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Academic vs Popcultural
Old 29th November 2016
Lives for gear
Stimmt's Avatar

Academic vs Popcultural

Hi Suzanne!

When I watched the Redbull Interview recently, you mentioned that when you went to learn composition with synthesizers, everything was focused on the structure and texture of the sound, intervals and any kind of "diatonic" approach wasn't really welcomed. So I'd like to ask whether you saw yourself in the tradition of Electro-acoustic Music and/or "Musique Concrete" back then? I know things in the USA developed a bit differently than in Europe, but when I went to University here in Europe they would not stop too strongly advise that only Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, Francois Bayle and the likes where the true pioneers of the field. As my Prof was a Canadian he'd also shed some light on the movement of Sound Ecology (Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp). It always felt a little highbrow and academic, and albeit being interested to learn as much as possible I couldn't take the whole attitude too serious. So yeah, as I know that you have emerged from both the academic as well as the Pop/Jingle world, I'd love to know how you'd handled the idea of a 20th century music "elite" and whether you had to solve any confrontational arguments in that regard?

Sorry for my weird English, I'm not a native speaker.

PS. I got to know a Canadian composer called Gilles Gobeil at the uni. His compositions were truly blasting! I don't know if you know him but you can check some of his his work at electrocd. For me the whole study was worth it just to get to hear his work.

Last edited by Stimmt; 1st December 2016 at 11:06 PM..
Old 3rd December 2016
Suzanne Ciani
Sevwave's Avatar


Yes, the history of electronic music is multi-faceted. Certainly the tape recorder's abilities started a particular genre of manipulating pre-recorded sounds and all that is fine. But to me, the truly exciting part came with voltage-control instruments and the possibility of live performance...being interactive with the sound as it is being generated. That was my commitment in my early days with the show that it was a "performable" instrument, which was, I think, Don Buchla's vision. (Finders Keepers release of Buchla Concerts 1975 is a good historic record). I played live in quadraphonic....and when my Buchla broke down, I started to create compositions through multi-track recording, like Seven Waves.
There is certainly no one story more true than other stories of how we all got here...and where are we anyway? So, I don't think it is important to try to define irrevocably what electronic music is...we were provided with new tools...we were/are the makers of the tools or the users of the tools and we had/have fun doing it.
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