The Cinema For The Ears concert on Oct. 1 was a concert to remember!

The concert began with Hildegard Westerkamp’s Talking Rain. This composition used eight channels of sound to transport the audience to the West coast of British Columbia, where the rain created a symphony of sounds. These high-fidelity natural recordings of rain sounds were combined with occasional, subtle electronic sound processing to create a wide variety of soundscapes, each inducing its own individual perceptions and feelings. Across the varied soundscapes, a lone horn in the distance provided a foothold to audience members, into the world of Talking Rain.

With All That Glitters and Goes Bump in the Night, Linda Antas presented an epic “reflection on appearance vs. reality.” This delicate work integrated a vast array of different sounds and soundscapes together into an audiovisual object that morphed and magnified, growled and gratified, and soared and satisfied. Lakes become crystals that become rain drops that become granules. The visuals were accompanied by music, which extended the audience’s sensations as they dove into a sea of audiovisual sound.

Niloufar Iravani’s Seven was based on the seven modes of Iranian classical music. Sounds in the work were produced by processing recordings of a flute and the Iranian instrument the setar, which was playing according to the seven modes. This was presented over the course of seven minutes using seven channels of sound, thus explaining the title Seven. This work synthesized together the traditions from Iranian classical music and Western experimental music.

Stephen David Beck’s work Unhinged immersed the audience in series of tones all created from one original six-second long sound. This recording of an old elevator door scraping closed was transformed into brief sounds and long sounds, high sounds and low sounds, rough sounds and smooth sounds. These combined to create sound textures of amazing variability, even though they all began from the same six-second recording.

Following the intermission, Edgar Berdahl spoke briefly and then presented the Sound of Computing the Signal Analysis of Gravity Waves. This work was an exercise in scale. The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Louisiana is very large. It is comprised of two perpendicular 4 km-long laser tubes. When a significantly strong gravity wave arrives, it causes the length of a laser tube to change by a miniscule amount. This change in length is recorded 4096 times/sec and can be interpreted as a sound file. The sound of the gravity wave is buried in measurement noise but can be extracted through signal analysis. In this work, the sound of computation was obtained by measuring the voltages on a multi-pin memory bus of a Raspberry Pi. In real-time, the Raspberry Pi booted up, analysed gravity wave signals, and sonified this process. Finally, the work concluded with the playback of the sound of the gravity wave detector noise and an imagined chorus of gravity waves.

Sud by Jean-Claude Risset served as the finale. It began with the crisp sounds of ocean waves and birds chirping. From here it traversed through a wide range of sound textures including artificial bird-like sounds, sticks rattling, wind chimes, and further bird calls. A climax took hold of the listeners through a grand series of continually, ever-descending tones, which gave the feeling of falling down a deep shaft. Finally, the work concluded with again the sound of waves and wave-like synthesizer sounds.