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This article was written on 25 May 2007, and is filed under Miscellania.

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Yasushi Utsonomia

From the notes to Jon The Dog meets Mad Scientist Utsunomia :

I believe that place cannot be separated from performance and sound as a factor in music. Until quite recently, it was necessary to travel some distance to enjoy music, which would be performed at some specified place and time, and I believe there was a special value in this distance and place. There was a meaningful and close connection between the place and the music performed there, which somehow has become lost, resulting in a weakened music, qualitatively.

Especially the possibility of recording has weakened the role of place, and for that reason, music has lost much of the power and function it once had. Further, in many genres of music, the recording process adds reverberation and other information which was formerly a function of the place of performance, making a mere technical frame of something that was once essentially meaningful and purposeful.

There are many tacit agreements in recording technology and sound production technology. For example, though there is no use of human senses without some slight motion, for the convenience of recording, positions of microphones are rigidly determined, or moved at the convenience of the recorder. But with the physical act of sound reception as a basis, this is not a matter of interest for the brain. The brain processes sounds from perpetually moving ears as a means of obtaining a greater amount of information, which is the brain’s main interest. The amount of information spikes by this motion, but recognition that it is the motion creating the increase is not very common.

Because Utsunomia is a forward-thinking person, though, his approach is that rather than trying to simulate natural places in recordings through ever more synthetic methods, we should try to establish a sense of place specific to recordings which could not exist in real space. And this recording does it: it’s physically disorienting and destabilizing.

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