Trance, Shoegaze, EDM, No-wave, and Space pop. The link between electronically manipulated music genres is often complicated by specialization, but the artists who manipulate the computer-generated sounds would rather place these terms under the umbrella of “electroacoustic” music.
“Electroacoustic music is more of an approach to music, using live instruments and/or electronic means,” said Peter Elsea, director of the Electronic Music Studios (EMS). “We’re trying to make new instruments, new ways of creating sounds, new approaches to sounds, and in some cases we even redefine what is a musical sound, and play things that people are a little startled to hear,” he said.
This Saturday, at the UC Santa Cruz Music Center Recital Hall, a small group of Electronic Music minors will come together on a bill comprised by Elsea, to present an evening of electroacoustic music and interactive media at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to tangible instruments like guitar and violin, the performances will include multifaceted compositions of electronic elements using live looping, atmospheric feedback, and acoustic samples.
Patrick Ferraro, a music major and junior transfer from Porter College, said algorithmic computer programming is not readily encompassed by every student’s work. Some, he said, prefer the less constructivist approach, opting for live instrumentation and atmospheric recordings over the more scientifically generated sounds.
“What I’ve done is basically produced a song, reverse engineered it, and then broken it down into sections and plugged it into a sampler. So I’m basically going to be pressing buttons … over top of that I’m going to be playing some guitar live,” said Ferraro, who will make a formal debut as an individual artist on this fall’s lineup.
Ferraro describes “electroacoustic” as a musical discipline that eclipses the boundaries of genre. With student productions, he said it can be very artsy, noisy, and transcends the conventions of Western experimental music.
“Say you’re sitting in your room and you have a pair of scissors on your desk,” Ferraro said. “You hook up a mic, and you record you clipping scissors onto paper, and then you maybe alter that sound in a computer and use it for a sample.”