Barry Truax opened the session at De Balie on Saturday, a whole day devoted specially to soundscape, phonography and the exploration of the acoustic qualities of our environment.
Truax´s career has been combining academic computer and electroacoustic music with social and ecological concerns. Since the 70s, as part of the World Soundscape Project and at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, he has been developing academic and artistically the fields of music composition with environmental sounds and acoustic ecology.
His compositions explore the field between two extremes of the world: the micro structure and inner complexities of sound itself and the external world of complexity present in the soundscape. Drawing upon elements taken from the world we live in, combining computer tools such as convolution or granulation and multichannel diffusion techniques, his compositions aim to immerse the listener into sonic journeys and imaginary narratives, suggesting moments of profound listening.
The keynote at Sonic Acts contained instructive examples of his compositions, which are extensively documented, partly available online and compiled in two published dvd-roms. We learned about the narratives and compositional techniques underlying works such as PendlerdrØm, Island, Basilica, Temple and The Shaman Ascending, listening to sound examples of the original and processed materials aswell as to excerpts of the compositions in a nice multichannel setup.
Video of another lecture of Barry Truax a few months ago at The Vancouver Computer Music Meetings (VCMM).
Truax´s Handbook for Acoustic Ecology