In November I could spend my time sedimenting a bit of the overwhelming amount of information I’ve gathered in the first two months.
My trip to Napoli at the beginning of the month and my final master dissertation for my first MA in Acousmatic Music Composition acted as a break point between what I had left behind and the future to come and shape. The end result was very positive and it felt very good to celebrate it with all the people who have always supported me and with whom I’ve been sharing so many projects and thoughts.
Back in Oslo I had to work for upcoming very important appointments. At the end of the month, with the whole class, I was invited to take place SPACE 2019, a conference about spatial audio that took place at KMH in Stockholm.
There students from the Norges Musikkhøgskole, the KMH and the IEM in Graz gathered with their professor to attend a series of lectures and concerts and confront their works.
For that occasion I revised my Ambisonic version of Scie Luminosissime that I had presented earlier for the concert with Karlheinz Essl and included elevation to make it work on the dome they have at KMH.
What I found most interesting about that week were the discussions we had with Gerhard Eckel about the political status of acousmatic music (and especially spatial music) in our society and the possibility of it being a very elitist experience. What is the artist role in this sense? What technological and aesthetic solutions can we adopt to make it more available? Is it actually right to think that the accessibility of our music is just a matter of propaedeutics or is it actually true that our aesthetic niche has some solipsistic elements inbuilt?
Also I appreciated my private talk with Daniel Mayer with whom I could talk a lot about my personal aesthetic in acousmatic music and analyse strengths and weaknesses.
I was very happy about the concert in Stockholm. The rehearsal session with Natasha Barrett where we tested our pieces before and after applying a distance compensation algorithm in our decoders in Max MSP was a real revelation. It felt like wearing glasses for the first time in the morning when all the contours of the single objects get out of their blur and become solid and defined.
I’ve never listened to any of my pieces sounding as good as it did in that room. I think that is partially because of the piece I composed is very suitable for ambisonic diffusion but lots of it is due to our technical adjustments.
We left Stockholm with the idea of actually trying to repeat such experience in some different place in the years to come. I strongly hope this is going to happen.
The Making Waves project has officially started and our first week in Tbilisi was packed with activities!
I realized that my original plan of focusing on theory and ideas about how to compose using field recordings was successful only to a certain extent and drifting over a more practice based approach might have been more rewarding for both me and the students involved in the project. So after a long listening session in which I showed them old and new works which I considered relevant for the discourse about space (this session featured pieces by Barry Truax, Luc Ferrari, but also more more recent ones by Jana Winderen, Eric La Casa and Akio Suzuki) we took our recording gear and open ears and went out, in the field, testing our technological hearing.
The response was very positive. I realized that I might have spent hours describing the perceptual difference when recording with an A-B mic setup or a French pair, but explaining while actually hearing had proven to be a much more better approach.
In the field we could discuss the concepts of foreground and background, analyze the surrounding sound environment using Murray Schafer categories, talk about hi-fi and lo-fi soundscapes (a concept I don’t radically agree with but it’s always important to mention) and introduce the ideas of Geophonies, Biophonies and Antrophonies.
We also had time to listen to some of the student’s work and discuss it individually.
I was very surprised by the freshness of the compositions and the music I’ve listened. The young composers I’ve met come from the most diverse backgrounds and surely have different goals role-models for the music they make, they probably have listened to electroacoustic music marginally and they don’t have a clear idea about the development of technologies and the music associated to them, nor they have ever tried to geographically map tendencies and waves in the contemporary music field, but this for of unawareness affords another approach to experimentation, less systematic, with less footprints to follow, which I’ve enjoyed a lot.
I believe that the festival we will organize in April is gonna be a success! :)
Having the chance to actually explain to an audience all the things I’ve been learning in the past months and years is being very helpful to sediment these skills and knowledge and I feel I know more and I am more curious to research new things.