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echolocation

the concept


Echolocation is a compositional and performance concept termed by Robert Jarvis whereby music is derived from and as a response to the natural environment.  The music begins with the unique geography of the chosen location and draws from the wildlife and natural phenomena there.

Using a combination of microphones, bat detectors and scientific data collected from the area in question, the otherwise hidden sound world inherent in the landscape is coaxed out and then electronically processed using a number of specially created virtual instruments.  These respond to the collected data in real-time, producing musical tones and rhythms actually played by the changing environment.

The resulting echolocation performance involves the composer working with the specially created instruments as they respond to the locationís natural soundscape, sequencing the sounds and layering them to produce a multi-dimensional experience for the listening audience.  Loudspeakers placed around the listening area engulf the audience in a moving world of sound, allowing each listener a unique connection with the surrounding environment.  Thus the performance is half-composed and half-improvised, but totally reliant on the natural activity at that location.

The Echolocation concept is therefore is not so much a fixed composition, but rather a dialogue between the natural phenomena of a location and a human composer.  This dialogue begins with the composer investigating the location and gaining an understanding of the natural activity there, and then responding to that in order to create a musical composition unique not only to the place but also to the specific time that it is being heard.