All paper sessions take place in the Dome Room, Bramall Music Building

Friday 1 May, 1000-1200: Paper Session 1      

Robert Mackay, John Wedgwood Clarke, Tariq Emam
Resounding Mulgrave: A case study in composing place 

Peter Batchelor
From spaces to places: multichannel acousmatic music outside the concert hall

Luca Danieli
Virtualization of a Violin Section by means of Grain

Enda Bates
SpaceMaps, Manifolds and a New Interface Paradigm for Spatial Music Performance   

Friday 1 May, 1430-1630: Paper Session 2 

Richard Garrett
Audio Spray Gun – generation and spatialisation of large sound groups

Andrés Pérez López
Spatilaization Instruments

Garfield Benjamin
Territorialisation and the dilemma of the nomadic sound diffusion

Andrew Hill
Responding to Place: Site Sensitive Composition and Curation

Saturday 2 May, 1100-1300: Paper Session 3       

David Ibbett
Europa, a tone poem for flute and electronics

Manfredi Clemente
Sound and Evocation: Ideas for a poetic of space

Javier Alejandro Garavaglia
Spatial granulation, a new development for (micro) sound diffusion

Diogo Alvim & Matilde Miereles
Trigger place: A game of sound and architecture

 

ABSTRACTS

Robert Mackay, John Wedgwood-Clarke, Tariq Emam
University of Hull

Resounding Mulgrave: a case study in composing place

Resounding Mulgrave explores the post-industrial landscape of Port Mulgrave, north of Scarborough, UK. It was one of three artistic interventions exploring and reinterpreting the Rotunda Museum, Scarborough (created by the father of modern Geology, William Smith). It was commissioned by Scarborough Museums Trust as part of the Dictionary Stone project curated by Lara Goodband, and supported by Arts Council, England.

The work was a collaboration between poet John Wedgwood Clarke and sound artist Rob Mackay, with technical and artistic support from Tariq Emam (video/performance).

‘There’s a fossil shell by my foot the colour and texture of grey opaque glass, perfectly moulded, complete with a scallop’s bow and ridges. Right next to it, but 183 million years later, there’s a limpet. The gap in time between the two doesn’t seem to exist, but I know that it does.’ (John Wedgwood Clarke)

This awareness of the silent, pre-human gap between our present and geological past motivated our exploration of the coast between Port Mulgrave and Staithes. We used words and sound, both found and structured, to play within this silence and make connections between the ‘pastoral’, the ‘sublime’, and the history that has flowed from the smelting of the ironstone for which this stretch of the North Yorkshire coast is geologically famous.

Peter Batchelor
De Montfort University
From spaces to places: multichannel acousmatic music outside the concert hall

Presenting multichannel electroacoustic music has traditionally involved setting up high quality listening environments in medium to large spaces in order to seat a number of audience members. Recent works of mine involve the development of small-scale multichannel environments using affordable speakers and DIY construction techniques, often housing only one listener at a time. While retaining the capacity for spatial interest and precision in sound localisation, this accommodates much more intimate listening conditions for audiences along, importantly, with portability, which in turn allows the presentation of rich multichannel sound worlds in settings far removed from the normal concert situation. Such environments have encouraged consideration of how acousmatic compositional strategies involving material appropriated from life might be experienced when reinserted back into life (the real world) contexts, and a concurrent consideration of how musical space, conceived as abstracted space within the concert hall, might be reconceived in terms of its relationship with place. This talk will consider some of the implications of the development of such environments and in turn, what impact this might have on compositional intent and process.

Luca Danieli
The University of Birmingham                                     

Virtualization of a Violin Section by means of Grains

The work following described is part of the electronic implementation created for the electroacoustic music composition Violin piece from cist tombs on Amorgos.

Thinking of the electroacoustic music space as an extension of the performing violin on the stage, it was my approach considering each loudspeaker on the ring as a violin performer, part of the virtual string section formed by the instrumental performer and all the loudspeaker in the concert hall.

To realise this purpose, some digital signal processing techniques were required to vary, stretch and compress the melody played by the performer in order to create little approximations characteristic of any instrumental section.

The following description of the algorithm implemented briefly introduces the notion of entrainment and then focuses on describing problems regarding the micro-variation of musical parameters in large amounts of virtual instruments and some correlated signal processing effects like beating, pulse repetition frequencies and pitch shifting.

Enda Bates
Trinity College Dublin                

SpaceMaps, Manifolds and a New Interface Paradigm for Spatial Music Performance

One of the greatest challenges facing any composer of spatial electroacoustic music is how to adapt their work to different loudspeaker systems, their associated software interfaces, and their implied performance practice. Various multi-channel tools exist which can be adapted for different types of symmetrical arrays, however, these are generally entirely incompatible with the irregular loudspeaker orchestras associated with live stereo diffusion. In addition, while there have been numerous attempts to extend or augment the one-fader-to-one-loudspeaker approach to diffusion, developing a system that can flexibly handle the complex routing of many signals in an intuitive and transferrable manner remains a significant challenge.

Manifold-Interface Amplitude Panning or MIAP (pronounced “meeap”) is one example of a new design paradigm in which the graphical interface can be arranged without necessarily mirroring the physical layout of the array. MIAP is an expanded implementation of Meyer Sound’s SpaceMap spatialization tool for large-scale spatial sound design, developed for the Max MSP environment by Zachary Seldess [Seldess, 2014]. While standard panner interfaces can be created using MIAP, so can entirely abstract arrangements, and these can be mapped to arbitrary numbers and configurations of loudspeakers or effects. In addition, the SpaceMap can also be used as a flexible, transferrable configuration and performance tool for live diffusion, in which faders (or other control surfaces) can be mapped to arbitrary arrangements of loudspeakers, much like the concept of the multi-point cross fader previously developed by James Mooney and David Moore for the M2 diffusion system [Mooney, 2005]. The SpaceMap could therefore represent a new interface paradigm for the composition and performance of spatial electroacoustic music which is equally applicable to both multichannel and stereo diffusion work, and which could greatly simplify the process of transferring works between different loudspeaker configurations. This paper introduces the MIAP objects for Max MSP through the demonstration of some example diffusion strategies, the multi-point fader, and the transfer of pre-programmed trajectories between different loudspeaker configurations.

Richard Garrett       

Audio Spray Gun – generation and spatialisation of large sound groups

The processing power of modern computers offers sonic possibilities that are too complex to explore at the level of single events. For some years, the automated generation of numerous sound events has been explored using short samples in both granular synthesis and particle systems for audio but only recently has it become possible, with relatively inexpensive computers, to work with sources of longer duration. Audio Spray Gun is an experimental tool, written in SuperCollider, for fixed-media composition that simultaneously generates and spatialises large groups of such sources (sound-events), all derived from a single sound sample.

In Audio Spray Gun, sound-events are treated as points in a multi-dimensional parameter space. These points are generated using simple rules that constrain otherwise random parameter choices to a specific locus which may be transformed over time by means of expansion, contraction and translation. This produces a sequence of events for rendering to multichannel audio.

Such sequences can be made up of several hundred events running over periods of a few seconds to a few minutes. While each event is stationary and distinct, the overall effect of so many overlapping sounds can produce dramatic apparent motion around the sound space.

In early versions of the program, the axes of this space were inter-onset interval, sample playback rate, azimuth and horizontal distance from the listener. These have recently been extended to include elevation and spread parameters for periphonic audio.

The presentation will consist of brief description of Audio Spray Gun, followed by a demonstration of its operation.

 

Andrés Pérez López                       

Spatilaization Instruments

A musical instrument is a device capable of produce and modify sound, transforming input gestures into sound events in real-time. The term “Digital Musical Instrument” refers broadly to any musical instrument whose sound is not produced by acoustic means. As a consequence, the interface’s physical properties do not condition the resulting sound, allow- ing arbitrarily complex relationships between interface and sound.

Live Sound Spatialization can be seen as a particular case of Digital Musical Instruments, in which the player controls the spatial sound parameters. By following this concept, we can reuse all existing knowledge from the Human Computer Interaction field, and apply it to the spatial sound interaction design. This is the basic idea behind the Spatialization Instruments concept.

In this work, we present and explore the Spatialization Instruments, with special emphasis in their design and analysis. Furthermore, we review the Spatialization Instruments appeared in recent years in the most significative conferences according to the presented criteria. Finally, we perform a live demonstration, showing different possibilities of the Spatialization Instruments.

 

Garfield Benjamin              

Territorialisation and the dilemma of the nomadic sound diffusion. Or, can sound ever make smooth space?

A fixed speaker array in a defined architectural space creates a sonic territory that is hard to escape. The construction of such a system, while creating a detailed and high quality tool for precision manipulation of sound, necessarily stratifies our notions of both the space and the process of sound diffusion. Matched 8-channel rings at specified heights, the left-right divide projected into a concert hall sized space, and even the translation of sound file channels to set specific speaker arrangements all contribute to the territorialisation of our perceptual field. This paper will utilise Deleuze and Guattari’s conception of smooth and striated space to question this territorialisation of our perceptions in fixed sound diffusion systems that are often sponsored by state machines and institutionalise the processes of sound production. Against these systems will be placed the radical artistic process as an absolute movement of expression that can seek to overcome the limits of the striated spaces and systems it inhabits. Yet smooth and striated processes transition into one another, and the composer using such a system is inherently drawn into acts of reterritorialisation. The paper will ask: is it ever possible to deterritorialise our perception of a fixed array of speakers? Does a touring system, adaptable to alternative spaces, offer greater opportunities for a smooth diffusion of sound across its various manifestations? Can these systems be converted from striated, territorialising tools to nomadic ‘weapons’ that break down our perception of the system itself in order to create a smooth space outside of its spatial, technological and cognitive architecture?

The paper will examine projects that culturally deterritorialise the process of musical creation, before positing a fictional system, inspired by the writings of Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow concerning open source communication and the radical repurposing of surveillance systems, in which mobile technologies are used to construct a fluid and adaptable diffusion system. This system, which Deleuze and Guattari could call ‘nomadic’, would create open source and open access potentials for both automated and collaborative deterritorialisations of the musical process. Yet this weaponised system can emerge only from conflict, from a self-destructive cacophony with its own striations and machinic controls. What would be required to generate freer assemblages that change the territory, rewriting the architecture itself? With the control of technology and network systems by capitalist machines, would such a shift only assert an alternative process of striation? Does the possibility exist, technologically, socially and conceptually for the smooth diffusion of sound? Would such a notion only ever occur as a process, a failed desire? The paper will suggest a conceptual model for cacophonic arrays of speaker assemblages that could allow for smooth spaces to emerge.

Andrew Hill                           

Responding to Place: Site Sensitive Composition and Curation

Hear This Space are a collection of composers and curators who organise site-sensitive events. This events have evolved from simple diffusion concerts, in which the system was designed to complement specific architectural features, into curated events which actively engage artists in the development of pieces inspired by a space or location.

This paper charts this evolution and, through case studies of past events, seeks to highlight the potential benefits of facilitating and organising multi-channel loudspeaker concerts outside of traditional concert hall settings.

Manfredi Clemente            

Sound and Evocation: Ideas for a poetic of space

This paper is an attempt to formalize ideas concerning space that I have developed in recent years, based on my own compositional experience. In this context, the use of space in all its aspects is seen as a natural consequence of a musical discourse that aims at having evocative and poetic content. The concept of image – spatial by definition – acts as a bridge between the objectivity of the characterization of physical space and the subjectivity of the listener’s inner space – a place of memories and reveries. I will define the different degrees of space involved in the compositional process, starting from a general definition of the basic concepts of space, image and place, also referring to a few rhetorical means that I found useful in emphasising the poetic content of my work.

 

Dr Javier Alejandro Garavaglia

Spatial granulation, a new development for (micro) sound diffusion

Spatial granulation is a new and on-going development of diverse systems by the author of this paper for automatic, adjustable and time-dynamic multichannel spatialisation of sound in real time of not only stereo acousmatic compositions but also of performances involving live-electronics. The expression “multichannel spatialisation” includes herewith anything from a 4.0 (quadrophonic) output to any number of channels.

This paper at the BEASTFEAST 2015 considers briefly the theory and practice of prototypes programmed so far, as well as it contemplates past, present and future developments and implementations.

Based on the general concepts of granular synthesis developed by Truax (“Real-Time Granular Synthesis with a Digital Signal Processor,” Computer Music Journal 12(2), pp. 14–26, 1988) and Roads (C. Roads, et al. (ed), The Computer Music Tutorial. Cambridge: MIT Press, p. 175, 1996), spatial granulation transfers the common parameters of granular synthesis (such as grain time, window/envelope type, inter-grain time and grain overlapping time) to the movement among loudspeakers in real time within a multi-channel environment. Although the system works well from a 4.0 setting onwards, the ideal loudspeaker configurations are those involving a large number of loudspeakers located in different areas within a performance space, which can be a concert hall or a gallery space (the latter, mainly for sonic or audio-visual installations). Hence, systems and spaces such as the BEAST or the Cube at Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech/College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (Virginia, USA) are the ideal settings for spatial granulation.

The diffusion prototypes of systems so far developed have been all programmed in MAX, and they all share the following main characteristics:

1) inter-speaker grain time: time control between loud-speakers, that is, the elapsed time of transition between speakers. Although this time could be of any length, for the special effect of spatial granulation, an ideal inter-speaker grain time can be considered between 10 ms and 100 ms;

 2) clockwise, anticlockwise and random movement of sound between loudspeakers in multichannel diffusion systems;

 3) so far, the developed prototypes have been applied to 4.0, 8.0 and 5.1 surround sound systems;

 4) the first prototypes, developed around 2006, work with a linear transfer function for the envelope of the grains (an uneven triangular window shape, in order to overlap envelopes among loudspeakers for a smoother transition, and therefore, avoiding that the sound changes abruptly from one speaker to the other). Later and current developments include different table functions for diverse window envelope shapes such as Gaussian (bell-like), Quassi Gaussian (Tukey), triangular, etc.

 Depending on the architecture, acoustics, and electroacoustic system design where spatial granulation can be applied, new developments in (micro) sound spatialisation can be explored.

This presentation will include basic multichannel demonstrations of spatial granulation using the BEASTdome system, including excerpts from the acousmatic piece PATHETIQUE by the author, which uses an early octophonic spatialisation prototype design similar to the one described herewith.

 

Diogo Avim & Matilde Miereles 

Trigger place: A game of sound and architecture

Architecture is inseparable from sound. Through resonance and reverberation, sound interacts with buildings contributing to the creation of an atmosphere. It creates in the present the qualities that affect our perception of the spaces, and helps configure the image (the memory) we keep of it. Sound happens in time and is never fixed, it keeps changing, it keeps happening, and so it is constantly compromising architecture, the way we perceive it, the way it affects us, the way it keeps happening. Architecture, as sound, keeps happening. It is constantly changing and being

created by the things that happen in it, the things we perceive in it, the things we happen in it. Thus, a site-specific sound art work can also be a work of architecture – an event that changes architecture because it changes its sound, its use, and the collective memory of its history. It creates different images, recognises different meanings, catalyses different ideas.

To illustrate this we will talk about PLAY – a multilayered site-specific performance presented at the Belfast Festival in October 2014. The project was developed through the collaboration between sound artists Diogo Alvim and Matilde Meireles, with the participation of experimental filmmaker Richard O’Sullivan. It was specially conceived for the annex of the Physical Education Centre at Queen’s University Belfast, composed of two squash courts and two racquetball courts, and built between 1969-1971 – around the same time that Edward Krasinski and Alvin Lucier created some

of their groundbreaking works. The sounds of the squash court succumb to the acoustic phenomena extrapolated in Lucier’s Vespers and I am sitting in room. On the other hand, Krasinski is evoked through the activation of the space with a never-ending horizontal line that intersects all things, levelling divergent layers of reality, and revealing unexpected connections. Two squash players trigger the events that will be developed throughout the performance. They initiate a dialogue with the far-reaching resonances of the space, inviting the musicians to play a part in the game as well.

 

 

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