Like many musicians, I have been particularly interested in the music recording medium and its relationship to live performance. In its history, the format shifted from a document of an actual event (ie. a ‘record’) into an idealized construction.

Through the usage of various reverbs and spatialization, producers construct an artificial sound stage. Like the films of Georges Méliès, the medium places the listener in an idealized position, front and center before the theatrical stage, without the interference of other audience members, environmental sounds, or any hint of the quotidian function of music. Even in the ‘live recording’ (now a necessary distinction between the fictional ‘record’), a fader on the mixing console can reveal the sonic evidence of an audience before quickly diminishing it.

While reverb frequently invokes architecture such as rooms, halls, chambers, cathedrals, etc. (convolution reverb allows for the acoustic modeling of specific real spaces), the presentation still duplicates the modernist orthodoxy of the ‘white cube’: hypothetically without historical or geographical context. In “Room, Chamber, Hall”, reverb is not simply considered as a neutral, physical phenomenon utilized to place sounds on the ‘stage’. What is the significance of augmenting a music performance with the architectural reverberation of a cathedral? Does this space mean something different than a small room?

Accepting the myriad of functions of music outside of an idealized, empty concert hall, “Room, Chamber, Hall” presents its locales with the presence of bodies attending to their physical needs and desires such as eating, dancing, sex, etc..

– WS

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