From March until June 2016, 4DSOUND and the Electronic Music & Media Programme of the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music are hosting three young talented Hungarian composers as Artists-in-Residence at the Spatial Sound Institute. The residencies allow composers Adam Krasz, Szakál Farkas Soma and Bálint Laczkó to explore their artistic signatures in working with spatial sound, and to gather extensive experience with the challenges of the medium, such as dealing with large amount of speakers output channels, the characteristics of omnidirectional diffusion and comparing and exploring different possible approaches to sound processing and interface design for a spatial sound setup. The new spatial compositions resulting from the residencies will be premiered this thursday during the concert programme 4DSOUND: Points on the Curve.
Following on his previous experience in the field, Adam Krasz was initially thinking about generating a 45-channel piece going straight to the direct speaker outputs of the system. After experiencing the 4DSOUND system and its capabilities, he decided to overwrite his plans and think of the space as a whole. Krasz: "The most interesting part of the system is that each sound has a different texture and quality depending on where the audience is located. I came up with the idea to use the space as a classical orchestra and induce a feeling that the musicians with their instruments are moving unrealistically in the space by making fast spatial movements up and down and disappearing in the distance. This concept was inspired by previous work of Penderecki and György Ligeti."
He started to collect geological and instrumental sounds and finally arrived at a much more simple spatial narrative merging artificial and organic sounds together into a granular, minimalistic experience. Krasz: " By allowing long-streched repetitive rhythms I intend to motivate the audience to explore the piece spatially. In conjunction I am creating a visual sculpture in the space to let the audience immerse in the spatial idea that is expressed in the sound on a deeper level." The resulting sculptural work 'Strukturen' consists of a smaller space within the space, made out of semi-transparant foil. By creating an acoustically and visually separated zone, the psychological notion of the sounds and their behaviour in space is challenged and their meaning for the listener could be altered, dependent on which perspective you take in relation to the space(s).
After long years of playing piano and trying out different experiments participating in hacklabs and programming in Processing and Supercollider, Szakál Farkas Soma ended up at ZKM in Karlsruhe in March this year, where he experienced 4DSOUND for the first time. According to Szakál it is impossible to split sound's spatiality from the physical space a performance takes place in. He reckons 4DSOUND offers the possibility to articulate different spatial qualities and a more vivid spatial experience depending on the location of the sound sources. This is what he intends to use as a base of his piece. After analysing the capabilities of the system he started to compose spatial counterpoints, focusing on each sound object acting with different speed and their collision and interference with each other. As a base he used recorded sounds from a junk heap - trash heap - and these many micro gestures are treated in variations of groups and finally exfoliate into 'Kinetics' - a piece with it’s own evolving unpredictable narrative.
Szakál used ProTools as his Audio Workstation to compose the piece, and integrated the control of the 4DSOUND system through OSC messaging in his arrangement using the Max driven plug-in ToscA. This setup allowed him to work on very detailed audio editing directly integrated with multiple spatial parameters which are meticulously automated.
As long as he is composing, and even in his stereo pieces, Bálint Laczkó has always been highly focused on creating something he calls 'extraordinary spatiality'. During his studies at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music he built a patch with which he can control the spatial parameters of his sound phenomena with hand-gesture movements, keyboard, mouse and the touchscreen of his mobile phone. During his residency, Laczkó used this patch to generate sound scenes of 8-channel audio material, which are first organized as a coherent group of sound sources in the 4DSOUND system and played simultaneously, and are then mixed up, shattered and spread through the space.
Laczkó: "In my previous piece called 'Times of Change II' my intent was to create a very slow morphology of melodies and short but dense musical forms into a lengthened performance in where the sound material would blend into one coherent sound unit." With his explorations of the 4DSOUND system his aim is to consider that the audience is moving and meanwhile let the morphing sound blocks catch the audiences interest. In the newly created work 'Streams' he is using three strictly divided monophonic sound blocks which are slowly melting together into a new whole thanks to a pre-planned positioning technique that he will control live on stage. "Although the space is big this time, The audience will recognize separated sound entities, roughly each square meters will have its own personality. During a process stretched over 20 minutes of time, the whole will fall apart into sound particles and shatter. This changes in the structure of the sound materials are also a call to the audience to keep moving on and explore different dimensions." All the sounds used in 'Streams' are created by Bálint using his cello and a guitar.
We can't wait to hear all of this during the upcoming edition of 4DSOUND: Points on the Curve, Thursday 9th of June, starting 19:30. The artists will talk about their work the day before during a conference exploring the past, present and future of spatial music organized at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, Wednesday 8th of June from 14:00-17:00.