A1 Listening Assignment

August 27, 2018 Off By Huy

Williams Mix

John Cage’s intention is not clearly written on the Wiki page. From what I can tell, it seems like all he wanted to do was experimenting with creating music with computer. His piece sounds as if somebody has been playing with the radio nub. There is one time when something resembling music appears, but disappointingly only for a split second, before disappearing again into the ambient mess. I don’t think I get anything out of the listening to the piece, except that apparently this accomplishment is so marvelous that it deserves a whole 1 minute of applaud.

Gesang der Junglinge

OH MY GOD This sounds like a horror movie’s soundtrack. If I close my eyes I could clearly see an alien walking out of a spaceship. The high pitch shriek feels demonic, like from a haunting episode of The X Files. I was most glad when the silence comes, but not for long as the demonic creepy white noises soon returned, along with unexpected jump of high pitch alien whispers. Sometimes there’s a sound like car’s streek, like the last futile effort to break before a fatal accident. From the wiki, it seems like this guy is trying write a piece of composition for worship for the mass. No offense but I guess it’s true that there is a mass out there that worships Satan.

Luciano Berio Ommagio (homage) a Joyce

This is the first piece that feels like an intentional piece. The guy’s intention is clear, to set out to convey meaning of words by their resonance and timbre. The disturbing ambient white noise still exists, but not as long or as creepy. I wouldn’t call something like this music though. The piece, however, actually feels like it’s trying to convey, to tell a story or something, not just endless screeching

Milton Babbitt Ensembles for Synthesizer

Hello again screeching white noises. At least this piece feels like it has movement, that it is going somewhere. I think this is the first piece from this list that I could somewhat see as music. The author’s intention is not revealed in the Wiki page, but I guess he is just trying to create music using supposedly state of the art equipment at the moment. He did created something for sure.

Morton Subotnick Silver Apples of the Moon

Reading from the Wiki, I thought there would be major improvement on this piece compared to other pieces here since it introduces rhythm. It is not the case. The screeching noise is still very much there. I can tell there is distinct differentiation between “instruments” or type of sounds though. The graphical representation of the music is also very cool. I could definitely call this music, though not my type of music. The guy set out to do music using a synthesizer and he succeeded.

Alvin Lucier I am Sitting in a Room

From the Wiki, this is definitely an experiment. Just a guy having fun with sounds. The results, however, could well be categorized as music. It was really pleasing at first, got screeching at some point, then went into a nice relaxing white noise. Surprisingly this sounds really good. I did enjoyed this.

Terry Riley A Rainbow in Curved Air

Yes! This sounds like real music. Good one too. There’s definitive movement and clarity. This feels like a fun piece in a video game from the 80’s. The guy really did created music as he set out to do.

Brian Eno Atmospheres

Wow this one is really good. It has everything and more. The occasional guitar(?) part creates really good “anticipation” moments. From the Wiki, he tried to create something that is both ignorable as it is interesting. I would say he did a marvelous job. The first piece feels like its title says, like sitting under the stars in an open field. I like the contrast of this piece versus Silver Morning, as they are both distinctly different and convey different vibe. Overally really good music.

Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)

This is good. I don’t like it as much as I like the above 3 pieces, but it is definitely music. I’m glad this was not a full-on experiment like the other first pieces, because it sounds like it could belong today’s music without a doubt. I could not even tell the computer part of this piece.

Afrika Bambaataa Looking for the Perfect Beat

This is also good. Funky and fun to listen to. I could tell the computerized part though it doesn’t interfere with the funness. The fact that the guy is freestyling is really impressive. This piece really feels like making music with computer, which would be my guess for the intention of the makers. This really shows the diverse potential of computer music.