En Red O 1999. Simposium of Electroacoustic Music
AMEE. Côclea. Orquestra del Caos
On line music
Soundscape is a common experience to a great many species with a nervous system. It is also essential to their survival: their success in adapting to the environment depends in part on the precision and urgency with which certain acoustic signals are identified.
For better or for worse, whoever they were, whether they came from the plains formed by the ashes of the explosion of the Ngorongoro or not, if our predecessors had not been able to detect their predators at a distance of kilometres in the dark, we would not be here today.
They were able to do just that thanks to their sense of hearing. The Massai on the Serengueti plains have a far lower hearing threshold than the inhabitants of noisy metropolises where the level and characteristics of the sounds issued by each source do not correspond directly to their intrinsic danger. No mutation seems to have taken place: whereas the Massai, or, to give another of many possible examples, the peoples of the steppes of southern Siberia and the taiga of Tuva, maintain the tensing device of the eardrum in a state of constant relaxation, the inhabitants of large, noisy cities are condemned to tense theirs so persistently that in the course of just a few years, they are irreversibly paralysed.
The result is that members of the culture of noise can hear much less than they should be able to, because their dynamic listening margin is much smaller than nature dictates. It seems contradictory that a culture like ours, which accords so much importance to music - traditionally calling it the art of sounds -, should subject its members to situations which clearly contribute to an increasing deterioration of the channels of perception by which sound information reaches their minds.
Apart from the cultural details conditioning it, it would seem that conflict plays a key part in the development of human intelligence. To be able to face up to new emerging conflicts without them becoming additional burdens, whenever one is detected, it is vital to resolve it as definitively as possible.
The Asociación de Música Electroacústica de España (Spanish Association of Electro-Acoustic Music), Côclea and the Orquestra del Caos are well aware of the difficulties arising from the active modification of the soundscape in the fields of ethics and aesthetics, and hope that this subtle acoustic experience can, in the not too distant future, be shared by everyone. Their aim, with the production of this year's En Red O, is to sensitise public opinion, inform people about the reality and the importance of the soundscape and publicise the work of artists from around the world who are aware of the acoustic wealth of the environments in which they live and carry out their projects. We would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of them who have sent us their works; by doing so, they have helped to make possible something which, a few month's back, was no more than a vague idea.
José Manuel Berenguer