[ISEA2015] Artists Statement: Barry Truax, Ben Wilson, Maureen Liang, Hildegard Westerkamp & Yves Candau – OCTOPHONIC SOUNDSCAPE COMPOSITIONS FROM VANCOUVER

Artists Statement

This is an octophonic concert of soundscape compositions by Vancouver composers, presented in an 8-channel surround-sound format. SFU is the home the World Soundscape Project, founded in the early 1970s by R. Murray Schafer, and its audio documentation practices have created some of the materials heard in these works. For instance, Barry Truax’s Pacific Fanfare includes several Vancouver soundmarks from the 1970s and recently, heard both in their original state, and digitally resonated and time-stretched so they can “resonate” in our own memories. In Ben Wilson’s Sediment, layering plays a key role as it does within sedimentary formations, heard as descending (or ascending) through a rock formation, passing through each level of strata. Maureen Liang’s No Destination is about a melancholy individual openly sharing her emotions with Siri — the virtual assistant on her mobile device. Hildegaard Westerkamp’s Into the Labyrinth is a sonic journey into India’s culture on the edge between dream and reality, similar to how many visitors experience this country. Yves Candau constructs a magical and delicate soundscape within an imaginary forest, and Truax’s Earth and Steel takes the listener back to a time when large steel ships were built in enclosed slips, and rich metallic resonances rang out.

  • Hildegard Westerkamp (DE/CA) has lectured on topics of listening, environmental sound and acoustic ecology and has conducted soundscape workshops internationally. By focusing the ears’ attention to details in the acoustic environment, her compositional work draws attention to the act of listening itself and to the inner, hidden spaces of the environment we inhabit. For details check her website. Her music has been commissioned by CBC Radio, Canada Pavilion at Expo ’86, Ars Electronica (Linz), Österreichischer Rundfunk, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien in Germany…. She received Honorable Mentions in competitions such as Prix Ars Electronica in Austria, Prix Italia, and the International Competition for Electroacoustic Music in Bourges, as well as a Recommendation for Broadcast from the International Music Council’s 4th International Rostrum of Electroacoustic Music… Her articles have been published in Radio Rethink, Kunstforum, Musicworks, MusikTexte and a variety of books… For an extensive exploration into her compositional work see Andra McCartney’s Sounding Places: Situated Conversations through the Soundscape Work of Hildegard Westerkamp, York University, Toronto, 1999, and in the internet. As part of Vancouver New Music’s yearly season she has coordinated and led Soundwalks for some years since 2003, which in turn inspired the creation of The Vancouver Soundwalk Collective. A founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE, see: wfae.net), and long-time co-editor of its journal Soundscape,Westerkamp was a researcher for R. Murray Schafer’s World Soundscape Project in the Seventies, and has taught acoustic communication at Simon Fraser University with colleague Barry Truax.   sfu.ca/~westerka  wfae.net  beatrouteproductions.com/Andradiss.pdf
  • Barry Truax, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada
  • Ben Wilson, Maureen Liang, & Yves Candau

Text with images (PDF) p. 197