"Pastoral V.2" is a curated overview hoping to underline the history of those classic works of electronic and concrète music which sought to mimic and extend the voices and sounds of our pastoral landscape, which can be closer to the heart of the medium’s inherent potential than the more common identifications with inhuman or alienated expressions of industrial culture.
The emerging medium of electronic music found its way to a wider public audience in the 1950’s, accompanied by descriptions of the sounds as inherently unearthly, fantastic, or cold and inhuman. Partially this was in response to the medium’s instant adoption as sound effects for science fiction films and television shows, as spearheaded by Louis and Bebe Barron in their score for the film “Forbidden Planet”. But electronic musical instruments also possessed the ability to closely emulate and extend the voices of the animal world to a greater degree than any musical instrument in history. A gated tone oscillator or untempered synthesizer gives a player a better chance at creating melodies that sound like birdsong than any violin or flute – save perhaps for a recording of a flute that’s been sped up several octaves, using the techniques of musique concrète.
TV ON THE RADIO #1 & #2 (Radio MACBA; not the band)
Quick editorial note before you look into this linked thing any deeper: I love TV. This (what lies below these words) just helps to deepen that love. That’s it. That’s the complete note.
TV ON THE RADIO #1
30.11.2010 (27’ 10”)
Curated by Kenneth Goldsmith
In MACBA’s exhibition, “Are You Ready for TV?”, a visitor can see what happens when the aesthetic of visual artists collides with the world of television. The results are anything but what you’d expect to see on TV. Likewise, when television collides with audio arts, a new and disconcerting soundtrack emerges, one that can only have been a product of artists swiping, sampling, détourning, recycling, remixing, and mashing-up sources emanating from the television. There’s a great history of audio works mashed up, inspired by and taken from TV and we’ll be listening to ten of them here. Unlike the works in the exhibition, these more ephemeral gestures travel in different ways, often reinserting themselves back into mass culture by means of mechanical reproduction, spread widely and thinly across culture. In many cases, this type of distribution has impacted back upon popular culture itself, creating an historical echo chamber. With no museum needed to reframe these works as art, the mere displacement from one medium into another creates an ecosystem unique to the recorded artifact, distinctly different than that of the visual. These works live on, perpetuating themselves in popular culture via the internet, as well as in the form of LPs, cassette tapes, CDs and MP3s.
TV ON THE RADIO #2
16.03.2011 (34’ 01”)
Curated by Kenneth Goldsmith
This is the second podcast that accompanies MACBA’s exhibition “Are You Ready for TV?” In the Museum, you can see what happens when the aesthetic of visual artists collides with the world of television. The results are anything but what you’d expect to see on TV, full of surrealistic interventions and disruptions. Or when artists work on television, there is often an embedded critique of the medium, something that questions the very essence of what our eyeballs are glued to every night. As curator Chus Martínez writes about this show: ‘This is not an exhibition about television, but one conceived from the place of television. Its aim: to study how the diverse ways of grasping images and the life of concepts contribute to tracing the horizon of our cultural present.’
In our first podcast, we examined what happened when audio artists used the sounds of television as a source for the audio works. The results – demonstrated to us by everyone from John Cage to the Evolution Control Committee – were rich and varied. For this podcast, we actually listen to the soundtracks from the videos in the show themselves. In essence, we treat the visual works as if they’re audio and see what happens. In most cases, we discover that the sounds emanating from the visual works can stand on their own as great listening experiences. In other works, the visuals and sounds are deliberately ‘uninteresting,’ tending to highlight the mundane or the insignificant experiences of life, which of course, are equally rich in an inverted sort of way. Although there are hundreds of works in the actual exhibition, we’ve selected ten to spotlight here that are particularly varied and interesting and which, taken as a whole, can provide you with the flavor of MACBA’s exhibition, “Are You Ready for TV?”.