Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Notes on Brandon LaBelle's Background Noise:Perspectives on Sound Art


sound is relational. sound art involves the interrogation of sound as artistic medium while teasing out relational lessons.

spatiality - sound in all places at once, among bodies, never private.
site-specificity: late 1960s, 1970s. self conscious of surroundings also phenomenology.
Young, Orris and Asher.
cage developed a form of critical practice.

Fade In

Dancing in Peckham by Gillian Wearing. oblivious dancer in a supermarket - movement
captures oscillation between self and world. attempts to be oblivious.

Chapter 1

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sensual forms of sharing music

in the musician's more intimate space, the sonic aura surrounding the body, breathing and incidental sounds of the bow rubbing the strings, the brushing of fingers along the fretboard, the pressing of the brass keys , etc. become adorable. A bit further away, body language and the sound meld into a counterdance - opposed to the audience, or sometimes reflecting them as if in a mirror.

Also electronic musicians must generate respectable loudness in order to maintain a safe distance from fans. At the farthest extreme, kilowatt speaker and megawatt radio stations keep listeners far away from real life. Yet there are two listeners per body:

The internal dialogue of the listener, hearing but not revealing publicly. Connecting lyrics to memories.

The external listener. We listen differently in groups, just as we move differently in groups. In groups, the messages of music differ, reflecting an intimate democracy which requires increased cooperation. Negotiations over volume level, radio station and concert venue ensue. Dances are organized, beach towels spread.

With respect to electronic music, certain sensual qualities have been overlooked. The center of portable processing power, the laptop, has been endowed with tiny speakers. The next generation of electronic instruments must respond to this, producing pleasurable sensations. They must be loud enough. Until now, inefficient electronics have hampered electronic exertion instruments. Today, I ordered a small assortment of switching power regulators to enable the next generation.