Friday, May 14, 2010

theoretical show

The viewer gets to hear each piece as performed in its original environment, in the environment of its successors, and in the environment of the work that preceded it and was inspired by. They literally explore the history of ambient music at their own pace, context, and desired order. 5 directional speakers are placed on two adjacent walls, forming a grid of 25 contexts – 5 for each sound piece. Strictly speaking, the show is composed of 10 selections: 5 song selections representing the evolution of ambient music to the present, and recordings of the environment that each song was first performed in. The directional speaker allows the listener to travel through the gallery as a viewer would, moving from piece to piece without having to wear headphones or be contained in a booth to maintain a pure sound quality. The speakers playing the environment are the first the listener encounters upon entering the room; this is to establish a where before the listener experiences the what. Since the pieces are the main focus, it’s important that the listener recognizes the place in history before the pieces that inhabit them.

John Cage - 4’33
What can get more ambient than silence? Cage poses the radically new idea of what sounds are and what music is doing in response/in concert with those sounds.

Raymond Scott - Tin Soldier – Soothing Sounds For Baby
Father of the ambient musician’s tools. Heavily researched the concept of “electronically updating the sounds around us” via consumer products that produced electronic chime when used. He invented the synthesizer, and directly influenced the invention of the moog.

Brian Eno – Music For Airports 1/1 – Ambient 1
Inventor of the genre ambient music, defining it as “low-volume music designed to modify one’s perception of a surrounding environment.” Music for Airports was the first album to carry the title, and was designed as a sound installation in the Marine Air Terminal of New York’s LaGuardia Airport to defuse the tense, anxious atmosphere.

Richard D. James – Windowlicker – Windowlicker EP
Redefined ambient music, using a different approach to the creation of the music itself and not just the composition. He introduces texture: computer glitch noises, digital sound artifacts, effected tones of motors, machines, and other found sounds all densely layered compositions that move away from the somewhat cold smooth sound of those before him.
Windowlicker is the first of his songs to breach popular culture and make it into the mainstream.

Animal Collective – Doggy - Campfire Songs
Selected for the influence of ambience – environment – into a different genre. Shows how far the influence of these artists can spread. Campfire Songs is a concept album created with the idea of songs that sound “really warm and inviting-sounding”. Ambient sound of the screen porch in Maryland was recorded during the performance and mixed in later to make it “sound like how a campfire feels.”

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