Multimedia artist Michael J. Schumacher is a committed explorer of the fringes of perceptual experience. He has been doing it through mesmeric resonance (at the risk of repeating myself, if you never heard Fidicin Drones go find a copy right now) and across a wide range of interactive installations, peculiar software systems and – in general – works aiming at junctions and/or transitions from an acoustic state to another. Richard Garet’s Contour Editions – in itself, a label devoted to akin parallelisms of audible materials and responsive locations – gifts us with a new release by Schumacher that is also downloadable for free. What better occasion to start an advanced course in mind-enhancing displacement of expectation?
At any rate, nothing here presents levels of complications capable of pushing a minimally ready audience away. Quite simply, the implicit rules of conventional succession get dispersed along entirely different contexts, the keyword being “mutable spatialization”. In fact Variations was conceived as a multi-channel piece, meaning that the least you can do is studying it via excellent quality headphones.
One immediately realizes that the original sources might be “normal”, or in any case not exactly extraneous to certain unobtrusive (or less) “presences” of our quotidian existence and action. And there are real instruments at work, for sure; only placed – as everything else – in atypical virtual environments. We could even consider any brain from any listener as one of those environments; the effects of Schumacher’s sound placement will achieve variable consequences, depending on the individual position “inside” the perceptive spectra. And I’m not exclusively talking of sonic emissions.
Answering to a simple question – namely, “how does this substance sounds like?” – think of somewhat impermanent milieus typified by prominent/vivid/luminescent details, erratic designs at times disclosing snippets of ephemeral quietness. The nonstop modification of dynamic perspectives, the sequences of unlawful impulses, sparse pitches, gentle outbursts and bizarre signals, the overall warmth of the results delineate a place where “organic” and “cosmic” seem to have finally reached a compromise.
However, the innermost routes from that point onward will be determined by the extent of personal involvement and, why not, resilience. An actual awareness of the innumerable diversities of reality beyond any asinine hypothesis is still chimerical. For those who trust the eternally anthropocentric misconception of universe, let’s paraphrase Neil Young: there’s no more time for words between the lines of age.