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Re: [microsound] aesthetic approach


>  Recently I have been working on compositions that form a sort of narrative.
> A narrative of 'states' perhaps is the way to explain it- where the listener
> is taken from one place to another to another yet is always experiencing in
> the first person.


>  Anyway, in this novelistic approach, I hear textures that are probably
> similar to other peoples compositions, the difference is where it begins and
> where it ends up. I don't know how it works for other people yet since only
> two have listened to excerpts.The composition is called 'Those cretan
> teenagers like me'and if someone wants to see the cover design I will
> cheerfully email it to them.


I too am interested in the narrative potential of sound/composition, though most
of what I hear that claims to work in this fashion (such as S.E.T.I.'s "Pod" and
the rest of that trilogy) typically strikes me more as set design for narrative
than actual narrative. Even what you describe seems more about the space in
which a story can occur rather than the actual story. This has led me to
consider absolutely character-less narratives without even so much as a first
person agent. Narrator-less narratives? Perhaps it's about the "story-ness of
space" itself. At any rate, I think it's an important distinction. Composing
sound-stories for first person narrators/characters strikes me as having the
same set of limitations of much virtual reality; it's all prescribed. I'd rather
be given a piece of generative software and let loose. However, I do think
there's a role for telling the stories of sound spaces that might take advantage
of concepts of narrative development, but again applied to the space itself
rather than to character-agents situated in that space.

I would suggest that the only experimental sound composers who have ever come
close to telling stories with sound are the Firesign Theater on their early
albums and James Joyce with Finnegan's Wake. Firesign Theater might strike many
here as antiquated comedy albums (and maybe they are). Of course, few folks
might consider the Wake a record album in its own right (have you ever heard the
recordings of Joyce reading from it?), though I think this is precisely the
quality of the Wake that influenced and inspired John Cage so much. Finnegan's
Wake certainly constitutes noise composition of the first order. The background
of language (noise, which is an overloaded bed of possible meanings,
(mis)interpretations, and so on) always competes with the foreground of words
and their most obvious uses. Puns, portmanteau, creative mispellings, and other
word games consistently function along the lines of generative processes.


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