Live Electronic Music - Electroacoustic Improvisation

Electroacoustic Improvisation

Electroacoustic improvisation is a form of free improvisation that was originally referred to as live electronics. It has been part of the sound art world since the 1930s with the early works of John Cage (Schrader 1991,; Cage n.d.). Source magazine published articles by a number of leading electronic and avant-garde composers in the 1960s (Anon. n.d.(a)) and in Montreal, Canada, there were two live electronic ensembles in the 1970s, MetaMusic and Sonde (Anon. 2012). This field has expanded rapidly with the use of powerful, inexpensive laptop computers.

It was further influenced by electronic and electroacoustic music, the music of American experimental composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman and David Tudor. Other influences include musique concrète and the so-called instrumental musique concrète of Helmut Lachenmann. British free improvisation group AMM, particularly their guitarist Keith Rowe, have also played a contributing role in bringing attention to the practice.

A variety of terms have been used to describe music associated with electroacoustic improvisation such as “lowercase” (a term coined by artist and musician Steve Roden for his own work), “onkyokei” (or Onkyo) (used to describe the Japanese equivalent), “taomud” (meaning “the area of music under discussion”), “New London Silence” and “Berlin reductionism”.

The record labels Erstwhile Records, For 4 Ears, Cut, Durian, Charhizma, Improvised Music from Japan, Fringes Recordings, Mikroton Recordings and Mego have released a number of albums featuring electroacoustic improvisation.

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