Improvising freely in lockdown days
Even more dramatically this artistic contribution of the technology involved in playing-apart-together showed up, like an imposed final signature, in the unPublic tetralogy that we did using a voice rooms in the VoIP application Discord. That was in April and May of 2020, in the days that world-wide the corona pandemic had reached its first peak.
Discord originally was especially popular in gamers’ communities, as a platform for discussing tricks, trades and strategies. It was not and is not intended (nor suitable, at least not in any ‘fidelity’ sense) for music streaming. The digital audio streams, sent and received by the participating ‘players’ in a ‘voice room’, are optimized for vocal exchange. The compression algorithms used by the software allow for no more than minimal ‘fine-tuning’.
And it is these algorithms that make Discord into an active and unpredictable—hence pretty interesting—fellow improviser. The application glitches just about everything that a player contributes from where she is performing, in real time, in front and around a laptop computer that runs Discord.
The resulting combined signal is radically different in each of the participants’ local voice rooms. Each of the different contributing locations is like a separate sonic world. We used this observed given to thus exploit numbers of different ‘cyber-projections’ of one and the same electro-acoustic improvisation. The projections are created simultaneously and exist in parallel. None of them is the true one; the sort of meta-piece behind it all remains elusive.
Each of our four discordant unPublic sessions explores this particular way of speculative playing-apart-together in a different way. From the superposed local recordings of uP #66 and uP#67, virtually connecting Washington DC, Zürich and Paris, the seven different projections which where the harvest of the virtual sonic linking of Vila do Conde (in Portugal), Vienna and Paris in uP #68, to the collaged packets cut-up of uP #69, a discordian tour of Manhattan in lockdown days, led by Leslie Singer (Girls on Fire), with real-time improvised sonic accompaniments brought in from Amsterdam and Paris.
For all that is repeated often and loud enough, smacks of reality.
And there are an infinitude of ways in cyberspace, for one to repeat often and be loud.
Paris, December 2021