Olivia Webb’s Voices Project

On this particular sunny mid-winter’s day, walking up to the ruins of the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Lyttelton, Aotearoa New Zealand, one would have been met with a peculiar mise en scène, framed through the wire mesh barricades that have become a familiar part of the rebuilding furniture of post-earthquake Canterbury. Four speakers on stands straddle centre stage with a new (old), transplanted weatherboard church to the left; torn plastic sheets fluttering in its still glassless windows; and behind it all the lovely vistas of Whakaraupo. It’s quiet apart from the mild breeze until the four speakers spark up, multilayered with laughter, people talking and what appear to be vocal exercises for a choir – and so the work begins….

A review of Olivia Webb’s Voices Project.

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On the Non-Cochlearity of the Sounds Themselves

What is non-cochlear sound? This open question is followed by way of an initial explication of the psychophysiology of audition. Non-cochlearity in sound is posited firstly in terms of synaesthesia and the skin and body cavity reception of infrasonic and low frequency sound waves. The auditory imagination is a further example that can produce a perception of sound without any direct acoustic stimulation of either the ear or skin and body. However, one’s imagination still retains a relation to the sounds of the world we live in. From a phenomenological perspective this worldly relation is a fundamental characteristic of sound as something that is heard. On this basis the causality associated with empirical accounts of auditory perception as a product of biological processes are contrasted with an interrogation of sound qua sound. It is posited that the sounds themselves are non-cochlear in the sense of being non-physical phenomena disclosed in the lived experience of hearkening to the meaningful sounds one hears in the world.

Download the proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference 2012 in Ljubljana Slovenia

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This paper explores the potential for an organicist or relational holistic approach to experimental electroacoustic music composition that is indeterminate with respect to performance. It follows a phenomenological interpretation of the musical work as the product of dynamic, temporal or relational processes involving the performers, their instruments, the sounds themselves, the whole acoustic space and the audience. An analysis of an electroacoustic composition and Decibel ensemble performance is offered for which organic indeterminacy is described in terms of a performative openness towards the creation of experimental music.

Presented at the Australasian Computer Music Conference 2011 in Auckland NZ

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