World Voices Musics

World Voices Musics

Music by Warren Burt
(August-September 2019)

 

 

Composer’s notes:

This piece was commissioned by Le Tuan Hung and the Australia-Asia Foundation for the 15th Anniversary of Sonic Gallery. When he asked for the piece, Le wanted a variety of Asian sound sources to appear in the piece. (The purpose of Sonic Gallery is to highlight work that explores crossovers between Asian and Australian musical sources.) He specifically asked for some samples from the UVI World Suite, which is a sample set with a very wide assortment of sampled instruments and phrases from all over the world. Around this time, I also noticed that there were a number of iPad apps which featured sounds of some, or many, instruments from different countries as well. What finally got me going on the piece was noticing a little “drum machine” app from UVI called Beathawk, which could play a fairly large subset of the phrases from the UVI World Suite library. Beathawk was also an app in what is called the AUv3 format, which means that you can have more than one of them operating at a time. For this piece, I made 2 tracks where in
each I had three instances of Beathawk, each with 16 different sampled phrases in it. This meant that I could have 48 different phrases available at a time. I selected these randomly using a sequencer/control program called Quantum. Doing this twice, with a different collection of samples for each track, gave me two tracks of collaged “world-music”  samples – a total of 96 different samples in all. To this I added sounds from instrument-specific apps, such as Gender (sampled gamelan phrases), iShala (sampled timbura, swarmandal, and tabla phrases), Taqs.im Synthesizer (sampled Arabic drumming phrases) and Streemur, which is an app which will look for random short-wave broadcasts which are also carried over the internet. With that, I recorded speech in about 20 different languages – I think Hungarian was the main language I picked up that day, but there were a wide variety of languages represented. English appears only once, I think, and although for all the other language fragments, I used random processes to determine where they appeared in the piece, I chose to place that one at the end. The careful listener will quickly be able to tell why. The raw tracks for the piece were made entirely on my iPad pro, and were then transferred to my computer for final mixing. (I could have done the mixing on the iPad as well, but I felt much more comfortable with my computer-based mixing program. Why be fetish-isticly pure with your technology if your subject matter is from such a wide variety of sources?)

Knowing that using a wide variety of samples from many world cultures, and short-wave broadcast fragments of many different languages could be seen to be at least a “nod” in Karlheinz Stockhausen’s direction, I decided to amplify the reference even more by having the Beathawk tracks occasionally ring-modulated in the Elastic FX app. (In Stockhausen’s “Telemusik” he frequently has one sample ring-modulating another, or has a sample ring-modulated by an oscillator. This has the effect of producing distortions and transpositions of the samples, widening the timbral
palette even further.) The end result, though, doesn’t sound much like Stockhausen’s music – this piece has a thick texture that Stockhausen usually avoids. And I think I’m much more aware of the humorous side of the semiotics of the different sounds I’m using – that is, I don’t think I’m here doing a hymn of praise to technologically mediated multi-cultural activity (as Stockhausen does in “Telemusik”), but rather, having fun with the cultural combinations that result from my thick mix. So for example, a Chinese er-hu tune backed up by a Cuban piano riff mixed with a couple of Hungarian sports broadcasters seems not so much “Global-Village-y” as either just plain funny, or, if you happen to live in, for example, Melbourne (and especially being a frequent user of the public transport system here), normal. And the pace of change here is pretty relentless -if we are, for example, living in a metaphor of a number of world-radio stations being accessed at once, then the tuning dials are moving awfully fast, in a continuous manner. This is now not so much amazing as it is simply the world we live in. Listening to the piece now, several weeks after completing it, I’m actually impressed by the transparency of the mix. What had seemed really intense and dense to me when I was composing it, now sounds quite genial and relaxed. I hope you enjoy listening to my algorithmically assembled juxtapositions of fragments from around the world as much as I did in making them.

Music and texts © by Warren Burt 2019

An Australia Asia Foundation’s commission for the 15th Anniversary of Sonic Gallery (2004-2019)

In the Canopy: Meditations from Paparoa and Kapiti Island (Part 1)

In the Canopy: Meditations from Paparoa and Kapiti Island (Part 1)

Sarah Peebles, electroacoustic (2005; 2014 remix)

 

Composer’s notes:

In the Canopy was inspired by my experiences recording birds and bees in Aotearoa/New Zealand, by various people I met on my journeys there, and by sounds I encountered in Singapore and Canada en route to Aotearoa. A Māori concept shared with me by Gary Millan in Paraparaumu, across from Kapiti Island, especially resonated with my experiences gathering recorded sounds there: “That which is just beyond our perception,” an English translation of a concept within the Māori Ngā kete wānanga (Baskets of Knowledge). It reflects the essence of my experiences listening to birds and insects that were all around me, but seemingly invisible, and spending long, focused periods of time on the land while recording or simply being; taking time. The idea of pollinators became important to me, since historically many varieties of birds and only a handful of indigenous bee species were responsible for pollinating many of the flowering plants in Aotearoa. Those native bees are all solitary ground nesters, whose biology differs from the European honey bees and bumble bees later introduced from Europe. I began to wonder about that unique mix of indigenous pollinators, how it had come into being and how these native birds and bees and the plants that they’ve coevolved with have been affected since the first human presence in these islands.

 

In the Canopy is a 40-minute work in three parts and was commissioned by Radio New Zealand/Te Reo-Irirangi o Aotearoa for the programme “RPM” (produced by Matthew Leonard), with assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts. Composed at Studio Excelo in Toronto, 2003-2005. Full 40-min initial mix posted at sonus.ca. Part 1 remix assisted by Darren Copeland and released on Delicate Paths – Music for Shô | たおやかな歩み 笙の音 (unsounds 42U, 2014) | Sarah Peebles with Evan Parker, Nilan Perera, Suba Sankaran. SOCAN for Canada / ASCAP for the World except Canada (Peebles)

Delicate Paths CD cover

About the artist:

Sarah Peebles is a Toronto-based American composer, improviser and installation artist. She gathers and transforms environmental and found sound for live performance, radio and multi-channel contexts, performs the shō (the Japanese mouth-organ), and creates habitat installations which prominently feature sound. Her distinctive approaches to shō improvisation and composition, which include acoustic and digitally processed performance, draw from gagaku (Japanese court orchestra music), microtonality and psychoacoustic phenomena of this unusual instrument. Peebles’ installation practice focuses on BioArt which explores the lives of native wild bees, pollination ecology and biodiversity. Her activities span Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia and include collaborations with a wide variety of musicians, writers and artists.

For more information on the artist, please visit her homepage: Sarah Peebles homepage

© 2014 by Sarah Peebles

MusicSafari 2: The Sun Palace by Philip Blackburn

The Sun Palace
The Sun Palace is a captivating experimental music-film about tuberculosis in the pre-antibiotics era by composer, environmental sound-artist, and filmmaker Philip Blackburn.

“Another time. Another plague.

The Sun Palace (62 mins running time, HD video) is an epic visual and musical homage to the era, not too long ago, when tuberculosis consumed the nation. 80% of the populace had been infected and were one bloody cough away from a desperate prognosis. X-Rays were brand new. Antibiotics were four decades in the future.

While inspired by many actual stories, anecdotes, details, and events, The Sun Palace is not a documentary or a single narrative so much as a dreamlike, hallucinatory, sensory environment in which we can imagine ourselves lost in medical history. Just as the original patients may have felt. Part experimental documentary, part music video on steroids, and part multi-sensory, multi-narrative pile-up. Every element is derived from actual events and details. It is mysterious, occasionally disturbing while offering an appreciation for the kindness of nurses, the barbaric ingenuity of doctors, and the fervent desire for life of the lungers and wheezers…” (http://thesunpalace.org/)

The Sun Palace by Philip Blackburn:

For more information about Philip Blackburn and his works: Philip Blackburn’s Homepage

 

MusicSafari 1: Peter Vogel and the Sound of Shadows

Peter Vogel and the Sound of Shadows

Peter Vogel (born 1937) is a German artist who creates interactive electronic sculptures, including soundwall, shadow orchestra, and interactive objects. He has manually created beautiful sculptures made of electronic circuits of photocells, transistors and capacitors which response to sound, light or movements in musical ways.

The sound objects of Peter Vogel blur the boundaries between fine art and performance traditions. His works question established relationships between sculpture and sound, seeing and hearing, the static and the live, as well as challenging the place of sound within the historiography of gallery spaces.

They combine the open form sensibilities of interactive multimedia with an almost classical visual aesthetic that emphasises clean lines, balanced forms and delicate structures. The exhibition celebrates the work of Vogel as influential, and pioneering the emergence of contemporary sound art practices“– Jean Martin.

Peter Vogel’s soundwall, shadow orchestra, and interactive objects can be viewed at:

Vogel Exhibition

“Peter Vogel – The Sound of Shadows”, a Pre-published part of the video documentary about Peter Vogel explaining his work in his atelier in Freiburg i.B., South-West Germany, by Jean Martin and Conall Glees: