Tuesday, August 21, 2018 General

Today August 21 is the birthday of:

More recent and upcoming birthdays:

Work Premieres

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 In Concert

Current & Upcoming Events

Tuesday, August 21, 2018 In Concert
  • June 15 – September 14, 2018: GuteLjaudKarte 2018: @ Gotland: David Berezan; Vanessa Massera; Benjamin Thigpen; David Bird; Sasha Ratcliffe; Zuriñe F Gerenabarrena.
  • June 30 – September 1, 2018: Sound Travels 2018: 20th Festival of Sound Art
    As part of Sound Travels Presented by NAISA
    South River (Ontario, Canada)
  • August 22 – 26, 2018: Mutek 2018: 19th Music, Sound and New Technology
    Presented by Mutek
    Montréal (Québec)
  • August 23 – 26, 2018: Futura 18: 26
    Presented by Futura
    Crest (Drôme, France)
  • September 3 – 9, 2018: KCMD DME Electroacoustic Composition Masterclasses: Kyiv Contemporary Music Days — Dias de Música Electroacústica: Annette Vande Gorne, Jaime Reis
    Kiev (Ukraine)
  • September 6 – 10, 2018: Ars Electronica Festival 2018: “Error — The Art of Imperfection”
    As part of Ars Electronica Festival Presented by Ars Electronica
    Linz (Austria)
  • September 6 – 15, 2018: Spectra v2: 2: Festival internacional de música electroacústica: Natalia Valencia Zuluaga, Scott Wilson, Catalina Peralta, Annette Vande Gorne, Rodrigo Sigal, Susan Campos-Fonseca…
    Bogotá (Colombia)
  • September 20 – 22, 2018: Crak #7
    Presented by Crak
    Paris (France)
  • September 26 – 29, 2018: Visiones Sonoras 2018: 14 Festival Internacional de Música y Nuevas Tecnologías
    As part of Visiones Sonoras Presented by CMMAS
    Morelia (Mexico)
  • September 27 – 30, 2018: SICMF 2018: 25th Seoul International Computer Music Festival
    As part of SICMF Presented by KEAMS
    Seoul (Republic of Korea)

Tampura Timbres

Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector, July 29, 2018
Sunday, July 29, 2018 Press

Last heard from English composer Manuella Blackburn with 2012’s Formes audibles, apparently her debut release, where Stuart Marshall was very taken with her “fresh and authentic… manner of articulation.” Today’s excellent release on the same label is Petites étincelles (empreintes DIGITALes, IMED 17147), and surveys five works dated from 2012 to 2017, each one evidence of a very sensitive and intelligent approach to sound manipulation and highly respectful of the source objects she’s captured them from.

Take Javaari, based on samples from sitar playing. She’s homing in on particular details of the physical instrument (the bridge, the buzzing sound of the strings), and creating a kaleidoscopic arrangement to highlight these aspects that interest her. This is based on her understanding of the culture of the instruments and the musicians that play it, even if the results are so heavily re-ordered to sound like no sitar music ever heard before. It’s a bold coup to create such a radical reinvention of Indian music, yet without once departing from its core truths.

Ice breaker, derived from the sound of ice cubes dropping into water, is likewise founded on a firm understanding of physics and what actually happens, scientifically speaking, for the ice to create that cracking and popping effect. Starting from these basic facts, Blackburn is very clear about what sound she wants to capture, what phenomenon she wishes to demonstrate. The overlays of bubbling and fizzy liquids are used to underscore this fact, and are not simply there for decoration. Net result, one of the most “realistic” sound-portraits of ice and water yet to be heard; which takes some doing, given how over-used this trope has been in the field of electro-acoustic composition.

Then there’s Snap happy, the most recent piece on this set, created from the sounds of cameras. One of Blackburn’s interests is in “the miniature”, by which she means small sounds and events which are barely perceptible; she doesn’t boast about the power of her microphones or the technology needed to capture such things, but she does discourse like an expert about different makes of vintage cameras, in one compacted paragraph of notes. The old Kodak Brownie from the 1940s had “much heavier clicks and clunks” than more recent cameras, and she seems to be very conversant with these internal mechanisms. You get the feeling she could understand any given device by opening it up and examining it, probing with inquisitive fingers. She likes the way old cameras used mechanics to wind on the film, and these sounds feature heavily here. This piece also muses on the way that modern digital cameras use sound effects to mimic these old sounds, even though there’s no need for them to do so (Come to that, why don’t word-processors imitate the sounds of a typewriter?).

Also here, Time will tell, derived from clocks and continuing the theme of miniatures, Newtonian mechanics, and interest in common domestic objects; and New Shruti, another composition starting from knowledge of classical Indian music and this time exploring the shruti box / tampura. Here, as throughout the entire album, Manuella Blackburn’s skills in assembling microscopic fragments of sound into a coherent whole are evidence of her genius; there’s craft and skill in her mosaics, but also much instinct, and the aim is to create beautiful music rather than simply demonstrate digital techniques. Blackburn seems to have a profound understanding of things, of objects; is able to apprehend their inner workings with precision and accuracy; and this skill may in turn help her to decode other signs, to understand something about the workings of the world. A truly excellent set which I recommend.

Manuella Blackburn’s skills in assembling microscopic fragments of sound into a coherent whole are evidence of her genius…

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