How’s this for new musical variables? Choice between a left and a right speaker isn’t normally thought of as integral to a musical composition in the same way that choice of pitch or duration is. In fact few musics even see the orientation of a sound within a space as something that can or should be specified. Make things a little more complex, however, and a whole new world opens up:
The history of electronic and concrete music is one of isolated shows of technological novelty slowly becoming richly detailed musical traditions. The sounds that were academic and avant-garde in one decade become TV music in the next, and in the following decade become a central characteristic of styles like acid house, techno or hiphop. Likewise, the spatial acoustic experiments of Stockhausen et al, via the 3D soundsystem demonstrated above, could one day become a new way to dance, where specific styles of music would be celebrated for their signature three-dimensional textures.
Imagine musical styles where the sounds used could vary quite widely but the spatial form they each occupied was generally the same - florid synthesised leads descending slowly from above while percussion circled the dancefloor perimiter for the length of a four-bar loop, for example, or riffs that bounce up and down as they travel through a space marked out by a deep kick drum positioned low and winged hi-hats swooping above you. Today one crowd of ravers focuses on bass music and the other mid-range melody, but tomorrow dancefloors (and internet forums) could be divided into those who like their percussion positioned high and those who like it low.
This 3D gig was part of the astonishing Red Bull Music Academy 2010, which has been putting on music events throughout London and handing out FREE copies of Daily Note, an amazing music paper that has seen feature articles by the likes of Dan Hancox and Melissa Bradshaw. Skream, Untold and Hudson Mohawke will be making appearances soon as part of the RBMA schedule (can you imagine a 3D version of Hudson Mohawke’s album Butter? Terrifying).