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Teaching in Trondheim

March 8, 2011


I’ve just finished two days of teaching in Trondheim. I’ve been doing the same lecture/workshop combo a few times before, but it always takes a different direction, based on the interests of the students and where their questions and enquiries take us.

This time I got a lot of questions on how I am composing for my sound installations, in other works, how I am organizing the flow of sound in time using algorithmic approaches to real-time processing. This is something I have spent a lot of time developing strategies for over the last 14 years, but for some reason I have not talked or written much on it so far.

This ventured into a discussion of the creation of layers by combining asynchronous layers in 2/1 from Brian Eno’s Music for Airports, the emphasis on simplicity in Fluxus, Ken Friedmans essay on 40 years of Fluxus, the tides of the harbor in Bergen, and the remark on my music by the late Gerard Grisey during a master class that I seemed to be striving for simplicity and complexity at the same time, and maybe it would be an idea to make up my mind (I feel this remark to be still relevant, in a productive way).

For the workshop 16 loudspeakers have been set up at a lab/studio. This will be a permanent installation, and make it a lot easier for the students to experiment with surround and 3D sound.

I believe we found a speaker setup that makes sense, and make the studio modular and useable with a number of different software and for different purposes. The studio has a ring of 8 speakers in the horizontal, and two additional rings of four speakers above and below. It is not sufficient to create true 3D illusions, but one could think of it as being able to create a degree of vertical width to the horizon, having sources emerging from above or below the horizon.

Speakers have been set up as:

1 – 2 Front Left – Front Right
3 – 4 Front Center – Rear Center
5 – 6 Rear Left – Rear Right
7 – 8 Left – Right
9 – 10 Front Left Upper – Right Front Upper
11 – 12 Rear Left Upper – Rear Right Upper
13 – 14 Front Left Lower – Front Right Lower
15 – 6 Rear Left Lower – Rear Right Lower

It would be nice to add a sub to the space as well. If so, and if one could switch between the Rear Center speaker and sub, the first 6 channels can be used with Logic Pro or SoundTrack for 5.1 production, as long as Logic Pro loudspeaker configuration is set to use ITU standard, rather than the Logic default configuration. Likewise the first 8 speakers could be used with Logic Pro and SoundTrack for 7.1 production.

This makes the room more modular, able to work with DAWs and linear sound editing as well as real-time environments such as Csound and Max.

We have been trying out VBAP, DBAP, ambisonics and ViMiC in the space, and used in the right way, they are all working well, though still sounding differently. The patches are left behind for the students to keep playing with.