Deconstructed Music #1

Colectivo RAN

7 May 2007

Musical project

Using the technologies of telecommunication to open up the process of creating an art piece is a long standing and intriguing idea, particularly among musicians and sound artists.

Numerous are those projects where sound material is generated and exchanged between musicians at different locations connected via radio waves, phone lines and later the Internet who are simultaneously creating different pieces and versions out of the same material influencing each other in a loop.

The Web opened up this possibility to everybody and many projects appeared that not only included its audience but left it entirely up to the users to generate the collective experience.

The artists provide a repository of sounds and music and create the tools that enable anybody on the Net to participate in the creation of pieces of music that are in a constant flux of de- and reconstruction.

Deconstructing Music is an example of this type of net-instruments that explore the potential of collective creation and participation in the cyberspace. A simple flash client allows any user to select sound samples and add them to one of the three sequences that are played at the same time in loops.

Very similar to the phase shifting patterns of minimal music the rhythmical structure of the resulting music is constantly shifting due to the length of the individual sounds that are activated at any given time.

The project also explores another frequently recurring theme of media art, the symbiosis of sound and visuals, of music and colour:

each of the sound samples that are available is represented by a colour and no description is given about the musical and acoustic form of the samples. This means that you are actually not selecting sound samples but choosing colours. These colours are activated every time the sound is played back within the actual sequences.

So the first experience with the project is coined by the exploration of the musical material and the effort to use the applet like a musical instrument, but slowly one recognizes that the beauty of the project lies exactly in the opposite.

It has nothing to do with all the little sequencer programmes that you can download from the Net and it is not about making your own music. It’s about being part of a process that is set in motion by the artists and altered by the users–yourself as well as others.

So at the end decon music could be rather conceived as an interpreter or an aleatoric composition machine that needs the input from the users to complete its task.

Take your time, it’s not about controlling an interface it’s about listening to music!