the sound we are now

The Sound We Are Now works well as a title and approach to contemporary creative sound. It is light-footed, in comparison to most of the lumbering phrases which analyse a dynamic, fluid and developmental scenario and successfully manage to make it seem boring.

Contemporary creative sound work is exactly one of those phrases, but it does reflect how fast the area has developed. There is no longer a single portmanteau term adequate for such variety. It encompasses composed to found sound, acoustic and electronic sound, sound and visuals as single creative events. Each of these frequently draw upon each other.

It incorporates culturally expanding everyday lived experience, many ethnic and historical resources and sonoral inferences. Sound can move from being a specific composed entity to sound as the aurally perceivable part of a much longer conceptual continuum. Work may use one specific space only as a creative unit. It may be performable anywhere appropriate. It can technically combine several sites as a single simultaneous event. Whatever the approach, creative sound is becoming a continuum rather than a fixed unit. Sound does come in waves.

This simplistic description, because it is a description, carries the inference of different “schools” of creative action, compartmentalised from each other. Part of the excitement of contemporary work lies in the erosion of small tribal groupings, each mutually exclusive. Individuals move to and from different approaches and expressive technologies, frequently in single works.

The Sound We Are Now draws upon this rich and fluid situation. It asks individuals for a short piece, whether completed or in progress. It presents creative action as being as open and diverse as the individual creative process of each piece. Each participant chose their own contribution. For a listener, the breadth and range of these works offers serendipitous discovery. The integrity of each and every approach is equal in credibility. This is one current view of contemporary creative sound work. Next year, it will have changed.

Seán McCrum , September 2007