Spatial Drone // LEGROOM Manchester


Spatial Drone is a synthesizer improvisation which excites the fundamental resonant frequencies of a given architectural space. This is an improvisation which aims to subject a stationary audience to a range of body-listening experiences by putting the room into a range of contrasting resonant vibratory states. During this experience, the audience becomes explicitly bound to the space through vibration. The audience both hears and feels the materiality of the space. The audience are made to resonate sympathetically with the space.

Spatial drone is a translation of personal to collective perception of space through sound: The artist spends time in a space and, using sine waves, intuitively locates the strongest resonances of that space through audition and perception rather than acoustic measurement. These resonances are first perceived, and second internalized as sensations, bodily and aural, that express and convey the spatial configuration through sound.

The artist then uses subtractive synthesis as a medium to express this sensory material to a listening-sensing audience. As subtractive synthesis is a technology which shapes sound according to its natural physical properties, it is an ideal medium through which to excite and articulate the acoustic properties of space: Auditory-somatic-spatial sensations are structured into an improvisation through the frame of synthesis parameters, such as detuning oscillators against each other, phasing, slow cut-off sweeps with a high resonance peak, and the linking of envelope to cut-off properties.

The systematic use of these techniques results in structured sequences of auditory and bodily sensation which all relate directly to the space in which the improvisation takes place. These sensations are always led by the artist’s own sensations. Listeners are stationary in the space, lying down on the ground on mats. There is no furniture in the space. All lights are switched off and the windows are covered to create total darkness.

This is an improvisation which is fundamentally spatial. It aims to subject stationary listeners to different qualitative experiences of resonance, by putting the room into a range of contrasting resonant vibratory states, within the framework of an aesthetically-driven improvisation. In this way, familiar aesthetic forms are used to drive unfamiliar spatial-bodily sensations.

Spatial Drone was first performed at LEGROOM Manchester on 22 November 2017.