Chapter 1 and/or 2-
Subtopics I want to focus on:
The era of krautrock and the revolution of electronic music.
Development of music videos.
Sound with in film
Relationship between sound and mind.
John Wynne, a sound/audio artist, whose practice encompasses a wide range of media, including installation, sculpture, drawing, architecture, radio recording and composed sound documentaries. His project ‘Hearing Voices’ is a research based project primarily in Botswana; Wynne created a body of work based on his research of endangered ‘click language’ spoken by the Khoi and San people in the Kalahari Desert. He produced a photographic sound installation and a half-hour long composed documentary for the BBC’s Radio 3. The artist explores the themes of sound and language, the relationship between them and the effects of globalisation and growing world economy. Wynne uses sound as his main tool of communication, often utilising imagery to illustrate the sound. The composed documentary is a collection of sounds recorded on destination, a series of interviews from the speakers of various click languages in the Kalahari Desert and some of Wynne’s own music. The documentary has a resounding series of droning sounds that shift in volume across the left and right speakers that it is played out of. These light shifting sounds stimulate mental images of sand and dessert, the fluctuation in volume and use of reverberation generates a sense of vast terrain. When the interviews are introduced the sounds are fragmented and there are many glitches, there is also a strong resonance at the end of these short sentences that reverberates through the deep sound scape; all these things suggest connotations of dying, or fading. We are unable to relate to click language used in the documentary yet there is still an understanding of the central thesis that is the language has become endangered. The descriptive nature of the sound scape comes through tone, timbre and temporal aspects of sound and not through a dialogue based narrative. Wynne uses sound to give the people of the Kalahari Desert, who use a language with a limited audience a voice that can communicate with people of all languages.
Sound is a descriptive medium, but it is also subjective. There is no possible way to know how another person is hearing a sound, there are studies that show particular characteristics of sound generate a similar interpretation within listeners; but we are all hearing and listening in our own ways.
“Ways of hearing are notoriously subjective. We have mechanism for comparing sounds by scientific testing and anecdotal evidence, but no way of knowing exactly what another person is hearing at any given moment.”
The evolving era of electronic music demonstrates the same ideas of using sound in a descriptive way rather than writing music in a narrative way. The foundations of electronic music begin with Musique Concrete, this movement expressed an idea of using the elements of sound to express humen emotion or physical atmosphere. The use of dialog or structured melody was eliminated and replaced with tone, timbre and tempo; creating a new era of expressive sound.
“A method of organization presupposed an acceptance of abstract- that is, non-literal or symbolic sound patterns with an emotional, and not just intellectual, response.”
I will look into the evolving era of electronic music and the Avent Garde experimental stages of bands such as Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, and the influence they had on commercial musicians Brian Eno and David Bowie. I will also investigate sound within film, the difference between the use of sound and music in film; focusing on directors Godfrey Reggio, David Lynche and also touching on descriptive sound in silent film animation. (Examples like Martin Clapp’s ‘The Magic Piano’ and David Lynches early work ‘The Gradmother’ and ‘Alphabet’.)