Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap
From: macCormac (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 13:26:28 EDT

i can hear a conference coming on . . . hurrah ! ! ! :-)

nick storring 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),
> 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....
> So while we use it as an umbrella term, people on the outside often link the
> term to music by canonized (frequently) "academic" (for lack of a better
> word) composers: Stockhausen to the whole empreintes digitales scene... In
> addition, has anbody ever heard a techno artist like Richard D. James refer
> to themselves as ea??.... I have not. In fact last I checked, Aphex Twin
> had staunchly distanced himself from the whole electroacoustic thing and was
> calling the Sonic Arts Network the Sonic Arse Network.
> And even in the broader circle of people who enjoy experimental music, look
> for instance at Wire Magazine. How often is the ea used in there? From my
> experience not very often... And when it is used, frequently it is employed
> in conjunction with composers which appear on the "Modern Composition" page
> at the back, and not the one which says "Electronica," "Critical Beats,"
> "Dub", etc.
> Also, while there is a certain amount of cross-pollination from other ea
> genres, generally the stuff produced by "electroacoustic composers" descends
> from a lineage of music with an academic basis. That is, while it is
> supposedly an umbrella term, the tendency among composers of ea music does
> not seem to lean toward embracing things like techno, hip-hop, noise, etc
> and audibly incorporating them into their music. I'm not accusing ea of
> conservatism, rather I am merely trying to point out the ways in which some
> could see ea as a specific genre, like techno or rock or something.
> At any rate, I want to emphasize that I'm not trying to assail the argument
> expressed by John Oliver, however... I think that it's important to
> recognize that outside of the ea community, the term is either unknown or
> often associated with the music of people who use the term, exclusively (ie.
> not with techno etc.). And, largely these participants are affiliated
> somehow with a music/ sound art institution of some sort... either as former
> students or as teachers.
> Nick S.
> >John Oliver wrote:
> >On Jun 30, 2004, at 1:10 PM, John Nowak wrote:
> >
> >>In my mind, electoacoustic music means academic sounding music. Usually a
> >>bit dry, not very high speed or intense, often fairly restrained, making
> >>use of certain techniques (granular synthesis, cellular automata, etc),
> >>etc. And although I'm hesitant to make such a claim... often lacking any
> >>significant emotion, and more focused on intellectual involvement (not
> >>that I have a problem with that).
> >
> >Maybe you mean 'bad' academic music. Is Yves Daoust's music 'academic'
> >because he now teaches at the Conservatoire de Montreal? I don't think he
> >did in 1979. Perhaps it might be more interesting to talk about what you
> >like or don't like and give reasons, rather than make generalisations about
> >genre? Do you like Aphex Twin better than Yves Daoust? (Both are
> >electroacoustic.) If so, tell why. (Just an example.)
> >
> >The definition of "electroacoustic music" is not a matter of taste. It's
> >not much of a definition to say "that dry intellectual stuff is
> >'electroacoustic' and this intense stuff that blows me away"
> >Is the Austrian group called Granular Synthesis "not electroacoustic"
> >because it's relentless, intense, visceral, and dangerously loud?
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
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