“Sonic Alter Ego” by Francisco López

vida.jpgThe VIDA 10.0 AWARDS were announced recently. Francisco López (Spain) won an award for Sonic Alter Ego in the Incentives for Ibero-American Production category that helps finance art projects exploring Artificial Life (and related disciplines) that still have not been produced. Applicants must be from South America, Spain or Portugal.

The hybrid forms of the artistic proposals submitted to VIDA and the transformation of the discipline of A-Life itself have prompted the jury to consider new issues, such as the rising importance of simulation in both social life (for example, in the concept of virtual personality) and organic life (evident in the concept of “neo-organisms”).

The scope of sound creation traditionally covers two large conceptual categories: tools (instruments, software, sound materials, methods) and sound pieces (composed, improvised, random, etc.). Sonic Alter Ego is a system-concept between the said categories or, more specifically, a virtual creative entity that includes both. It will produce original, variable sound creations as a result of the interaction between the author’s criteria and the software’s working architecture. The fundamental concept of Sonic Alter Ego is not the development of a software tool for a potential user, but rather the transfer of crucial aspects of Francisco Lopez’s creative spirit to a virtual machine. Using evolutionary computation techniques, the system will gradually learn the artist’s creative criteria, such as the selection of sound material, editing choices, compositional decisions, etc. This virtual alter ego will reveal hidden or unconscious aspects of the author’s own creative spirit.

About Francisco López

Over the last twenty years Francisco López has developed an astonishing sonic universe, absolutely personal and iconoclastic, based on a profound listening of the world. Destroying boundaries between industrial sounds and wilderness sound environments, shifting with passion from the limits of perception to the most dreadful abyss of sonic power, proposing a blind, profound and transcendental listening, freed from the imperatives of knowledge and open to sensory and spiritual expansion. One of the leading figures of the international experimental underground, he has realized concerts and sound installations all over Europe and the Americas, and his work has been released by more than fifty record companies throughout the world.

Absolute Concrete Music

Over the last twenty years Francisco López has been developing a powerful and consistent world of minimal electroacoustic soundscapes, ‘trying to reach an ideal of absolute concrete music’. To date, his prolific catalog comprises more than 90 sound works, which have been released by 50 record labels from Spain, Germany, The Netherlands, France, UK, Italy, Poland, Austria, Canada and USA. He has toured extensively through Europe and America doing acousmatic performances, and he has received commissions from a number of renowned institutions and organizations, such as the Dutch and Spanish National Radios, the Goethe Institut, V2 Organization, Yale University Theater and the Ralph Lemon Company.

Through what he once called the ‘exploration of the universe of broad-band noise from the real world’, his music arises from the processing of environmental recordings. In deep contrast to the classical soundscape movement (and even despite his paradoxical past involvement with related organizations as the Environmental Tape Exchange, the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and the Nature Sounds Society), his vast activity doing field recordings all over the world (nearly 30 countries in four continents) never pursued a documentary or representational goal, but a dramatically opposite object sonore perspective.

And in this sense, the evolution of his aesthetics and conceptual background is a profound process of refinement towards an extreme musical purism, with a voluntary and forceful refusal of any visual, procedural, relational, semantic, functional or virtuoso elements. What is left is an astonishingly powerful musical essence capable of reaching both the deepest and most dreadful abyss of crude strength and the most subtle and diffuse aural edges; a complex territory of anti fast-listening where perceptual awareness and the power of naked music are strikingly rediscovered; a world where things are uneasy, unclear, unsolved and where one is forced to immerse and search. He calls it “belle confusion”. (Pedro Higueras, Sonom Studios)

Dec 6, 2007
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