Sonic Arts

The Sonic Arts lecture started with a quote, which I’ll have to paraphrase: ‘An orchestra is like a factory.’  Heavy metal – Black Sabbath, specifically – was born from the sound of the heavy metal industry.  The sound of the machines banging and grinding away, the relentless ‘rhythm and thrum’ of the machines and the noise of people inside.  Heavy metal took this ‘noise’ and created a new genre of music.  They took the deep, heavy, repeating noises and used them as the backbone to the hard hitting, heavy metal sound.  From the (seemingly), most uninspiring place – a heavy metal factory – creativity blossomed, and I guess, this is the point behind the Sonic Arts lecture: that creativity can be birthed from any source.  Pioneers can come from, not only, the most mundane of places, but also the most unexpected sources.  Who thought that music could be created from the sound of machines forming metalwork?  As Alexandros showed us, many of the pioneers of electronic music – Max Mathews, the first person to use a computer for music – created something from nothing.  Taking a beige box of electronics and creating sounds that have never been heard before; putting sequences of tones together to form musical patterns that have never existed before; literally creating new musical notes.  For me, this keynote was there to provide inspiration – to look at things, places and people in a new light.  Creativity can come from the most unusual of sources and from people who can be seen as uninspiring and lacking that special something.  I’m sure no one looked at Ozzy Osborne and thought he was going to be part of a small band of people who created a new musical genre, thinking he was simply another machine operator and replaceable; that he lacked that ‘certain something’.  I’m sure Ozzy chuckles to himself thinking of those people who didn’t believe in him…but then I sure he chuckles to himself a lot.  He has taken a lot of drugs.  Perhaps that was his ‘certain something’.

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