The world is sound; the universe, a rhythmic, vibratory process.
Sound is context and signal. We are bathed in it always. Our ears and brains are very good at picking out just the parts we need – but what about the rest? I concern myself with the fabric of this ambient context, the fabric of our acoustic connection to our environment. I also concern myself with the texture and quality of the signal – the underlying communication buried in the obvious.
Sound is physical force, and the ear an exquisitely fine pressure sensor. Of all the senses, hearing has the most in common with touch.
Every sound, however generated or manipulated, ends up as a pressure wave eventually. The starting place for this kind of work is the ear, the known acoustic world, the tactility of sound, the experience of it. From here, should we choose to be manipulators, we can work backwards into volume, timing, placement, articulation, density, space. Or, if choosing to be explorers, we can set off with a knowledge of our tools, and our awake alive ears.
Awareness is critical. Engagement is critical.
The tools are microphones, sound making objects, recorders, samplers, synthesizers, mixers, editing systems, signal processing, control software, speakers, and the embedded intelligence of thousands of years of musical instrument design.
I’ve had the luxury of approaching music from the perspective of pure sound, a perspective made possible by technologies and ideas which I’ve grown up with. It’s exciting to dream of tools I’d like to use, and then discover that others, having similar dreams, are producing those very tools.
These technologies and the work created through their use expose the limits and prejudices embodied in our language. Is this music? Sound effects? Noise, ambience, tone, tint, soundscape? The term Sound Design gets a lot of play these days, though its industrial and utilitarian connotations seem to lack poetry. What else to call this art? Sound composition, sound montage? Call it what you will – as long as your ears, and the space between them, stay open.
– Jeremiah Moore