**Due to the upload limit I could only upload this short 15 second clip. This is to show what it was like for a bit.
On April 28 I went to try and see a neo-classical trumpet performance but the venue had a different performance planned out instead. It was an audio engineer experimenting with electronic sounds to make music or a new sounds altogether. I decided to stay because I find the idea of experimenting with music and sounds fascinating. I bounce between thinking how pointless it may seems sometimes, and then how necessary and crucial it is to evolve in music. The focus of this performance was to improvise with a sound board on his laptop, and having that be accompanied with visuals that he recorded himself. The length of this experimental performance was 43 minutes.
Before the performance the engineer explained that the visuals were recorded beforehand and that he would play sounds and rhythm on top of the visuals. The subjects of these visuals varied greatly and how they were edited made it difficult at first to make out what they were. They were broccoli, flowers, construction sites, cranes, 50’s movie scenes, the sky, parks, people and some light show effects. He would play very random and ambient sounds on top of these visuals. The rhythm stayed consistent at common time. As he played on this time signature the music his improvised music was v heavily syncopated. The sounds were very foreign but you could hear a piano in there, some phone dial tones, and sometimes even some metal sounds. These samples were taken to their limits and back by stretching out the pitch, and modulating them up and down. These sounds were also quite sporadic. The rhythm was consistent but there were moments when the sounds and melodies went all the place. It was quite polyphonic. Overall the sound was ambient, and despite there being a lot of sounds and rhythms going on at the same time, it was still soothing. A lulling effect almost. These improvisations that lasted for a full 43 minutes lead to many different directions, and this was good because it created interesting moments. On the other hand this was bad because on an equal amount of moments I felt lost. Sometimes a change was too sudden to comprehend or make sense of.
As I listened to this piece I couldn’t stop thinking about the week that the class focused on electronic music and we discussed the Theremin, sampling a single sound, and mostly just the origins of making music through electric means to find new sounds. It felt like this piece belonged as one of the selections for a listening assignment that week. An issue that I have with this is exactly that it feels like it belongs with our pieces in the listening assignments. I was looking forward to the improvisations but quickly felt underwhelmed when it didn’t feel like something made in 2017. It felt done already, especially after the week we spent on electronic music. If anything this piece is showing the audience how the artist has grown or simply what his style was. I wouldn’t really recommend this performance simply because it already sounds like what we listened to through Youtube for our homework. Due to there being a lack of instruments or added emotion, hearing this live didn’t add much besides hearing something exclusive to that moment.
Thanks for post, Jesus!
Did you catch the composer / engineer’s name? I’m curious about who it was. (I’m also curious about the venue)
I’m also really interested in your comment about how rather “old fashioned” this music ended up sounding–like something we studied in class from the 50s even. It’s interesting how, despite all the new devices and techniques we have for sonic manipulation, some artists end up producing work that sounds the same as older works! What do you think artists should do today to create something really radically new? Anyone have ideas?
Unfortunately I didn’t catch the engineer’s name, the performance was oddly informal in some ways. The venue however was at 121 Ludlow Avenue in Manhattan.
Yes! I understand it may sound odd saying this music sounded old fashioned but that’s because I have compared his sound to others from today’s popular artists. Either from YouTube or the radio many electronic artists try to find a new sound to set them apart. When I heard the electronic music from our class I could hear how it may have influenced Daft Punk or maybe even Skrillex. Electronic Music has countless sub genres and they all sound like they have come a long way from the 50’s. What I’m trying to say is that this engineer didn’t feel like he added much back to the genre. Almost like a formula or checklist had to be fulfilled even though he was improvising. It’s also worth mentioning that in the 50’s these sounds were new at being used musically; this was experimental. Again, it felt like he was repeating an experiment that was done.
I think there is nothing wrong with repeating older works but there should come a time when each musician finds their sound. Daft Punk sampled a bunch of old works but they sound nothing like their origin. They use it almost as another instrument producing sound. Also Skrillex is worth mentioning again because of how radical his sound is electronically.