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Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

EA Laptop Quintet Live MP3

The group EA has more computer equipment than do many Silicon Valley startups. Despite which, they rummage amid some of the most lo-fi sounds around: radio static, synthesized vocals, field recordings, and nearly sub-aural bass rumbles.

EA consists of André Gonçalves (laptop), Andy Graydon (laptop), Ben Owen (laptop, objects), Gill Arno (laptop, objects, FM radio), and Richard Garet (laptop) — and as heard on a recent con-v.org single, balancing act with controlled dynamics: take two, they venture in unison from one zone to the next, from textural delicacy to white noise to blurpy near-melodies (MP3). The individual segments have seemingly little in common; the point of balancing act, true to the title, is how the group moves naturally between the varied sonic environments. The performance, presented here as one 30-minute track, was recorded in December 2006 in Fotòfono in Brooklyn.

The previous balancing act (take one) was released earlier this year on the label Winds Measure (windsmeasurerecordings.net). The music is available for purchase, but a downloadable set of files includes essays by several members of EA, the time-keeping software they employed, and this image of the concise visual score by Gil Sanson:

Writes Sanson his essay:
The main idea was to to produce a free music with a clear structure of limitations aiming at generating a complex sound organism with distinctive features adressing the relation between sound and silence. The score outlines the temporal and dynamic forms, using John Cage’s definition of form as “the morphology of continuity”, from his lecture “composition as a process”. Long periods of silence are integral to the music, as well as a sound-silence ratio favourable to the low dynamic range: the performer is placed in the situation of “buying” with silence his choice of sounds. As a result, loud sounds become throughly meditated, having a clear sense of purpose.
More details on EA at ruccas.org.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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