Soundcrawl Nashville edition 3
David Maddox's longer form review of the 2011 festival.
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Perambulating the Bounds
The sounds of balloons, spray cans, crickets and violins filled the air at SoundCrawl 2.0
Speaking to a sound artist about his work is a bit like speaking to a Zen Buddhist about life. Sound art is neither sound nor art, yet it is both. It is silence and listening. It is elusive and all-encompassing. It is uncivilized and articulate. Sound art is difficult to describe — yet it is that difficulty that makes it so compelling.
More cerebral than sentimental, and often relying on nuance that can be foreign to the untrained ear, sound art has always been firmly rooted in the underground. As early as 1902, French minimalist composer Erik Satie was performing "furniture music" in Parisian art galleries, asking that he be ignored by his audience as he played what would later be known as background music. His decision to perform in an art gallery is an early example of using context to contradict tradition, and it spawned a long line of sound artists who waver between visual art and music. That approach lives on with the recent performance of Aaron Doenges and Kyle Baker, composers and co-founders of SoundCrawl:Nashville, which presented SoundCrawl 2.0 at Oct. 2's First Saturday Art Crawl.
Doenges and Baker met as graduate students at Belmont, where they frequently discussed bringing sound art compositions to the Nashville community. They hosted their first event a year ago, at the October 2009 Art Crawl. The Downtown Arcade, with its open architecture and thriving gallery scene, was an obvious choice, and the Art Crawl was the perfect event, says Doenges. "Galleries generally seem to be open to new and sometimes challenging things," he says, "so it seemed like the best possibility for a potential audience. There is a built-in audience of people who will be at the Crawl."
The music at SoundCrawl 2.0 was more like a soundtrack than the center of attention. The work explored the potential for sounds to bring about states of mind: In Doenges' "Pop: The Bubble Wrap," a balloon expanding and contrasting recalled childhood playfulness, while other works featured amb
The Nashville Scene
Hear the Buzz at Art Crawl
The downtown Art Crawl generates a swarming, buzzing mass of people, squeezing themselves in and out of galleries, diving for miniature cups of wine, and talking about art, artists, and everything else. For all the intensely social quality of the event, people do have their eyes open. And once a year two musical entrepreneurs ask them to have their ears open when they add the buzzes, clicks, swooshes, and blips of electronic music to the buzz of people in the Arcade.
For three years now, Kyle Baker and Aaron Doenges have curated Soundcrawl, a sound art festival presented in conjunction with the Art Crawl. The first part of the festival presents sound art recordings submitted by composers from around the country in the Arcade in the thick of the Art Crawl. While the Art Crawl provides a great opportunity to introduce a lot of people to sound art, it isn’t the best environment to really hear the works so this year they added two Soundcrawl events.
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"No one in Nashville presents as much work by living composers to such a large audience in a focused format as the Soundcrawl does each year."
ArtNow Nashville - David Maddox
NPR coverage 2009
Our interview on WPLN, the local NPR affiliate in 2009.
WPLN - Kim Green