Electroacoustic Improvisation - Characteristics


Critic Arie Altena suggests that a defining characteristic of electroacoustic improvisation is its “anti-virtuoso” æsthetic, arguing that conventional instrumental techniques are rarely emphasized in electroacoustic improvisation, and thus there are few occasions when traditional technical virtuosity is considered appropriate. Critics also note that many electroacoustic improvisers studiously avoid traditional sounds and timbres, and that “extended techniques” (unorthodox playing practices) appear to be standard in performance. Some EAI music also includes field recordings.

Electroacoustic improvisation sometimes differs significantly from music associated with the established free improvisation scene. One critic has suggested that a new vocabulary may be required to describe certain aspects of the practice. John Eyles writes,

One of the problems of describing this music is that it requires a new vocabulary and ways of conveying its sound and impact; such vocabulary does not yet exist — how do you describe the subtle differences between different types of controlled feedback? I’ve yet to see anyone do it convincingly - hence the use of words like "shape" and "texture"!

Similarly, writing in Stylus magazine, and referring to the "new school of electro-acoustic improvisation," critic Jeff Siegel writes,

In case you are as yet not indoctrinated into this music, there’s no easy road. The closest I know of to a simple explanation comes from the estimable Dominique Leone: “sort of an inverse of noise music.” That sounds about right. If you think of noise as a brick wall, then EAI is like a plaster mold of the cement in-between, an impression, a photo-negative, more silence than sound; it’s a constant hum, the first step up from complete silence; noise stripped down to a single sliver and stretched out, presumably forever.

Read more about this topic:  Electroacoustic Improvisation

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