Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016 : SCRAAATCH
SCRAAATCH, the collaboration of artists E. Jane and chukwumaa (E+c), runs a workshop on sampling, Digital Audio Workstations (DAW), and Internet media.
SCRAAATCH curated a program of material for the session:
Intro: Adam Harper – The Voices Disrupting White Supremacy Through Sound
The voice is already a technology.
Yoko Ono – Voice Piece for Soprano
Fatima Al Qadiri (Ayshay) – Shaytan
We take the things that we love and we build on them.
Mark Ronson – How sampling transformed music
Hito Steyerl – In Defense of the poor image
JANUS [DJ Collective] – JANUS: Searching for a Sound that Doesn’t Exist
Wednesday, February 24th, 2016: Layla Ben-Ali and Daniel Villegas Vélez
Layla Ben-Ali and Daniel Villegas Vélez led a workshop session on the politics of timbre.
Here is Layla’s introduction to her project:
Dystopian narratives rendered by feminist messages of anti-technoculture are more than often left unnuanced in discourses of posthumanism. I hope to explore some of these narratives by discussing several contemporary black women musicians who create new categories of what it means to be “posthuman” through synthesizers and experimental musical aesthetics in Hip Hop and R&B. These versioned representations of posthumanity signify a convergence of important ideas of black collective memory, gender consciousness, desire and experimentation via several Afro-reticular aesthetics. I also suggest that alter-egos in Hip Hop and R&B are an attempt to dismantle both the dictatorial agendas of technoculture as well as subversively depict the marginalization of the artists’ experiences in the music industry.
Daniel’s circulated the following abstract and helpful introduction to discussing timbre for his session:
Timbre is one of four parameters we use to describe the characteristics of a particular sound in addition to pitch, rhythm, and dynamic (volume). However, defining what it is is not simple: A more technical definition would be that it is “the dimension that is different in two musical sounds that are the same in both pitch and loudness” (from the American Acoustical Association). Another definition states that timbre is “everything that remains after accounting for a tone’s pitch and dynamic level.” In other words, timbre is a remainder, it names difference itself, and paradoxically tells us more about a sound’s particular characteristics than the other parameters.
This presentation addresses the work of Brooklyn-based Kuwaiti producer Fatima Al Qadiri as an exploration of early voice-synthesis technologies and other timbral incorporations of protest, war, and surveillance society. We will also explore the technology in the voice patches she uses (the Korg M1 synthesizer), to reference 1980’s futuristic utopias, early nineties video games, and early 2000’s UK underground dance culture. Combining sampling with synthesis, these sounds constitute a dystopian unification of nature and technics. They are human and also machinic: cyborg sounds. Al Qadiri employs this technology to evoke unsettling anxieties around war and surveillance by tapping into the affective charges in the timbre of these synthesized voices, suggesting that our perception is already constituted by such a cyborg synthesis with and through sound.
Participants reviewed these links for an interview with Al Qadiri and a few examples of her work: