One of the beautiful things about electronic music that’s derived from conceptual art is that it provides its own readymade metaphors. In other words, in the absence of traditional musical form, we have the musician’s m.o. to lend sense to something that is otherwise abstract. Case in point, Retina Burn, the new, half-hour long piece by Andrea Polli, available as of last month as a free download from the Stasisfield netlabel. Polli’s work — 27-plus minutes of low-level interference and broken whirs — takes as its source “soundwaves generated by the sun.” Polli then manipulates this sonic information, transforming it with what she’s termed “intuitive ocusonics,” or computer-aided musical interfaces that track eye movement. Why does she choose to shape the sound with her eyes, and not with fingers on a keyboard, or on a six-string? Conceptually, Polli’s point is self-apparent: by manipulating sound from the sun with her eyes, she’s doing what we otherwise must not, which is to look directly at the sun. What’s interesting, though, is that the resulting sound art, as heard on the overtly slow Retina Burn, doesn’t suggest the scorching, brilliant center of our solar system (although the crackles do bring it to mind) so much as it sounds like data being processed meticulously in the name of science: pristine data sets published for peer evaluation. The Stasisfield label’s sixth release this year, Retina Burn is available here. More on New York-based musician Polli at her webpage, here.
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5 Most Recent Posts
• October 13, 2016: This day marks the start of the 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project.
• November 16, 2016: I'll be sharing the mic at Adobe Books in San Francisco with my fellow 33 1/3 author Evie Nagy for an evening hosted, from 7pm to 10pm, by Marc Kate (facebook.com).
• December 1, 2016: A likely speaking engagement. Details to come.
• December 13, 2016: This day marks the 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 5, 2017: This day marks the 5th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• Ongoing: The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury, is now in its second printing. It can be purchased at amazon.com, among other places.
disquiet juntoThe Disquiet Junto is an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making space in which restraints are used as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. There is an FAQ. ... These are the 5 most recent weekly projects: • 0253 / Doorbell Rehab / Record some welcome music. • 0252 / Sonic Palindrome / Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards. • 0251 / Soothing Sounds for Parents / Remix some music for infants with parents in mind. • 0250 / Soothing Sounds for Junto / Make some peaceful music for an infant child. • 0249 / 80 Phases / Wish the minimalist composer Steve Reich a happy birthday.
... And there is a complete list of projects at disquiet.com/junto.
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