Motivation

Space is by nature embedded in all acoustic sounds. The resonating bodies, the dynamically varying irradiating surfaces, the disposition of instruments in ensembles and the orchestra, all contribute to produce a vivid "auditory scene" [Bregman 1990]. The rich time-varying spatial attributes imbuing this auditory scene, even if only subliminally perceived, prove to be, as physicists tells us (e.g. [Benade 1976; pp. 197 & ff]), of true importance for the full, limpid perception of essential musical characteristics. Space and time regulate our phenomenal experience, since listening, our act of perceptual exploration in music, is "an activity of encounter with the world" [Noë 2008].

Synthetic sound has no inherent spatial properties, they have to be defined, that is, composed. The main physical transducer of electronic sound, the loudspeaker, has, as a general rule, a neutral character and a relatively simple radiation pattern, making it almost incapable of building up by itself a rich, suggestive auditory scene. Making virtue of necessity – one of the golden rules of art – electronic music has, almost from its inception, taken an artistic attitude towards the spatial. Steadily developing with the advances of technology and the increasing mastery of the medium, different conceptual and technological approaches to the spatialization of sound have been evolving, each with its own fascinating achievements and its particular drawbacks.

The time is ripe now, and the means at our hands, to take a further step and integrate the spatial attributes of sound into the compositional, much as it happened with timbre and the art of orchestration earlier. All attributes of the musical object – qualitative, temporal, structural, functional, spatial – can finally be intricately interweaved in the compositional process.

In our approach, the musical object secretes its own space; we are searching for an emergence of the perception of materiality of synthetic sound matter. A change of perspective embracing the aural and the plastic and having at hand all those pictorial metaphors with which music has so often played. Musical sound, then, a quasi-plastic object dwelling and moving in space, becomes thus susceptible of a choreographic treatment, and opens up a path to another sensible handle into interpretation. We want to extend this approach with performance, particularly linked to the spatial, enriching it through motion-tracked dance with the added dimension of choreography.