Newsletter – September 2007

banner2.jpgWelcome to the fifth issue of Networked Music Review Newsletter, a monthly review of some of the many events archived on Networked_Music_Review [to receive this via email, subscribe here].

Once again sound projects have played a major role in the posts. There were numerous sound art festivals such as ctrl_alt_del in Turkey and Audiospace 2007. You can listen to Audiospace’s received submissions, including one performed by Second Life’s Avatar Orchestra at the above URL.

And there were a number of individual sound works, some of them strange and funny such as Tyler Freeman’s wearable drum pants and Calle Rosenqvist’s Beat Dress, a luminous dress that pulses according to the rhythm of the music.

Other projects introduced new sounds and new ways of hearing sounds. EarthSpeaker, a set of outdoor sculptures by Jeff Feddersen, for instance, absorbs solar power and releases amplified VLF sounds from outer space lightening and human generated waves; Harnessing Wild Electricities from Outer Space, an experiment performed by Thomas Ashcroft introduced his audience to the direct conduction and capture of Radio Emissions from Jupiter during an Io-pass; Nox Matter, a joint installation by Franco-italian artist Lorella Abenavoli and Quebec artist-researcher Nicolas Reeves investigates the potential of two unusual materials: darkness and silence; while the terrestrial installation, Sonic Marshmallow – inspired by the early sound mirrors built between the two world wars as early attempts at detecting incoming enemy planes – allows people standing in front of the white cylinders to hear each other’s whispers 60 metres over the pond that separates them.

There were some truly wonderful sound artists whose work was reported on in this month’s NMR, among them Yolanda Harris, whose focus over the last ten years has been on the relations between sound, image and space through technologies of communication and navigation.

But the posts weren’t all about sound. The future of music was an issue as well. Gert Leonard wrote about the decline in CD sales as symptomatic of the technological changes impacting the “sell-sell-sell” music industry. “Web 2.0,” he says, “is a canvas that allows information to be put up, shared, changed, and remixed. It’s about the interaction, the send-and-receive options that make it useful and ‘special’. And in music, it’s always been about interaction, about sharing, about engaging … not Sell-Sell-Sell right from the start … Stop the sharing and you kill the music business – it’s that simple.

More interesting to me, and I hope to others, than the future of what had been a very greedy business, is the future of music itself. There are a growing number of posts where an interest in 3D space is shown to be altering the musical experience, making music / sound a spatial experience generated by its users. In the sound work of Adam Nash in Second Life, for instance: Nash works primarily in networked real-time 3D spaces, exploring them as live audiovisual performance spaces. An avatar literally creates the piece (composition) as he / she walks or flies through its multi-layered space.

Elsewhere too one can see the blurring of boundaries between music and other disciplines, particularly architecture. Mix House is an example. While Mix House, the work of architects Karen Van Lengen and Joel Sanders, and composer / sound artist Ben Rubin, exists only as a design and one animation, which you can see on NMR, it “cohesively incorporates cutting-edge technologies and traditional acoustic principles to create a home that constructs and frames audiovisual scenes, both inside and outside the house, making locations near and far both visible and audible, thereby enhancing the individual’s sensory experience of the domestic landscape. Also see NOX Son-O-House, a public pavilion that allows people to not just hear sound in a musical structure, but also to participate in the composition of the sound.

Leonardo Music Journal has put out a call for articles on the subject; Why Live? Performance in the Age of Digital Reproduction that suggests some uneasiness about changes now occurring. I’m sure we’ll be writing about them in the future.

Finally, this month’s entries also included an interesting interview by NMR blogger, Peter Traub, with Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, whose multimedia pieces combine aspects of sculpture, cinema, sound installation, and Cardiff and Miller talk about their collaborative process – they have been working together since 1990.

Oct 9, 2007
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Networked_Music_Review (NMR) is a research blog that focuses on emerging networked musical explorations.


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