[microsound-announce] Wade Matthews - new cd on con-v

ubeboet ubeboet at gmail.com
Mon Dec 6 06:34:48 EST 2010

HI All,

brand new album by American composer Wade Matthews.

WADE MATTHEWS - Early Summer <http://www.con-v.org/cnvcd002.html>

format: CD
duration: 44 minutes, 10 tracks
limited to 200 copies

price: 11 euros - shipping included



10 improvised sound collages by Wade Matthews

What this music is about and how it was made

These are 10 virtual soundscapes selected from among 14 made in Madrid 
in late June and early July 2009, hence the name, Early Summer. They are 
improvised sound collages, real-time assemblages of field recordings 
(manipulated to greater or lesser degrees), noises, electroquotes and 
digital synthesis. The field recordings were made over the last two 
years in the San Francisco Bay area, La Mancha, and Madrid. The noises 
were recorded at my studio in Madrid. There is one electroquote, but it 
is significantly altered and might thus more accurately be called an 
"electro-misquote." The digital synthesis was carried out in real time, 
that is, played as part of the process of improvising these pieces.

My setup contains two laptops, which I play simultaneously. The left one 
is for synthesis, the right one has all the field recordings and noises. 
The playing process involves triggering, stopping, filtering and mixing 
the recordings on the right computer while simultaneously playing the 
software synthesizer in the left computer. The results are sent to a 
pair of loudspeakers, each of which has a microphone in front of it. The 
mics are in turn sent to my recording setup. So these pieces are 
recorded in stereo, as is. There is no remixing and a minimum of 
touching up---basically just a couple of fades. I chose this setup, 
rather than multi-track recording, because I wanted the end result to 
really reflect the improvisatory nature of these pieces, avoiding the 
temptation to "recompose" them post-facto.

With some pieces I had a clear idea what materials I was going to work 
with and I simply began to play, triggering and stopping them according 
to how the piece evolved while simultaneously adding touches of 
synthesis, sometimes for structural reasons, other times simply as 
"sonic seasoning." With other pieces, I had only one or perhaps two 
sounds in mind and simply began playing, adding other things as the 
piece went along. In all cases, there are two elements that I find 
especially interesting about working with the medium of sound collage:

The first is the possibility of non-integrated sound spaces. In these 
pieces, each of the field recordings, noises, and synthesized sounds 
occupies its own space. The field recordings, for example, occur in 
specific acoustic conditions that are clearly audible in the recordings. 
Thus, these sound collages combine not only sounds but also sound 
spaces. The sounds often coexist in time but not necessarily in audible 
space. At any given time, a particular sound may not be audibly in front 
of, behind or beside, another sound. Instead, it may be in another space 
altogether, a more distant one, or a closer one, a more resonant space 
or a dryer one. I find this sort of spatial counterpoint very 
interesting as it brings out the paradox of sounds, many of which are 
natural, coinciding in a way that has only become possible in "nature" 
in our time. Until quite recently, if we were in a particular sonic 
environment---say one with very little resonance like the inside of a 
crowded bus---then any sound we heard there would be directly affected 
by that acoustically dry setting. Likewise, any sounds we heard in a 
large train station would be marked by its reverberance---they might be 
closer or farther away, but they would all be in that space.  Now, 
however, we can get on that crowded bus, shove a pair of earphones into 
our ears and simultaneously be listening to the bus noises and a 
recording of a string quartet performed at Carnegie Hall. The bus noises 
will enter our hearing and may even cover up the sound of the string 
quartet at some points, but the bus's acoustic conditions---its lack of 
resonance---will in no way reduce the reverberant field of Carnegie Hall 
in which we are hearing the string quartet. Likewise, the resonance of 
that hall will add no reverberation whatsoever to the bus noises. This 
coexistence of different soundspaces in our auditory field is quite new 
and so I've enjoyed exploring it here.

The second is the chance to play beyond or against memory. Here, I am 
not interested in combining things I know will work. I want to combine 
sounds that may not work. More precisely---and this is the crux of the 
matter for me---I want to combine sounds that will work in ways I had 
not discovered beforehand. It's not so much a matter of combining 
disparate materials and figuring out how to make them "work" as of using 
those unexpected combinations to redefine one's personal definition of 
what it means to "work."

One final observation about these pieces' durations: I wanted to try 
making short pieces, aphorisms that just present an idea and let each 
listener draw his or her own conclusions about its possible 
ramifications. At best---and I hope to have succeeded to at least a 
small degree---they might be taken as sonic koans.

[Wade Matthews]


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