Strange but inexplicable swinging rhythm --- let the ears fall for Lacking Sound Festival’s new experience

By Li Yiyi
Translate: Charmy LIN

Although listening to music everyday, being accompanied by music in every morning and afternoon of work days, still, I’m not familiar with “sound art” nor “sound performance”. On a Friday night on August, I encountered something very strange, doubtful but enchanting sound art performance. Looking at the crowded audience in front ( They are spectators as well, for both two performances are arranged with animation.), sitting still on the auditorium, altogether we were in the narrow room of the 2nd floor of Nan-Hai Gallery, while every pair of ears were receiving throbs of non-nature sounds, and we all closed our fatigued eyes transforming into the Alice in the Wonder land.

Sounds compose tones; sounds and tones compose musical note; musical note contains tune and rhythm. The first performance was by DomoNoise, with approximately 50min of time length. By combining sounds and animation, the subtle linkage between vision and hearing was thus connected. Buildings appeared on the scene. Irregular blue cells were leaping joyfully, and adventured in the fictitious construct. All the sounds we heard here has mostly been synthesized, composed, interlocked and transformed. Sounds like these to my ears are strange. The tones seemed like they were following some sub-rules, yet they also sounded impromptu in the meanwhile that made me difficult to judge whether I like it or not, and therefore these all began the motives of I granting for this writing . I know too little in this domain, and with expectation and curiosity, I opened the adventurous door of art for my ears.

In the field of contemporary art, sound art is situated in a very subtle and compressed little space throughout, became the very art type exclusively enchanted for small crowd only. Yet with the spreading of new media art, sound art and sound performance have aroused more and more attention. There are radical differences between sound performance and musical performance, but still there are some implicit commonness. Take this Lacking Sound Festival performance for example, in my point of view, is both a sound art and also a musical performance. DomoNoise’s performance was rich in rhythm in the after part, and our feet couldn’t help but following the DOON-DOON-DOON bass, that is, it awaked people’s most primitive reflex toward rhythm, just like we were watching an absorbing musical performance. However, we don’t hear any musical instruments’ sound nor voices, but flows of special electronic tunes and rhythm instead.

The second performer was LAI, Ho-Wan. The speaker sounds like the sound of typing Morse Code, Beep-Beep......Beep, Beep Beep. The images were as if entering the animation version of sea world, with special styles of flowers blossoming from the sea bed continuously. Flowers bloomed and blurred into the background, while new ones blossom again along with the new rising musical notes. Throughout the cycle of birth and vanishment are sounds like mechanical beep beep noise intermittently. Maybe some hidden secrets are within it and are not allowed to be spoken out loud, just like birds singing in the forest, that is some kind of language system which human beings cannot recognize. Now, sitting in a dark room, the unrecognizable sound system are very strange to us, make us wondering the reasons of why it attracts the performers so much? I think it is because of the mystery and controllability of the world of electronic notes!

Before touching sound art, I foolishly connect experimental music with noise, because these sounds are hard to be accepted by general people. However, under such system, artists are allowed to create a set of their own musical vocabulary, just like painters construct frames of paintings through oil color. And for those creators who are engrossed in sound art, it’s like the artist who opened the new age of abstract expressionism. No limits, get rid of traditions, and wondering freely. After experiencing Lacking Sound Festival, I’m more willing to walk further into this still strange but not distant anymore sound art domain. Sounds, as it turn out to exist such recondite and marvelous exploring.

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