Posted by Andrew Casden
Filed Under Digital
Music in the 4th Dimension

Living in San Francisco means living at the intersection of many different cultures - as fluid and evolving as that term can be today. Even at Astro we say we work at the intersection of technology, lifestyle, and culture. And in the modern arts, this cross-pollination is increasingly present in the world of electronic music, where a new breed of experimental artists are finding new, exciting synergies between sound and light, performance and production, architecture and design.

The images below were taken at two recent shows I attended; the first was a performance called ‘Envelop’ at the Midway in the Dogpatch District - a project helmed by a team of musicians, sound engineers, and visual artists, including Christopher Willits, Roddy Lindsay, Elan Rosenman, Alingo Loh and Andrew Kimpel. Envelop’s mission is to “make spatial audio accessible to the public through our immersive sound spaces and open source software tools.” The performance included live, original works and re-edits by Willits and Clifford Hudson, with coordinated LED light effects displayed throughout the room via 8 metal towers placed around the circumference of the space via a 28.4 channel “Ambisonic sound system.” As the website goes on to describe “the entire room is an instrument.”

The second performance was at the Gray Area Gallery in SF’s Mission District, a gallery, event venue, and arts organization that promotes the mission that “art and technology [can] create social and civic impact through education, incubation and public events.” I’ve been to several shows at the Gray Area, all of which have included artists on the forefront of electronic music, or digital visual arts, or both. This recent performance included live performances from Rival Consoles and Nonotak, with an especially exciting performance by the latter, featuring “Late Speculation” - the latest architectural work from illustrator Noemi Schipfer and the architect musician Takami Nakamoto. The set included multiple variations on a monochromatic visual theme, with intricate patterns of geometries projected onto the structure, adding a unique set of design constraints to the performance.