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Robert Rich on "Ambient Music"


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Robert Rich on "Ambient Music" at a Berkeley LASER - see also his website

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Robert Rich on "Ambient Music"

  1. 1. Slow Music (in a manic world) with Robert Rich
  2. 2. Why this slow music? Small bubble of peace in a noisy world? Constant barrage can block real thinking.
  3. 3. Misperceptions: • Anti-intellectual • Opiate • Calming • Soporific Muzak • Healing - for whom?
  4. 4. “Modern man is beginning to inhabit a world with an acoustic environment radically different from any he has hitherto known… an indiscriminate and imperialistic spread of more and larger sounds into every corner of man’s life… The world’s soundscape has reached an apex of vulgarity in our time.” R. Murray Schafer, 1977
  5. 5. Quiet stimulation can help us move more freely in our mind.
  6. 6. Slow Listening • Offering narrow vs. wide focus, a close-up view. • Exercising an aesthetic muscle, participatory art. • What is multimedia doing to us? Close your eyes. • Self discovery vs. entertainment.
  7. 7. Our minds as organs of perception • Cognition builds our world actively. • Our minds stay creative by practicing alternate world-building. • We can access this process through altered states (dreams, fantasies, trance, hypnosis, meditation, etc.) • We can use art to help our natural ability to shift states.
  8. 8. Music and conscious states • Modern context, free of magical thinking, natural vs. drugs. • Middle ground finds psychology of states of consciousness as framework. • Our skills are intrinsic.
  9. 9. Sleep Concerts • Grew naturally out of these thoughts, and my private world. • Listening out the window, recording.
  10. 10. Sleep Concert: 3 states of mind • Waking calmness • Hypnogogic/Hypnopompic • REM sleep and dreams
  11. 11. History of ambient/trance music (my version) •Possible origins of music in social ritual and trance. • Social role: storytelling, courtship. • Ritual role: shamanic trance, medicine, spirit.
  12. 12. Exposure to global traditions Radio (KPFA in Berkeley) allowed me to grow up with music from around the world, and incorporate these traditions as an internal language. Thank you, Charles Amirkhanian!
  13. 13. Long Form traditions - Indonesian Wayang - Night Ragas - Navaho Ceremony - Holy-day vigils
  14. 14. A Tonal Thread in Modernism •Debussy, Ravel, Satie •Harry Partch •Lou Harrison + Gamelan •John Cage… •Just intonation •(Gamelan Pacifica: Cage - In a Landscape)
  15. 15. Long Form experiments • Richard Hayman (Fluxus) • ‘60s Happenings • LaMonte Young • Terry Riley • Bill Fontana • Young: The Second Dream Of The High Tension Line Stepdown Transformer, 1991
  16. 16. Terry Riley • In C, 1964 • tape loops • Microtonality • Descending Moonshine Dervishes, 1975
  17. 17. Annea Lockwood Music as conceptual art and soundscape •Piano Transplants (garden, drowning) •Delta Run (w/ Walter Wincha) •Sound Map of Hudson •“Vibrating Pane” from Glass World, 1970
  18. 18. Wind Harp (Song from the Hill) - Early ‘70s album found in cut-out bin - Recordist Harry Bee - Is it scary? (Context- used in Exorcist)
  19. 19. Pauline Oliveros Deep Listening “Lear” from Deep Listening, 1989
  20. 20. Alvin Lucier • I am sitting in a room, 1969 • Music on a long thin wire, 1977
  21. 21. John Cage & Maryanne Amacher Empty Words & Close Up - September 25, 1981
  22. 22. Robert Rich