Last weekend I attended the thirteenth edition of the Sonic Acts festival. This year’s theme was “The Poetics of Space”. I heard some interesting pieces of music, lots of noise (literally), saw a lot of abstract moving images and a few interesting lectures.
I found some of the Saturday sessions especially interesting. Barry Truax gave a lecture on acoustic space and composing with the environment. Barry is well known for his electroacoustic and computer music and was part of the World Soundscape Project group (pictured above), a group founded by R. Murray Schafer at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver to research the changes in the sonic environment. He also created the first implementation of real-time granular synthesis in 1986.
During his lecture he spoke about how spaces influence sounds, how sound have spaces inside them and how we can use this in compositions. When you record a sound, you automatically record the space around that sound as well, so in Barry’s words:
Each sound tells us where it has been.
We were treated to some beautiful sound examples on the eight-channel system (“Eight channel is the new stereo”), including a preview of his newest work Challice Well, which was played later that day in its full length at Paradiso.