Saturday, January 09, 2010

The Idea of Space in Chipmusic

Recently, I have been thinking about the concept and role of (physical or virtualised audio) space in chipmusic. Space in electronic music is interesting, because most spaces must be fabricated in one way or another - whether by using a physical space or by the virtualising of a space via electronic means (whether by compositional or production methods).

In general, the concept and role of space within chipmusic can be divided into a number of categories, namely: space as meta-narrative, space as narrative and space as effect.

To expand on these three: space as meta-narrative refers to the idea of recording a layer of audio beyond and outside of the world of audio output from a given digital system. The role of using space in this way is to provide a meta-narrative; to situate the musical composition in a specific environment and create a mood that is beyond and outside of the given musical characteristics of the work that has been composed. The outcome is that the audience is aware of the world outside of the composition (but still part of the recording) and thus the context of the listening experience has been once-removed from a direct relationship between music and playback medium.

Examples of space as meta-narrative include portions of the work titled 'Blast' by Alex Mauer as well as my own 'Always By Your Side (Part 1)'.

Space as narrative and space as effect are sometimes difficult to distinguish, and sometimes the two may of course overlap. Space as narrative is when the use of echo / delay lines / reverberation connects with the programmatic material of a work. An example (at least in my mind) would be Nebula by RushJet1, where the echo heard on the pulse wave is linked to the theme of the piece.

Space as effect is extremely common, and includes the use of both production effects such as reverberation plugins, digital delay lines and the like, as well space that has been created via compositional / data manipulation means (such as single, dual and multi-channel echos and reverbs).


fuxter said...

the link appears to be dead

Sebastian Tomczak said...

Should be fixed now. Thanks for the heads up!

Rei Yano said...

having a hard time understanding the meta part... =(

Rei Yano said...

OH I GET IT =( yeah Always By Your Side was gorgeous.