- International Computer Music Conference 2005: Music Review
With the theme free sound, this year's International Computer Music Conference 2005 (ICMC) took place at the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMuC) in the dynamic city of Barcelona. As in previous ICMCs, a wealth of musical works representing various different styles and performance genres were presented. Each day saw two formal concerts take place, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. In addition, two separate listening room sessions in which a large number of "tape" and some DVD works were presented were running daily, and several inter-active installations ran throughout the course of the conference. Notable this year was the particularly interesting off-ICMC program. This increasingly popular and equally stimulating part of the ICMC, representing artists whose work is not typically intended for the concert hall, often presents a more publicly accessible face of computer music and such was no less the case this year, with a large number of artists participating. As these are not official ICMC events, however, they will not be reviewed here.
In all, 67 works were presented in concert and 58 in the listening rooms from a total of 372 submissions. The listening panel included José Manuel Berenger, Ali Momeni, Joao Pedro Oliveira, Michael Alcorn, Jøran Rudi, and Elsa Justel. From these works, eight were selected for publication on the conference CD. The compositions chosen include: Ricardo Climent's The last castrati, Henry Vega's Idoru in Metals, William Kleinsasser's (HO)2 C6H3 - CHOH - CH2NHCH3 (Adrenaline), Agostino Di Scipio's Audible Ecosystemics n. 2 (Feedback Study), Arturo Parra and Francis Dhomont's Sol y sombra . . . L'espace des spectres, Chikashi Miyama's Density, Kim Suk-Jun's What the bird saw, David Berezan's Styal, and Marc Ainger's Annotations.
Given the quantity of music presented at this year's conference, and the space limitations of this review, I will mention only some of the works that were to my ear particularly enjoyable.
Sunday, September 4. Opening Night Concert, L'Auditori—Sociedad General de Autores y Editores (SGAE)
With two performers bent over a re-acTable and another participating through a network connection from Linz, Austria, TeleSon: Invention #8 by Chris Brown had an interesting premise. Appearing to be largely improvised, the performers moved various different objects on the table with these movements applying different types of modulations to a number of primitive sound sources. The movements of the objects were projected for the audience to see, which helped to make the relationships between sound and processing more explicit.
José Manuel Berenguer's On Nothing explored the musical and visual potential of particle systems. Using OpenGL-rendered graphics and drawing heavily on granular synthesis techniques, the work was in three distinct sections, each of which explored various different types of movement and formation. The image and sound generation and the transformational techniques applied to them were controlled by the composer with a game pad. The overall result proved to be a striking synthesis.
Monday, September 5. Afternoon Concert, ESMuC Concert Hall
Henry Vega's Idoru in Metals for three singers and computer generated sounds received a memorable performance from Gonnie van Heugten, Natasha Morsink, José Kamminga, and the composer. With the latter standing adjacent to the performers and providing several rhythmic cues throughout the performance, the work explored various vocal textures with subtly modified timbres helping to blur the distinction between the real and the synthetic. Synthetic resonances, reminiscent at times of a Greek chorus, and breath-like tones were seamlessly blended into the natural voices, especially effective during some of the sustained vocal textures.
Horaccio Vaggione's Harrison Variations, for tape, was another highlight of this concert. With source material taken from Jonty Harrison's ' . . . et ainsi de suite . . . ' the composer [End Page 87] articulated a texturally rigorous work with timbral transformations and contextual shifts continually engaging the listener. Other highlights of this concert included Jon Nelson's Gerry Rigged for clarinet and computer, beautifully performed...