SEME SLAP / SEED WHITEWATER

by Bostjan Perovsek

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about

Most of the CD contains the music from the dancing performance with the same title (Cankarjev dom, Cultural & Congress Centre, Ljubljana, May 1998), slightly adapted for recording on the CD. This music, constituting one of the basic elements, fully equivalent to dance, was originally composed for a stage performance.

The composition »Crystals«, one of the remaining three independent compositions on the CD, was composed for the exhibition of minerals with the title »Hidden Treasures of Macedonia«, held in the Natural History Museum of Slovenia (October 1999). His acoustic expression is an association of ideas reminding of the physical structure of minerals and their genesis in the nature. The »Acoustic Record« arises out of the co-authors' project – the exhibition with the title »Typescripts and Acoustic Records« (November 1997), where I perceived the graphic symbols of the artist Dr. Jaka Bonča as common formal units that I transformed into a play of rhythm and sound. The composition »Word Beyond ... Somewhere« is a continuation of the composition »Word Beyond« from the performance »Seed White Water« and makes part of a larger bioacoustic musical project called »Touchings II«.

All music works composed and performed by Bostjan Perovsek
The compositions from 1 to 14 were written for the dance performance The Seed the White Water of the authoress Sasa Staparski (Premiere in May 1998, Cankarjev dom, culture and congress centre, Ljubljana,)

Original recordings of the natural environment: Dr. Matija Gogala (The primeval forest of Malaysia) and Dr. Tomi Trilar (the drops in Krizna cave, Slovenia)

Producer: Bostjan Perovsek

original release on CD: 2000

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ESSAY, Milan Stibilj
(published in CDs booklet)

Electronic music as a whole is a discovery of the technical progress of the 20th century. The same as every new technology, it provides, in addition to its advantages, a number of new issues and problems that the world of musical art has not known before. Suddenly, the supreme achievements of the entire development appeared almost unnecessary and the values of the European musical culture, that can be considered to have actually overwhelmed the world with its organizational structure, proficiency and aesthetics, seemed to be trivial. This, however, brought about an exceptionally efficient new musical instrument, enabling us different, if not almost dangerously simplified conditions for creative work – this and nothing more. Yet, under the pressure of the technical possibilities at our disposal, we had a wrong approach to electronic music from the very beginning.

Every musical instrument has its technical and expressional particularities that on the other hand involve certain deficiencies. At creative work, this all determines the balance between the possible development of expression and the maximum utilization of musical effects along with simultaneous adjustment to the performing possibilities. Like every traditional musical instrument, electronic machines, too, combine the technical splendor and the underlying hurdles, in particular if facing the tasks of musical creativity.

Every tool – and the machines producing electronic music make no exception – is an extension of the activity of a living organism, hence of the human being and his mind. Thus every musical instrument, too, is only a means and/or an aid for musical expression that can only end in a merely artistic musical effect. Frank Wilson, American neurologist and specialist in motor skills, is stressing in his recent studies – the same as we can also experience – that the manual skill (such as very important at musical interpretation) is indirectly also a spur of the reflective development that in turn encourages the creativity as the discovery of a special kind of abstraction, i.e. of musical meditation. Therefore, music can also be regarded as a simulation of mental processes.

In general, the practice in the field of electronic music did not much care about the traditional logical approach in musical creation and arrangement of the acoustic material. Evidently, it was not aware of the fact that artistic effectiveness can only be achieved when the respective acoustic flow practically negates, as a matter of fact destroys the technical approaches that have led to its realization and independent perception in the listener's consciousness. This applies to both the creative composing and the interpretation of the instrumental music. And this seems to be the greatest deficiency of electronic acoustic products. They only allow for a single interpretation, yet lacking the elements of reanimation, such as known in the traditional acoustic record and the respective interpretative demands. Accordingly, in spite of all this technical simplicity, composing of electronic music is much more demanding, if we wish to avoid the primitive effects of entertainment music and to move on the level of an artistic expression.

In this sphere the authors will have to be particularly careful when using the computer and the related equipment for production, processing and reproduction of music as an extension of their musical thought, as a specific musical instrument with incredible production abilities, at the same time involving many obstacles that the composer should overcome through his composing skill. Accordingly, the problems of composing with the help of electronic media do no at all differ from those encountered at composing music to be played on traditional musical instruments. In many aspects it is even more demanding, in particular if aiming at the top standards: the composer does not have at his disposal a musician that could put such piece of music into life – he is obliged to alone elaborate all elements of a piece of music, including the definite acoustic form.

Besides, it seems that the convenience of current acoustic control of the smallest elements of a future piece of electronic music tends to suppress the author's urgent need for an abstract view of the whole. It particularly prevents from self-criticism that is doubtlessly one of the basic and irreplaceable requirements of artistic creativity. Therefore a great majority of electronic compositions remain in fragments, lacking an expressive "arch", as usually referred to in the field of traditional creativity. It means that in the field of electronic musical creativity, professional knowledge of composing techniques and an insight into the development of musical aesthetics represent a vital element of the author's personality. In other words, a sophisticated computer program along with all possible sound production machinery in ready-made acoustic decoration cannot build a composer, although certain producers of such programs try to enforce us this idea.

The development of electronic music was conditioned by the invention of electronics at the beginning of the 20th century, while the outburst of the respective technological development was a consequence of the development of the integrated circuit board and of the software in the last decades of the 20th century. Thus the original analogue technique of acoustic transmission (i. e. sound recorded on the tape and in turn elaborated on the tape through cutting and re-recording) was completely replaced by the sound, digitalized by means of the computer, produced on special equipment and subject to software processing.

The existing advanced and easily accessible equipment for production, processing and reproduction of any acoustic material whatsoever have their predecessors in many electronic musical instruments of original design. One of them is the well-known »Ondes Martenot« electronic musical instrument that used to be the greatest success, launched by the then famous composers and in use on concerts of contemporary music long after World War II. The original version of this instrument, subsequently subject to numerous improvements, was produced in 1928 by Maurice Martenot, a French wireless telegraph operator and music teacher, who named it »Ondes Musicales«. The earliest predecessor of the equipment for production of special instrumental sounds and for simulation of traditional instrumental sounds (on the keyboard or without it) goes back to the year 1955. It was called »Electronic Music Synthesizer« and was produced at the Columbia University /Princeton/ in the United States.

In the meantime the musical profession did not repose either. Already in 1948, Pierre Schaeffer, an engineer and musician, accompanied by a few of his adherents, started to investigate on the Paris radio the technical and composing issues concerning the application of concrete recorded non-musical sound effects from everyday life (at this point it is also worth mentioning the recordings of birds' singing by Boštjan Perovšek). A completely different approach was adopted in the electronic studio in Köln where the composers Herbert Eimert and Karlheinz Stockhausen started to explore synthetic sound effects. However, it soon turned out that the distinction between musical efforts with reference to the source of the acoustic material produced a hindering effect. Therefore in 1953, Pierre Schaeffer – also under the influence of the participating composers – changed the name of its institution called »Groupe de Recherches de Musique Concrete« into »Groupe de Recherches Musicales«.

The development of music certainly depends on the creative zeal that arises out of the man's mental capacity. This is the capacity that deserves willful asserting. The musical values of an acoustic happening shall also constitute the values of electronic music. Only on these grounds it will be possible to agree with the Slovene scientist Miroslav Adlešič who wrote in his book with the title »The World of Sound and Music« (1964) that in the field of contemporary top-level musical art, continuing the extremely precious tradition of the development of the European culture of concerts, »the acoustic effects« of electronic music »produced with loudspeakers, make identical impressions of equal value from physiological, psychological and aesthetic point of view.« Likewise it is possible to share the faith of the composer Arthur Honegger into »the music of mechanics in the world of music« as well as into the »development of the machine-type music«. The machine, of course, can also function as an instrument of expression of musical meditation, provided that such meditation exists and that the machine is nothing more than a mere appliance for implementation of the results of such meditation.

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released August 30, 2016

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Bostjan Perovsek Slovenia

musician, composer and soundscape artist, composes experimental, electro acoustic music. He specialises in creating bio- acoustic music based on the sounds of animals, especially insects. He also creates music for film, theatre, performances and multimedia installations, as well as soundscapes for museums and galleries. He works also as sound engineer for film and video. ... more

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