Post 16. Embodiment- The future of Electroacoustic music
In this post I would like to express my impressions from a performance of our lecture Atau Tanaka at Somerset House(1). I saw him perform with his armband instrument “Myogram”(2),(3) which is using bio signals and in particular the neuron impulses of the muscle movements to manipulate and create sounds.
On the next paragraphs I want to focus on aspects of the performance and aesthetics rather than the technical part of this instrument. My question would be how such and advances computational process can achieve an high aesthetic result, how much freedom it gives to the expression and perception of electroacoustic music and lastly if this is the future of this music gender.
Starting with the aesthetic part, from my experience using a state of art technology cannot guarantee and artistic result. Apparently there are a lot of artists who focus on the technological process more than the aesthetics. That didn’t happen on the aforementioned performance thought.
Despite the fact of the sound design the use of an instrument, which is part of the body, gives certain freedom to the performer but also has some limitations.
Freedom of controlling the sound with the most direct way and freedom of failure. Doing a mistake can be part of the procedure as the sound controlled by the movement and the movement of the body is something that occur naturally.
At the same time, this way of control the sound can be much more expressive than other means of live electronics that we have seen the last 70 years. This embodied instrument with its possibilities it is much more expressive and appealing visually than the live coding or the use of faders and knobs. After all, a good performance of a classical instrument consisted in a big part of the instrumentalist expression and way of playing and not only playing the correct notes. Controller have specific values the way that we will tern the knob doesn’t change the outcome, but in this performance what saw was a musician using his body as an instrument and to pay attention on the expression of his music.
Is this the future of Electroacoustic music?
In the past few years I have been interested on the perception of electroacoustic music. I was looking on elements that make it more appealing to a broader audience without losing its stochastic and intellectual character. After this performance I though that what is missing is the connection of the sound with the source, the liveness, the performance with the mean of someone playing an instrument. Embodied musical instruments are a way to combine these elements and give another dimension to this gender of music.
(2)Di Donato, Balandino, Bullock, Jamie, & Tanaka, Atau. (2018). Myo Mapper: A Myo Armband to OSC Mapper.