous (or potentially sonorous) place outside music[.]"
But "[a]t the same time, Cage made music more musical [:] that is, sound (musical sound) was not meant to carry extraneous meanings."

Douglas Kahn - Noise, water, meat, p. 164

Well, maybe for Cage sound wasn't meant to 'carry extraneous meanings', fact is: it does, and very much so. (Contrary to what Kahn is suggesting (loc.cit. p.165 & note 7, p.358) this quest for sounds in itself seems more related to Cage's 'orientalism' than being 'a measure of the degree to which [Cage] was lodged within Western art music'; I'd say it's Zen, rather than somehing Pythagorean.)
To me, many of these 'extraneous meanings' (part of which are the 'what_it_sounds_likes') are, on the contrary, of primordial importance. It is often those that I 'play with', they carry a piece along (they are as the lyrics are to songs ... maybe that is why I often think of the Sound Chronicles as 'sonic fiction', as kind of 'texts' ...)

Also there was a definite Cagean air about the three live performances I saw last friday evening in Les Voûtes. A la belle soirée, organised by the Parisian Vert Pituite label, on the occasion of the release of a collaboration CD by 4 French and 1 Japanese label.

The three live sets each featured two French musicians and a Japanese one, though at the first round I must've missed one of three, as I saw only the guitar player - guess that then must have been Norman D. Mayer - and the first of three Japanese guys (Taku Unami) grinning and laptop controlling speakers and stuff from behind a small table. On paper there was also Hugo Roussel (no input mixing board), but maybe that was behind my back and/or no input implied no output (which, just to avoid any possible confusion, of course is by no means a logical necessity).

It was Norman D. Mayer's playing that set the 'tone' for the evening and that maybe impressed me most. There was this - to me almost painfully - tensed concentration emanating from the guy, sitting there wrapped around his electric guitar ('axe'), carefully approaching its strings and pick ups, ever nearer but hardly touching, struggling to make as little sound as possible. And every now then, yes, when there was a sound, then it almost frightened, let loose but hardly ever allowed to last. Released and immediately retired again. Visually very attractive by the way. This kind of minimal/micro improvisation strikes me as being of a truly physical nature.

In the second set Kinoshita bowing his violin was by far the most intense, while Jean-Philippe Gross's table electronics produced the evening's most intriguing sounds. The set could have done without Fabrice Eglin's guitar though, whose sounds were too imposing, too many, too loud, too same ... too ego. Or maybe I was just sitting too near.

The public was very attentive, and very silent. Very un-moving as well. They allowed for the sound of traffic passing and other occassional big city noise to come fading in and out from outside the vault (voûte) and mingle with the occassional sounds escaping the grip the players held on their guitars, electronics and other stuff.

A perfect fit.

[ Next related SB-entry: fear of silence ]

tectonic plates

sept 09, 2003.

Tectonic Plates is a video/audio animation (work in progress) by Calum Stirling, "examining, in micro detail the record groove of a self made flexi-disk vinyl recording. The animation is a representation of this groove slowed down to half a revolution per minute and the corresponding pitch change in audio by running the disk at such slow speed." The preview, 80kbs realvideostream, is 3 min 40 sec.

I took the liberty to download the rm file, in order to play it in fuIl screen mode on my Tibook. It is beautiful.

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