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  • 28 September 2018 - 21:28

    August/September 2018 - Kickstart

    by Giuseppe Pisano

    The introductory course has given us, at once, all the main tools to start working with Ambisonics.
    In my expectations concerning the workflow transition from a stereo-based compositional method to a spatial, native multichannel one were very different. But I found myself, at the end of my second week having already more tools than I’d expected to have by the end of my first semester.
    Whether this approach is functional to my learning method I haven’t fully understood yet, but holding a liquid approach to studies doesn’t seem to be an option anymore.

    Still my motivation didn’t falter and stood ground. I started working on the development of an ambisonics version of a newly composed piece and to do that I developed a rather personal workflow which felt somehow natural but also pretty crude, not at all sophisticated.
    Working with reaper and a plug-in based approach has proven a pretty comfortable choice and I think that, as a workflow, it might offer interesting aesthetic results, especially when working with pieces like mine, but being here I also feel that I shouldn’t miss the opportunity of stepping out of my comfort zone and try out techniques that I don’t feel confident with but that can lead to many unexpected outcomes.

    September was also the month of Ultima Festival
    Besides the many interesting concerts and installations I could experience, it was also a great opportunity to get hands on setting up a speaker array for ambisonics from scratch in a concert venue.

    This was something I had been wondering about quite a lot: the political issue in composing music which can be performed only in strictly dedicated spaces.
    I’m not talking about site specific art, because that is supposed to be born from an aesthetical/intellectual/conceptual/perceptual interaction between the piece of art itself and the space where it is placed or performed. In this sense a site specific piece of art doesn’t exist without the site and the site becomes part of the art piece.
    I’m rather referring to fixed speaker arrays, built inside sound theatres, often part of major academic institution that, by the way they work, they risk to turn music experience into something intellectually elitist and that never goes out of their ivory tower.

    Knowing at this stage that it is actually possible to set up even a small array for ambisonics pretty much everywhere, and learning how ambisonics can be a pretty adaptive format that doesn’t require major modifications in the pieces when they are played on different systems, radically changed my consideration of spatial audio and made me consider it also as a potentially democratic solution for music diffusion when it is used in some situations.