Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 12:24:47 EDT

At 11:44 01/07/2004 -0400, you wrote:
>I've noticed a strange undercurrent whenever this topic and other related
>topics come up on here. Seems as though whenever some people feel as if
>ea is under attack... particularly the academic branch of ea, people race
>to the defence of ea, citing Aphex Twin alongside Yves Daoust and
>insisting that is a diverse, umbrella term for this music.
>I'm not trying to be over-critical of this (John Oliver's) point of view,
>however, I can see exactly how John Nowak has arrived at his perspective
>on ea and I feel that perhaps, this is something which is consistently
>overlooked on this list when "ea" comes up.
>I do agree that ea is NOT a matter of taste... and that it is not a
>blanket term for dry academic stuff... However, I find it interesting that
>I had never heard of "electroacoustic music" before I went to music
>school. I had heard it of course, but never with that terminology applied
>to it. And, while "electroacoustic" to "us" (people on this list (and
>similar ones), music students, profs et. al) emcompasses techno/ IDM,
>hip-hop, noise, ambient etc. I think the term is very seldom shot around
>outside of more academic circles. Furthermore, people who use the term
>often are composers of a certain style of music (hinted at by Nowak),

Which is why saying 'All music that comes out of a speaker is
electroacoustic' looks like a land-grab. It doesn't connect with most
people's experience of electronica.

Now, they may not be academically educated and may not be joining the dots,
but it would still be more convincing as a point of view if it were more
widely accepted.

>And while I don't subscribe to all of Nowak's qualitative judgements,
>there is a certain amount of truth to what he is saying. People do observe
>stylistic trends among the music people who use the ea tag. and to some,
>this music sounds over-clean, and restrained, and academic...

But so does a lot of electronica on - say - Warp. It just has drums in it,
which apparently immediately removes the 'academic' label.

Which is why I keep suggesting it's a social experience, not a musical one.
If I create a piece (without drums, of course[1]) and diffuse it in concert
hall to a mostly academic audience, it's electroacoustic. If I release it
on CD and have it filed under 'ambient' , it's now something else.

This does rather suggest that what's happening isn't entirely about the
sounds people are making/hearing.


[1] Usually.

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