EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

What was Left From Experimentation? A Discussion on the current role of Electroacoustic Music to the New Generation of Sonic Artists in Brazil

Marcelo Carneiro de Lima

Marcelo Carneiro de Lima, Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
(Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State), UNIRIO


This article discusses whether electroacoustic music could still be considered an experimental musical practice today, even fifteen years after Jean Piché’s statement about its “terminal crisis” (2003). We will approach the term experimental by revisiting its use by Pierre Schaeffer, and correlating it with Jacques Attali’s concept of subversion and Tom Zé’s procuratividade. It seems to me that the entry of electroacoustic music at universities and research centers worldwide has resulted in a tacit agreement among it’s practitioners and teachers and the Fields of Instances of Reproduction and Consecration (BOURDIEU, 2007). To know if this agreement has happened it is important to understand what has happened to the experimentation practices for composing electroacoustic music today. Also, the educational practices for teaching electroacoustic music at those universities and research centers are imperative for the discussion. For this reason, Paulo Freire’s texts and thoughts are elucidative. In Brazil, despite the fact that a new generation of sonic artists have been taught in renowned universities by well known and respectable electroacoustic music professors and composers, some have chosen not to work under the scope that encompasses its practices, considering it too academic and with little space for experimentation. Why? For a group of those artists, the founders of the independent label Seminal Records (IWAO, CARON, et al, s/d), electroacoustic music is not the most suitable tag category they could use to refer to the productions they release (CAVALCANTE, IWAO, CARON, 2014), even when many of these albums could somehow be perceived as electroacoustic music. I will finish this article by examining four of the Seminal Records albums from four different composers as means to understand what has happened to experimental practices in composing electroacoustic music today, and why it is perceived as a conservative musical practice to the new generation.


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EMS18 Proceedings