Adam Mirza

Sound Collage
Preliminary Notes
Club ElectroPutere
Craiova, Romania, Summer 2018

My talk and workshop will center around the techniques of creating sound collage audio compositions. Collage (from the French word coller, to glue) was principally developed by Picasso and Braque in the early 20th century; parallel techniques involving the creative juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous materials are also found in the orchestral music of Stravinsky and Mahler of the same period. Collage can also be seen to underlie almost any contemporary media production—film, tv, radio, internet and music—which exploits electronic technology to establish instant recombinations and recontextualizations of the most diverse materials, through editing (video), mixing (audio), and hyperlinking (internet).

What is aesthetically (and ethically) intriguing is that the technical processes through which these new media assemblages are created tend to be hidden from view, eliminated from the “experience” that is the final media product. We are not supposed to notice the editor’s cuts when watching the film, see the cameraperson in the frame, or hear the hand of the audio engineer when they correct the pitch of the vocalist. What is at stake with these maneuvers? Various forms and fantasies of othering and identifying are established through electronic media production. These weigh upon our communal perception of what is fact and what is fiction, what is real and what is virtual, what is intimate and what is distant.

Against the impulse to smooth things out, in my work I seek to emphasize the incongruous and the discontinuous. This is the approach I took in my sound collage composition Inside Out, whose title I’ve adopted for this event with Club ElectroPutere, because it poetically encapsulates my understanding of how electronic music creates meaning. Electronic music, like film, tv, radio and the internet, instances “experience” as something problematically double and reduplicated.