Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!

Subject: Re: (More) Cool sounds from outer space!
From: Jean-Marc Pelletier (
Date: Sun Jul 31 2005 - 23:32:52 EDT

Just in case, some found my original answer to a bit short:

Last week, we had an ea concert at our school. About half-way through I
got up and left. I even left in the middle of a piece, which I reckon
was rude, but I really didn't feel like staying any longer. I went
outside and laid in the grass, watching the stars and listening to the
chorus of cicadas, crickets and frogs, accompanied by the wind brushing
the nearby trees. I couldn't help feeling that all of this was
infinitely more beautiful and interesting than anything I'd heard or
seen in the half concert I attended. This isn't a statement about art.
It's not a statement about music, not even about that particular
concert, just my current state of mind. I haven't bought all that many
CDs recently, and haven't really listened to those I did buy. Instead my
fascination for the order of the world around me has grown.

I linked to the first sample, the one from Saturn, because of its
uncanny resemblance to 1960s SF soundtracks inspired by the Barons'
work. My use of the adjective "cool" was strictly tongue in cheek. I was
trying to capture a little of that 1960s camp in my choice of words. I
might have failed.

The VLT recordings are somewhat different. As some people very
thankfully noticed, VLT transmissions just happen, by chance, to fall
right smack in the human frequency hearing range. Not only that, the
time-scale of the various events is such that there is no need for any
time compression. The setup needed to make these emissions audible is
simply radio receiver -> amp -> speaker. This makes it an
electroacoustic phenomenon. As in electrons to sounds. This is the list
of the Canadian *electroacoustic* community and I thought this would be
more than relevant.

Just to re-iteratate: VLT recordings are 1 to 1 mappings of
electro-magnetic disturbances associated with auroras. They are not
"illustrations" but simple transduction. Unless you are unbelievably
pendant, they *are* caused by auroras (in some cases at least).

I find the question of what is "art" or "music" spectacularly boring.
"Gesang der Junglinge", "Vingt regards sur l'enfant J├ęsus", last week's
cicada chorus and VLT emission recordings are all sonic structures. As
perceptible material, they all have value, be it semantic or
morphological. "Dawn chorus"-type of VLT are so-called because they
sound like the chorus of birds in the morning. They are "beautiful" in
part because they function in a programmatic fashion, appealing to the
listener's imagination. This morphological proximity between "dawn
chorus" VLT and birdsong causes a number of semantic associations in the
listener's mind. Entire imaginary landscapes and sceneries arise before
the mind's eye.

In the end, it's all energy. The Pathetic Sonata, "Chiaroscuro", VLT,
me, you, this e-mail message. However, as I sentient being, I choose to
try to find beauty wherever I turn my ear or eye.


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