photo: Stephen Malagodi
“accelerating!” — Joseph Celli
“damn near as good as a walk in the woods.” — Stephen Malagodi
ph: Rodolfo Matamoros
Frozen Music (FM) is an experimental sound art ensemble that designs and realizes immersive sound environments in response to the acoustical characteristics of a given site. It focuses upon the making of otherwise inaudible phenomena audible in science, nature and architecture. Each performance is a kind of acoustical “tuning” or redrawing of the existing aural landscape through direct sound generation and amplification.
FM events are unique electroacoustic experiences of extended duration lasting at minimum 4 hours. Rather than a traditional ensemble—where each musician contributes a single voice to a collective—FM arises from a confluence of sonic activation strategies where each performer engages with their own autonomous audio gestalt and unique instrumentation to simultaneously occupy and stimulate the same acoustic environment.
FM germinated from ideas explored in the Subtropics 20 exhibition SOUND at The Bass Museum of Art in March 2009. Similar to current discourse in the art world concerning the concept of art as a research activity, FM takes this notion seriously and attempts to transcend mere theoreticism by focused efforts to combine both aesthetic and scientific insights, thereby creating experiential understandings and descriptions of reality based in aural perception.
It’s first piece, Canal, was witnessed by 50,000 people attending Miami Beach’s Sleepless Night, November, 2009. FM also featured in a 24-hour-long performance during ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness Conference in September, 2012
The Sound Practice of Frozen Music
Frozen Music is less an ensemble than a confluence of strategies for sonically activating space. We simply trust each other to approach this task in our own individual manner and with our own choice of tools. These can vary with every event. Rene and Gustavo tend to use prerecorded audio samples and extracted resonances from each new performance site. They may also amplify small sounds made from an assortment of objects, either brought to the location or borrowed from the site. I often use custom designed analog circuits along with amplified live signals from a variety of transducers placed at the location.
We do not interact with each other in the traditional sense of a free improvisation but create a collective fabric that is infinitely variable and to which we all remain attentive. Shifting our actions in response to this dense cloud of sound, we often cannot recognize our individual actions or audio streams within the emergent texture and simply make incremental changes so as to keep the torrent of sound alive.
Our preference is to engage within a specific place for extended time periods, several hours if possible. This gives us a sufficient duration to really explore the unique properties of a site; the otherwise hidden sound sources, resonances, and auditory history. Sometimes this has been a purely human dynamic where architecture is interrogated with sound to yield its unconscious potential but at other times the non-human world has chosen to respond with extended dialogues between our electronic world and a variety of insects, birds, and amphibians; all becoming a foreground feature.
Always we are less concerned with satisfying the expectations of a human audience than with a pure exploration of the world through sound. Whoever or whatever passes through our web, or stops to listen, is welcome to make use of the sounds in whatever manner may please or excite them.
— David Dunn
11.7.2009 | FROZEN MUSIC: CANAL (first performance)
Collins Canal, Miami Beach
13-hour-long performance along the Dade Canal, Miami Beach
FM performing PLAZA with guest Russell Frehling, Sleepless Night 2011
3.11.2011 FROZEN MUSIC: WALK | PICNIC
To listen to an NPR story about other David Dunn ultrasonic microphone designs on All Things Considered: CLICK HERE!
To listen to a recent isaw(gm) recording of marine life made in
New Smyrna Beach, Florida, using this hydrophone routed
through David Dunn’s microlistening preamp: CLICK HERE!
ultrasonic headphone mic
sample recording from the 9.10.11 event at awarehouse.
the mic is about 70 ft away from the installation.
FROZEN MUSIC consists of:
David Dunn, Professor of Sound Art and Design, University of California, Santa Cruz
Rene Barge, Graphic Arts and Web Design instructor at Miami Springs Senior High for Miami-Dade County Public Schools
Gustavo Matamoros, Artistic Director of Programs, SFCA [isaw+subtropics]