Lateral Addition aspires to enrich the dialogues among contemporary practices in sound - improvisation, digital music, 'sound art,' etc. - and other areas of current media and visual arts. In order to nurture the growth of these connections, it serves to further elucidate the often esoteric methodologies and thoughts of artists working with sound through original audio material. Edited by Eric Laska
Often, interview questions unduly influence the way in which one considers an interviewee's response. By framing the responses with silence, a greater interpretive space is left open.
Conducted over Skype, September 2012
2. The Musical Condition of Reasonable Conspiracy
The Musical Condition of Reasonable Conspiracy is a discussion-performance from the “discussion in a room” series I’ve been developing since 2011. My phone interview with the Australian composer Chris Mann discussing ‘composer’s conspiracy’ is transcribed into a script and reenacted by two performers while a group of Rome-based composers intervene throughout the conversation. Here, “discussion” means something simultaneously organized and performed by re-enactors, speakers, listeners and beholders, all of whom become conspirators in a shared unfolding process.
Re-enactors: Michael Fitzpatrick, Gaby Ford (The English Theatre of Rome) Interlocutors: Fabio Cifariello Ciardi, Daniele Del Monaco, Matteo Nasini & Fabio Rizzi
• Chris Mann, composer and performer. “Language is the mechanism whereby you understand what I'm thinking better than I do (where i is defined by those changes for which i is required)". He is currently based in New York City.
Meseo Pietro Canonica, Rome, Italy 24 May 2012
3. Privation F Dec Release
J. Gordon Faylor
Iteration · December 8–10, 2012 · Philadelphia
Counter-variation · Strict partial order · Samples · Apartment · Two rooms subdivided into four sections, connected by another · Two to four doorways · Peavey bass amp · Water · Vans
Nonrandomized domestic recordings: four linear tracks, seven breaks · Contingent irregularities — exception: three guests arrive · Additive objects and/or surfaces substitute, account for one another’s duration — obfuscatory spatial treatments · Per lack of attention, nonproportional proximity the rooms the podcast · Admeasure · Aural minimalism in lieu of fiction · A man hissed from behind the door · Terminology · Regressive link · Discourse: “just me walking around” inference — preemptive, unsystematized save f trials of these spaces, their interchangeability, section lengths “two arbitrary silences, facilitating sound for rec,” imposing experiences, rites, approaches · Walking to and away from · Inability to construe systematization (e.g. weather) as voiding aesthetic games, I sunk my head only a little out of disappointment · Amount
The guests annex media · Andy Martrich : Iona (BlazeVox, 2012), Once : “The Empty Deck” (N/A, 1981), Trisha Low : Purge (Troll Thread, 2012) · Discretionary approaches of interaction and abandonment — compulsive wandering, browsing, setting down of
Attempts 40 seconds 8:00-13:00 · 50 seconds 22:00-25:00 · Bonus two more eclipsed segments
4. The Trajectory Toward Which All Other Trajectories Converge
Ian M. Fraser and Reed Evan Rosenberg
"To understand the trajectories of the stars through a galaxy, Michel Hénon computed the intersections of an orbit with a plane. The resulting patterns depended on the system's total energy. The points from a stable orbit gradually produced a continuous, connected curve. Other energy levels, however, produced complicated mixtures of stability and chaos, represented by regions of scattered points. […]
The nested detail, lines within lines, can be seen in final form in a series of pictures with progressively greater magnification. But the eerie effect of the strange attractor can be appreciated another way when the shape emerges in time, point by point. It appears like a ghost out of the mist. New points scatter so randomly across the screen that it seems incredible that any structure is there, let alone a structure so intricate and fine. Any two consecutive points are arbitrarily far apart, just like any two points initially nearby in a turbulent flow. Given any number of points, it is impossible to guess where the next will appear—except, of course, that it will be somewhere on the attractor.
The points wander so randomly, the pattern appears so ethereally, that it is hard to remember that the shape is an attractor. It is not just any trajectory of a dynamical system. It is the trajectory toward which all other trajectories converge. That is why the choice of starting conditions does not matter. As long as the starting point lies somewhere near the attractor, the next few points will converge to the attractor with great rapidity."
From Chaos: Making A New Science by James Gleick (pgs. 148-150)
The track is a collection of études whose content is entirely derived from sonification of the Hénon Map and a sound file of the Chaos: Making A New Science AAX format audiobook interpreted as raw audio data.
Realized in real time without any human interference, each étude is the diffusion of a single variation of a compact patch coded by Fraser & Rosenberg in Supercollider in which the chaotic sonifications modulate various parameters regulating the playback of the raw data sound file. The études were sequenced in Audacity, each separated by a period of silence. All software utilized in the piece is free and open source.
- RER & IMF
5. Immersion Loop
Jordan Topiel Paul
Field recordings, MP3 compression 2013
Recordings often ask you to listen out-of-body by immersing yourself in the stereo image that the medium is reproducing. As if music were a window whose objects you could only perceive by imagining yourself on the other side.
Immersion Loop asks you to stay where you are, to view the surface of the window and feel its effects in your space. The music is immersed, not the listener. Go about your business as though this sound is equal to all others: chatter, wind, traffic, footsteps, radios, appliance noise, etc.
Sound is contingent on material yet it has no material component of its own. In some of your recent work, you focus on the material that shapes acoustic environments (such as the wood in Tonewood Hills and the awning in Eve). By emphasizing the physical reality of sound, the non-ethereal, material aspect of aural perception is accentuated. It is my belief that part of what distinguishes the culture surrounding sound practices from the wider field of visual culture is the tendency to look inward and deal with the formal aspects of sound while neglecting the outward, external elements that also inform sonic experience. I would be interested in you addressing this particular concern within your work.
Sound has no obvious materiality but it does still have materiality.
As with the media of light, one of the unique and fascinating characteristics of sound is that it can be present and absent simultaneously.
I am very interested in the relationship between the various elements that shape a situation, a space, an experience. You might say that light makes it possible to see walls or that walls enable one to experience and catch light. With sound resonating in a room, a room's tone is created by distances, material, heights of ceilings and the thickness of walls.
A point I find interesting in Steen Eiler Rasmussen's text Hearing Architecture is that buildings are built to make certain ways of singing or talking possible or impossible and that certain ways of singing are developed for specific buildings. This relationship between sound and architecture, in particular, has been crucial for me.
The relationship is also something I am currently investigating as part of a work/study in South India. In several of the temples here, there are pillars constructed specifically to create a unique room tone. These are referred to as musical pillars. In one particular temple, two pillars were removed by the British at some point in history. I am interested in somehow imagining and re-creating the tones that the two missing pillars may have created.
From a conceptual point of view, the project relates to a series of soundboards made of resonating tonewood that I have made. The soundboards do not produce their own sound. They exist as suggestions for alternative non-standardized resonances (see Three Non-standardized Resonances). The space between what can be heard, what can be audibly remembered and audibly imagined is central to my practice. And here the materiality and form of the objects become objects in their own right but also abstract tools with which to begin the thought process into the remembered and the imagined.
in terms of editing, mix of the track
Me: I just listened through again
and was wondering about the order
of the question sets
Me: like what if we move the first question set to after the talking
Me: it's hard to say though if that would make any difference
as it stands it's not too bad
it's just really austere in the beginning
and a little silly at the end
Me: though the pink noise helps
actually quite a bit
after the describing food section
EL: its a cleanser
Me: totally a palate cleanser
EL: I've been working with pink noise
natural comb filters
I'm open to changing the order
I think it might be better that way because
the call and response process
is sort of like q and a
not q and q
so if we rearrange it
it might make it clearer as just qs
Me: the first three sections
are pretty pat
as in they make a lot of sense as a series of responses
Me: what if we start with sine tone?
then Mexico, your click track, pink noise and dog howl?
I can do that
Me: or at least give it a try
EL: the one mix thought I had
I'm into rearranging it
I think describing food sounds a bit bassy or loud or something
I might just bring it down a bit
Me: it's a super shitty recording
done through a crap mic in front of a speaker
EL: I usually dont mess with the mix too much on LA cause I want it to be as it is
Me: either clean it up or make it messier
EL: ok I might just leave it then
EL: I think this is all about
Me: there's some mic feedback that happens
that bassy part
EL: not changing things to make them more palatable
Me: no and my sort of thing is lo-fidelity
and shit recording
Me: partially because I don't have the right equipment
EL: ok I'll leave it
Me: and partially because all these artifacts are becoming extinct
and that's interesting to me
EL: it's all just diffusing into the ether
Me: so when I was listening again today
it sounded a bit less cynical
though I still wonder if it's opening anything up
or is it just sort of lazy? I felt lazy on my part
Me: though I did spend some time thinking about how to pose a question in sound
EL: like our idea of "question" was too open ended?
EL: it's a perspective, right?
Me: and we didn't get a chance to really talk midstream about what was happening once we started passing sound back and forth
well if you think about an actual interview
its a real time, intuitive activity
EL: so maybe you felt lazy
because you were thinking
“if this is a piece of work
this is lazy work”
Me: but if this is an interview
it's probably more natural, less lazy
EL: going with whatever sound you think is appropriate
Me: I definitely think that back and forth interviews over the internet make it difficult to get the true face to face quality
because everyone spends so much time on their questions and answers
so part of me did want to be quick about things
EL: kind of like how everything is photoshopped
interviews are cleaned up
but I think the perspective point is important
because as long as you think of each section as a question
Me: is it worth it to share what kinds of questions we felt we were asking with the sounds?
EL: you will process the interview differently than if you experience it as a work
if you think the thinking behind them is interesting
I guess my thinking was kind of obtuse
Me: I mean I definitely took each track as a question
EL: more macro
Me: and started from there
sort of intuiting what was being asked
EL: I think it has interesting aesthetic implications though
Me: how so?
like the aesthetics of an interview
but stripping that format of its normal traits
and filling it with material that is more commonly considered from an aesthetic perspective or attitude
telling a public this is an interview and not a work
Me: what are the aesthetics of an interview ?
EL: trying to struggle with how to approach the sounds
well I think all aesthetics is perspective
anything is art right?
its just how you approach it
but some things are more well defined than others
you go to a museum
or listen to a recording
it's easier to say
this is art or this is music
when you listen to an interview
you probably focus more on the content
and think less about the particulars of the format
Me: my thought was what does it mean to pour different content into established forms
the form of the interview for instance
that A to B to C to D and so forth
or even the use of an interview inside an interview
is our interview more about the form of interview?
EL: yeah maybe its less about questions and answers
more about this kind of conversation format
Me: the abstraction of asking a question in sound is probably too broad
but the idea of making an interview in sound … hmmm..
EL: I think its pretty clear that
we were having a conversation
Me: yea.. I think so
Me: is that less interesting
just a sonic conversation?
does that open anything up?
EL: we can just call it Interview
Me: I thought about the questions that these sounds may have raised
EL: yeah I think
it's more natural to think of them as questions than answers
cause answers are closed
Me: that's an important distinction right.. is this an interview, a discussion, a debate?
EL: its too serial to be any of those
think about the word interview
its a view of the inside
Me: it's also really linear
which is more interview like
EL: we approached it that way
question is harder
I mean we can still think of the material as questions
but it might be less significant to explain that
Me: well supposing that it's difficult to say who was asking the question and who was providing the answer
sonically it doesn't seem so completely certain
in fact the most Answer Like sound seems to be the first one in a way
it's a sound that seems like a statement to me
Me: perhaps that's on account of my relationship to the sample
Me: which I've used in so many different performances now
that is has a certain value that's been assigned to it
Me: the other sounds are all open for me
and mostly used here for the first time
EL: but it doesnt necessarily answer any of the other questions
in this context it works as a question
Me: I love when this guy talks about how he loves lyricism
Me: and cites Eminem as a favorite
EL: I thought it was perfect
do you notice he hardly takes a moment
he just reads off questions one after the other
he's playing COD while he's doing this btw
Me: he's just scrolling through this screen
I thought about what it means to "play" something
when I listened to this
EL: "some really bad questions in here..."
Me: "no offense to those that sent them in" !
EL: I'm really happy
Me: shout out to MongolianGnome
Me: he's very smooth
EL: whats your middle name
EL: you? Bonnie Bethel
Me: Bonnie Bethel Jones
Me: do you carry a pocket knife?
EL: such a fine start
Me: I'm wondering about the impetus behind my response/question to this...
the describing food
Me: I think my response was snarky
EL: what is describing food from?
Me: english language lessons
EL: thats what i thought
Me: for Koreans
who probably dominate COD anyways
EL: I was thinking if I could go back and tweak what I did
my first question
after your sample
I would take out the last two sections
and just leave it silent
the first beating motif
Me: you could do that if you wanted
Me: the Mexico into that first section is musically awesome
Me: hard not to hear it that way
EL: we are changning it anyway
EL: and I like how it kicks off
we are photoshopping right now
EL: I dont want to be doing this from an aesthetic place
but the choices i made
EL: originally were kinda aesthetic
Me: yea... I think my first question was aesthetic
but then again
I do have a strong attachment to that sample
EL: its good
its the starting point
we needed to start somewhere
Me: my other choices were made as quickly as possible
EL: what are we deciding on describing food
leave it be?
Me: I think I wanted to put it out there that the voice is an instrument
designed to convey meaning
but meaning isn't really singular
so to a native speaker
the way this guy describes food is a little weird
EL: he thinks it’s all tasty
Me: that's weird
EL: do you know this guy
EL: we should tour with him
Me: oily is for like skin and hair
and hot oil wrestling
Me: I'm not sure I’ve ever had a conversation that felt completely open
at each turn
but maybe I've made music that had aspects of that
Me: entire areas unresolved
EL: i think thats a definition of a good musical experience
Me: what about the hounds do you think?
we had a duo
EL: I thought it was you at first
EL: thats a live duo?
Me: I guess I have been thinking more about nature and electronics
Me: perhaps this is on account of the cicadas
Me: they were up here in New York and I caught just the tail end of them
the 17 year guys
EL: aged and ripe
I’m thinking this piece
will be good
Me: not a piece..an interview
Me: maybe we should do a COD style
Me: we can set something up after you put out the edition
and open it to the public to live QA us
not that anyone would.. haha
EL: you never know
EL: what are we calling this?
Me: .. was trying to think about that
Could just be the usual.. Interview with Bonnie Jones & Ricky Laska
Me: I sort of love the idea
of you having a sort of regular thing
where you do some kind of interview
that tweaks the interview problem
of talking about music with musicians
Me: interviews and trying to tell someone about musical ideas in words
8. Untitled, 2013 Critique
This recording was produced during a sculpture critique with Irina Arnaut and David Barr.
9. Nuvole Detail Prototype with Holiday Vignettes
Please read the following instructions before playback:
The audio above is not the work but a means to facilitate the dynamic listening which you must perform.
Throughout playback you must adjust the volume of your playback system in relation to the constantly shifting loudness of the audio track.
The object of continual volume adjustment is to maintain as constant a resulting perceived volume as possible, despite continual changes of volume built into the track. Performance requires constant attention to the track's loudness and simultaneous compensation in relation to its changes:
- if the track gets louder, you must turn down playback volume;
- if the track gets quieter, you must turn up playback volume.
By such constant compensation, perceived volume should remain as static as possible.
There are two suggested base playback levels and options for performance:
1) Throughout performance, audio should be kept at the threshold of audibility. This means that the volume level to maintain throughout should never exceed or be less than that volume level below which you could no longer apprehend an audio signal. This means that throughout performance, what you hear should be perpetually on the edge of "nothing": as soon as you hear "something", tend to turn it down; as soon as you can no longer hear "anything," tend to turn it up.
2) Throughout performance, audio should be kept at the threshold of comprehensibility. The material of the audio track is spoken English text. This means that the volume level to maintain throughout should be the minimum level necessary to "follow" the semantic context of the text. This means that throughout performance, what you hear should be perpetually on the edge of clearly making out the content of the text, but no more: as soon as you clearly understand it, tend to turn it down; as soon as you can't understand it, tend to turn it up.
In both cases, loudness changes in the track swiftly, slowly, and at every speed between; so too must your compensatory adjustments be.
- Audio begins only after 15 seconds.
- The audio track begins extremely quietly (ca. -50 dB). As such, your playback system should be turned up to its maximum setting to hear anything at all. From there, one can best proceed with either of the performance options.
- Before attempting performance, make note of the functioning of the volume controls of your playback system - whether in the form of a knob, slider, button on your keyboard or remote control, or whichever virtual control you might have on your computer or device screen. You must be able to dynamically adjust volume during playback.
- Before attempting performance, you might determine and accustom yourself to the playback level you have chosen for performance (1 or 2) so that you can better track that level during performance.
- If during playback at maximum volume your system cannot fulfill the audible requirements for performance options 1 or 2, you might consider an alternative playback system or playback via headphones.
- If during playback your system is too loud, you will need to perform the entire listening in the lower portion of your possible volume spectrum. If your volume controls do not offer adequate dynamic range in the quieter register, you might then consider an alternative playback system or playback via headphones.
- "Successful" performance is unlikely on your first try. Performance can and should be "rehearsed." Advanced performance might also enter into loudness compensation of noisier or more dynamic playback environments.
The text of the audio track, a condensed version of Bill Dietz's "Holiday Vignettes" (2013), was read by Tami Birch, Chris Dietz, and the author on January 10th, 2014 in Bisbee, Arizona.
A live study for "Nuvole Detail" was presented on December 21st, 2013 at Exploded View Gallery in Tucson, Arizona.
A "Nuvole Detail" Tutorial Diversions Profiling Software, with which any audio source material can serve as the basis for listening performance, will be released later in 2014.
10. Aphorisms Interrupted by Anecdotal Sound
1 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wood
2 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wood
3 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wood
4 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wool
5 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal oven
6 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wool
7 – An aphorism interrupted by some anecdotal wood
11. Uneven Developments
Uneven Developments is conceived as two independent monophonic compositions of synthetic sounds to be played simultaneously.
Diverse sonic events with varying duration and volume appear and behave independently on each channel. While the palette of sounds may be quite similar on both channels due to the uniform method of sound generation that is based on and inspired by analog modules, the aim of this piece is to reconsider the dominant consensus regarding the notion of stereo sound. Therefore, a central and fixed position for listening is not required and "uneven" or "unusual" speaker arrangements are strongly encouraged.
The piece is born out of two sound collages made with digitally generated sounds from Supercollider and includes processed recordings realized at the BEA5 analog studio of The Institute of Sonology in The Hague, 2013.
Contributions from (in the order in which they occur):
Mark So/Eileen Myles
Johnny Chang (with Dina Khouri)
Jordan Topiel Paul