Clocking in at 115 interviews, eContact! 10.2 — Interviews (1) is our biggest issue to date! Featured Contributors Kalvos & Damian and Ned Bouhalassa have provided the majority of the materials, and these are complemented with important contributions by John Palmer and the Canadian Music Centre, as well as a number of interviews published previously in eContact! and other CEC publications.
Kalvos & Damian’s interviews are taken from a ten-year period (1995–2005), during which time they hosted the radio show on WGDR (Vermont USA), “The New Music Bazaar,” a.k.a the “flagship of the Nonpop International Network.” The weekly shows featured interviews with American, Canadian and international electroacousticians, improvising musicians, new music composers and performers and sometimes live on-air performances.
Interviews done by Ned Bouhalassa date from 1992–93 and were used as primary research for the creation of a six-hour radio programme on electroacoustic activity in Canada. The composers talked about their first encounters with electroacoustics, provided background and anecdotes on the activities in various centres in Canada and talked about their own contributions to and involvement in the growth of the electroacoustic community in Canada.
John Palmer has interviewed several artists who are active in Europe, inquiring about their activities, æsthetics, working methods and personal interests. The Canadian Music Centre has provided some interviews which were used for its Influences of Many Musics project, which features Canadian composers of international origin and addresses heritage, and cultural and musical identity. Links to interviews which previously appeared in eContact! and other CEC publications are also provided, and an Interviews Page has been set up on the CEC’s Wiki which will continue to grow, providing references and links to interviews published in various electronic and print editions.
The diversity of this large list of interviewees is impressive: in eContact! 10.2 we meet composers (both established and emerging) and performers, producers and arts administrators, educators, archivists, software programmers and coders, instrument builders and developers, as well as the founders of important international electroacoustic associations, notably Kevin Austin and Jean-François Denis (CEC), Barry Schrader (SEAMUS), Godfried-Willem Raes and Moniek Darge (Logos Foundation) and Jonty Harrison (BEAST). Just as broad is the range of sonic, æsthetic, philosophical and intellectual approaches to electroacoustic creation covered in this issue, going from the pure acousmatic and the purely synthetic to tape music and live electronics to circuit-bending and DIY instruments… and beyond.
One of the goals of this issue is to establish and make available an important reference concerning the technical, social and historical aspects of the larger realm of electroacoustic creation. The interviews provide an abundance of information about the important changes in the milieu as digital technologies became more and more ubiquitous. Although we can’t promise any definitive answer to the chicken-and-egg question concerning gear and practice, there is a lot of material here to stimulate reflection upon the degree to which gear has been influenced by performance and compositional practice, and how performance practice and compositional concerns have impacted and even defined the development and availability of equipment and software in recent decades.
The many anecdotes, stories, memories and even some juicy bits of gossip (!) are an excellent complement to the discussions of the technical and historical aspects of electroacoustic practice in the past half a century. And particularly in the case of Ned’s interviews — because of the focus on Canadian artists — there is an insightful look into the nature and building of community: the interviews took place only six years after the founding of the CEC and show a healthy, diverse and very active community.
Finally, Greg J. Smith reports on some of the goings-on at this year’s Mutek festival (Montréal, May 2008), and in this issue’s “Community Reports” column, Steven Naylor offers an overview of electroacoustic activities and educational facilities in the eastern Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
jef chippewa, 5 August 2008.