Random thoughts about ICMC

If last night’s concert was any indication of the rest of the week, this will be a great ICMC! All of the pieces were excellent. John Appleton performed a work dedicated to Max Matthews on the radio baton. There were two very good percussion pieces. Every piece involved live electronics, and the performers did a great job. Some of the pieces were a little long, but I think that is a European thing. They probably don’t watch as much t.v. as we do.

There were two paper sessions on spatialization today. It got me thinking a lot about the topic. I think good compositions shouldn’t have to trick the mind into following sounds. The movements should come naturally to the ear. I also think good compositions shouldn’t necessitate a “sweet spot.” If more composers would take the guy sitting in the back right in front of the rear left speaker into consideration, and write what is coming out of that speaker with him or her in mind, then the overall experience of EA music would improve. The problem is that such a way of thinking is both hard and time-consuming.

One of the presenters decried that we shouldn’t think of our sounds as a point to be moved around a circle of speakers. I agree whole-heartedly, but in order to change such thinking, we need to redesign all of the software that puts our sounds as points on a plane to move around (Kyma, Logic, and Sound Hack all come to mind). Until then, I will probably continue to think in such a way.

Another of the papers invited composers to utilize modern technology to produce scores on computers that are more precise and easy to follow. I can’t help but think that if Beethoven had written the 9th symphony on his Apple IIE, then we wouldn’t be able to reproduce it today. I know I am grossly exaggerating my point, but it is something every composer should think about.

It is good to see some of my old professors. They seem to be happy and successful. I ate some great Indian food last night with Mikel Kuehn and spoke briefly to Elainie Lillios before and after the opening concert. I can’t wait to hear their pieces (still waiting for SDB to show up and take Dr. Allison and me out for a beer).


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