Re: [Fwd: Concerts in Nov.]

Subject: Re: [Fwd: Concerts in Nov.]
From: matt kober (
Date: Thu Nov 11 1999 - 11:58:23 EST

--- Katharine Norman <> wrote:

> My brief (Lo-)pass on this noise thing...
> I'd be interested to know people's views on the volume level issue. I,
> too,
> heard Pierre Henry (in London) and found it excrutiatingly loud. I was
> really disappointed because I just had to leave even though I found some
> of
> what he was doing quite interesting. I was in pain but, more to the
> point,
> I felt he was deliberately 'terrorising' my listening and that the
> material
> didn't mesh with this apparent intention. I've been to more than a few
> events like this in recent months and I find it loud
> better? butch-er? bigger?

In my former life as a folk/blues singer, I have played in all sorts of
places, for all sorts of people. Somewhere along the line, I discovered
that trying to belt out these songs over the babble of a crowd, trying to
get them to take notice just gave me a very sore throat and even seemed to
repel interest. One night, I tried doing these songs a little softer,
still projecting but not bludgeoning the crowd with volume. The result?
Dead silence. All of a sudden the crowd seemed to want to hear what was
going on. As soon as that happened, they were mine... get it? What is
the automatic reaction to someone bellowing in your face? Retreat.

Loud isn't better, just louder. IMV, there are different ways of being
"loud". Cage's "4'33"" is one of the "loudest" pieces I've ever heard,
seen from the right perspective...

> is it that technologically mediated sound is hard to make 'present'?
> Seems
> to me that too often the volume is cranked up in order to make it
> 'real',
> 'here', 'now' - instead of using a differentiated mix to provide the
> less
> tangible subtleties of 'real', 'here', 'there', 'then', 'now,' 'coming
> this
> way'....

In EA concerts, everyone knows what's up... we're there to listen. There
are no drunken hecklers, brawls in the corner or foos-ball players to be
heard over. It is confounding to me that anyone doing the projection for
a piece would _purposefully_ push the amplitude over the red-line. I'll
save my ear plugs for the clubs... or the next Motorhead show..





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