3rd Annual Cube Fest Celebrates Spatial Music

>August 8, 2018

3rd Annual Cube Fest Celebrates Spatial Music

3rd Annual Cube Fest Celebrates Spatial Music

The third annual “Cube Fest” kicks off Thursday August 9th for four days of immersive sound performed and explored, at the Moss Arts Center and the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech.  And you really have to be there to fully appreciate it.

“What makes Cube fest something special and what makes it valuable to go out to is the experience  of hearing something that you can’t hear anywhere else.” Eric Lyon is artistic director of Cube Fest, the celebration of multi-channel music projected out through a hundred and fifty loud speakers literally, surrounding the audience, inside a 15-million dollar black box playground for arts and science that’s one of a kind.

“For example, the programs that we have here, you could not hear them in New York City. They just don’t have the performance space that would accommodate it, which is surprising because they have everything else. But this is something we can do that they can’t,” Lyon says.

Lyon is a famed multi-channel music pioneer, who recently won a Guggenheim award to compose new works.  He came to Virginia Tech in 2013 because he knew they were building this futuristic theater, unlike any in the world.  But Cube fest is about more than only esoteric, experimental works.

“We also have Appalachian Music, techno, some things that are uncategorizable, and we have "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.”

(Music Playing)

Yes, that’s a one-dimensional version of the David Bowie classic for illustration purposes only.  But when it’s performed in the multi-channel Cube, listeners will hear every rise and fall. The music will be split apart and those spiders from mars, reconstructed as shimmers of sound coming from many different directions,

“We’re used to listening to music in 2 s channels.” says Lyon.   In some ways, that makes a lot of sense because we have 2 ears and we figure that ought to do the job. But once you start adding more density you really have a change in perspective.”

Christopher Willits, a spatial music maker from San Francisco will give a workshop and a performance at Cube Fest.

“Christopher has this metaphor that I absolutely adore; which is; representational art changed during the renaissance with the development of perspective in painting. So, all of a sudden, flat things moved from flat things looking flat, to flat things that express depth and distance. Chris says we’re in a transitional moment in audio art.  We’re in an era where genuinely new experiences are possible.”

The Appalachian folk singers Anna and Elizabeth will perform their music through a prism of the highest hi tech –where old time meets the future.”

Lyon says, “It is so meaningful for us to bring together 2 things that are very regional. Because for all of our absolutely international outlook, the Cube is a regional facility that is really unique. The experience of sound in the Cube ultimately, cannot be described, it can only be experienced."

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