This week in the music section, I profile the inaugural edition of the Substrata Festival, a weekend of ambient and experimental music (including a field-recording nature hike!) curated by Seattle musician Rafael Anton Irisarri (aka the Sight Below). Irisarri was a far more voluble interview subject than we had space for in print, and so in the couple days leading up to the fest here on Reverb, I'm posting some additional excerpts from our exchange. (Yesterday's here.)
Substrata's Rafael Anton Irisarri, pondering deeper.
Today, Irisarri explains the 15-person field-recording hike that caps the festival on Sunday.
We are blessed with beautiful surroundings in the Pacific Northwest--areas that have provided a profound inspiration for some of my works (such as North Bend). I wanted to create something that would give people the opportunity of living some of my own journeys. I cannot think of a better way to discover new sounds in the Cascade region than just going for a hiking field trip. Furthermore, what better way of doing so than in the company of an avid phonographer like Biosphere, who's capture recordings in some very exotic locations for the past 20 years, including the Himalayas, the Arctic, and so many other wonderful places.
More after the jump . . .
The first time I heard the world through a pair of headphones on a field recorder, I finally noticed all the things I was missing out from my auditory field--pretty much all the subtleties. Though the headphones, I could decide which sounds I wanted to focus all my attention: I could now hear every little nuance in great detail. A parallel can be made here: With the amount of overconsumption of media going on, and thus, constantly tuning out as a result, could the same exercise be applied to the way we consume any media and focus/unfocus our attention? How does it affect our perception of value (not financial value per se, but value in general, like in the way it has an impact on you, how it moves you). Does this constant availability and tuning-out create a situation where the media/art becomes disposable--just like all the magnificent sounds I was filtering out from my ears in my example above?
Of course, in order to make it personalized, we can only fit so many people on the trip, so it was very hard to do. I've gotten so many e-mails from fans of Biosphere asking to please make exception, or even offer twice, triple money for the experience. And the answer was always the same: Sorry, no, can't do. It has never been about money, but about creating a unique, meaningful experience.
More info on Substrata at http://www.substratafestival.com.