[microsound-announce] Vague Terrain 19: Schematic as Score

Derek Holzer derek at umatic.nl
Sun May 1 19:53:43 EDT 2011

Vague Terrain 19: Schematic as Score
Online 02 May 2011

Over the past few years, a strong reaction against the sterile world of 
laptop sound and video has inspired a new interest in analog processes, 
and a fresh exploration of the pioneers of the electronic arts during 
the pre-digital era of the 1960s and 1970s. Artists and inventors such 
as Nam June Paik, Steina & Woody Vasulka, Don Buchla, Serge Tcherepnin, 
Dan Sandin and David Tudor all constructed their own unique instruments 
long before similar tools became commercially available or freely 
downloadable--often through a long, rigorous process of self-education 
in electronics.

John Cage once quipped that Serge Tcherepnin's synthesizer system was 
"the best musical composition that Serge had ever made", and it is 
precisely Cage's reformulation of the concert score from a list of 
deterministic note values to a set of indeterministic possibilities that 
allowed the blurring of lines between instrument-builder and music 
composer that followed.

The current issue of Vague Terrain, curated and edited by Derek Holzer, 
features an eclectic range of young, contemporary artists who have 
revisited and expanded upon the philosophies and works of this earlier 
generation. Operating at the extreme edges of the DIY electronics scene, 
builder-composers such as Peter Blasser, Jason R. Butcher, Moritz 
Ellerich, Lesley Flanigan, Martin Howse, the Loud Objects (Kunal Gupta, 
Tristan Perich and Katie Shima), Jessica Rylan and Synchronator (Bas van 
Koolwijk & Geert-Jan Prins) all represent some of the most radical and 
idiosyncratic artistic approaches to creative circuitry of the moment. 
Their compositions take the form of systems which provide a map of what 
is possible, but lack a prescribed route on how to get there. The 
discovery—-and the risk—-is left to the moment of the performance.

Derek Holzer

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