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The world of electronic music is a world without boundaries. Everybody who worked in this field had or has an open mind and often a view into the future. But sometimes the sounds which surround us are even more fascinating. Listening to electronic music broadens your sound perspective. During the time you are actually listening something happens in your mind. Sounds aren’t recognized anymore as pure sounds but as a composition which leads you into a new world of thoughts and imagination. In reverse, daily sounds which are isolated from their original spot suddenly sounds as if they are electronically generated. That’s an even stranger view. Pierre Schaeffer worked with this idea in his Musique Concrete and after him others worked in the same field. Mostly Schaeffer added sounds and made a collage of all kinds of material. But what if you put only the pure sounds of nature on tape or disc and let those sounds hear to others. At first you listen to wind, birds and other animals but then something switches the perspective and the crow of the raven just becomes pure  sound. Are you listening to nature or to sounds? A strange effect. But it is just the perspective you are brought into. Maybe John Cage was the first person who had this view when he realized his 4:33. The silent compositions exist only by the surrounding sounds and they become the composition itself. Cage: "I drink carrot juice. That isn't art. But after I have attached a contact microphone on the glass and I drink carrot juice, it suddenly is art."
Recently there are some composers who use this idea again to create their view of a broad sound perspective. And it’s fascinating. Listening to nature, suddenly nature is part of a composition, is the composition itself! Name it ambient, name it experimental, does it file under electronic? Maybe, if you think of the sound imagination it appeals. In that view, this ‘music’ belongs here too. Thinking of nature as experimental is sheer lunacy itself of course. But walking in Het Binnenveld (the Innerfield) my imagination creates new ‘compositions’ every time. And take it from me: walking inside a composition can be quite spectacular!

Chris Watson’s recordings are somewhat different. It isn’t actually electronic music, it is more listening to nature or natural sounds. Sometimes he edits his sound recordings. If you listen to his 28 minute time compression from sunset to sunrise in South Africa's Kalahari desert it makes very clear that our surrounding sounds are equal or even more fascinating to electronic created sounds. In fact, his recordings: Cross Pollination, Weather Report and Stepping into the Dark opens your ears again. Watson places his microphones very close to the origin of sounds a place, as tells his website, where you can’t put your ears.
Watson was a member of the famous synthesizer based group Cabaret Voltaire. Since 1981 he developed his interest in recording wildlife and atmospherics. He worked for the BBC and various movie makers and makes live performances.
In 2006 Watson was awarded an honorary Doctor of Technology degree for his ’outstanding sound recording technology’. Together with Marcus Davidson he premiered the Bee Symphony. A symphony which was built using the sounds of buzzing bees.
Recently Watson released El Tren Fantasma, described as "a thrilling acoustic journey across the heart of Mexico from Pacific to Atlantic coast using archive recordings to recreate a rail passenger service which no longer exists.” The discs sounds amazing, the thundering of the wheels on the rails just sounds as a bumping bass or a adjusted electronic rhythm computer and don’t forget the sounds of the breaks, the cicadas, the passengers. A month recording on the train resulted in about forty minutes on the disc. Quite a journey, even in your living room. When listening to it, your thoughts dream away, you don’t realise anymore you are listening the natural sounds and not artificial sounds. Get on the train also!

Jana Winderen lives and works in Oslo. In contrast to Watson who mostly works in the open air, Winderen often dives down. The sounds she collects come from oceans, ice(berg) and other hidden places. Her most recent cd Energy Field consist of recordings “made on field trips to the Barents Sea (north of Norway and Russia), Greenland and Norway, deep in crevasses of glaciers, in fjords and in the open ocean.” The sounds you hear on first hearing seems to be extra-terrestrial, abrasive sounds in very low frequencies; mysterious sounds, but are still somehow familiar. Winderen often performs live, using her recorded sounds as basics for sound experiments. For Energy Field she received the Golden Nica (2011). The Prix Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria) is one of the most important yearly prizes in the field of electronic and interactive art, computer animation, digital culture and music. The Golden Nica is the highest price.

Water Beetles of Pollardstown Fen | Tom LawrenceTalking about extra-terrestrial sounds. You probably always wanted to know how water beetles sound? The small insects seem to produce an enormous sound, high pitch and repetitive screeches . Water Beetles of Pollardstown Fen, recorded by Tom Lawrence (he suddenly died in 2011). Lawrence recorded the water beetles and other water insects or animals like the water scorpion, water boatman The sounds were amplified and made for our ears through a special computer program. It is a fascinating world. Electronic music, communicating insects… It’s all possible. Except an overhead aircraft all sounds come from the insects found at various places like Pollardstown Fen.
Lawrence has worked for the BBC and was also a teacher in recording practice and sonic art and was member of the Irish Film and Television Academy.



Innerfield Paul









 


Chris Watson at work


Ant sounds?


Jana Winderen recording in icy water


Tom Lawrence