53 Perspectives on listening

Zehar #53

53 Perspectives on listening

There are numerous endless perspectives on listening. If we accept that the world, and as a result, the sounds that are all around us, are endlessly changing, the ways and methods in which we listen to these sounds cannot remain the same either.

The landscape has changed; there are more and more new as well as unknown sounds around us; so that sound is increasingly making its presence felt in our lives and we are becoming increasingly more interested in it.

As a result of this, we have been witnessing a kind of renaissance of sound in the last few years. Undoubtedly, technology has also had something to do with all these changes, as it has re-shaped the way that we listen to sound and music. It has provided sustainability, has made sound more physical and has offered the possibility of processing all this, as well as extending the possibilities of working on and presenting sound. Sound art, which until very recently was all but shunned in museums, is now going through a golden age and we often find exhibitions in which sound is the main feature. Some people, in reference to instruments, have tried to describe this period as being post-digital, but the current situation offers more than this, as it goes well beyond merely being linked with instruments.

As a result, it has become obvious that numerous concepts have been aimlessly left up in the air that we had understood were linked together or formed part of music and sound. However, at the very least, this has been useful for putting forward a series of ideas that have not been dealt with for quite some time, and has also meant that these have been questioned. It seems that they have revitalised the relationship between listener and artist, the use of instruments, the breaking down of the boundaries between composition and improvisation, the formats in which music is conserved, the ways in which we understand sound, the very concept of live performance... and the aims and direction of music itself. But this does not mean that they have been clarified or redefined. Some people claim that we are going through a kind of revival of the ideas that John Cage, Morton Feldman and so many others put forward in the sixties, but we may well think that our perspective has now opened up or adapted to their ideas. Perhaps, this perspective that we have nowadays is one of the consequences of this plural situation. All these changes have provided us with a different perspective and a fresh point of view about the history of music and, as a result of this, have given us a new opportunity to analyse and debate the pillars that support all this. It is a new landscape that is endlessly changing.

So, let’s listen to their points of view and study their limits. Let’s learn how to listen to what surrounds us. When all is said and done, if we don’t listen in the same ways, we won’t be able to think in the same way. 

—Xabier Erkizia

zehar53.pdf — PDF document, 1309Kb


On Making All the Correct Mistakes— Monk’s Mood and Cage’s Artlessness. Eddie Prévost

The author analyses the aesthetics of improvisation by taking the stances adopted by Cage and Monk as a starting point, and points out a third way in which the qualities and potential of chance and experimentation may turn out to be creative and allow for free collective improvisation.

Prevostengl.pdf — PDF document, 93Kb


Against the stage. Francisco López

I find myself very often struggling with show organizers and technicians about going through all the complications brought forth by my persistent refusal to ‘play on stage’. This can happen in any kind of space, from obscure clubs to concert halls; across the whole range of ‘scenes’ and communities, from classical/contemporary music to rock/techno environments, or even ‘experimental’ events. Worldwide. The stage is everywhere. It is inextricably attached to the performance of live music.

Lopezengl.pdf — PDF document, 100Kb



enred.pdf — PDF document, 177Kb
Document Actions