Las Vegas is a place of sensory maximalism. Lights, sounds, movement, winning, loosing, hugging strangers and permanent marks on your body. It epitomizes the sense that the great downfall of music is that culturally it has been relegated to the background.
We’ve been to Las Vegas a couple times. We don’t do the standard LA party weekend thing. We drink and read by the pool. We get tattooed well off the strip in a great local tattoo shop / art gallery, we walked to the arts district and met a couple people one of whom invited us to a live painting and poetry event which was fantastic. Maybe 30 people in attendance and most where the performers. Like my wife said, “it’s as if they’ve invited us into their home.” And it was. Off the strip and a little bit away from the downtown area, we came upon cicadas hanging out in some trees around a couple of city buildings. I hadn’t heard cicada’s since I left Michigan. At first, it sounded like a huge power sub station as we rounded the corner. It was only after having found nothing but trees that we realized what it was we were being sonically bombarded with. The texture was amazing the modulations were fantastic to follow. There weren’t many so you could hear when one or two dropped out. Slightly moving through the dense sonic fabric created by these little fellows was a bit of a treat. Mix in the periodic sounds of buses, traffic and helicopters (we were quite a ways from the main Vegas-y activities) and it became quite an experience.
Everything in Vegas is rich, dense and amplified. Nothing is human scale. Not the architecture, the signs, not the portions or the prices. The visual scape is dense and rapid fire in a way that rivals the most info-dense 24 hour news channel with it’s multiple text scroll stock-update breaking news canvas. The audio is no different. Its dense and chaotic while at times still trying to communicate something to someone. Filtration in this case is a skill. Even the act of having a conversation in some of these spaces requires ones voice to form into these audio contortions of frequencies that break through the tumult and the condensation of the message into as few words as possible makes a twitter message look like a novel.
Thus the value in slowing down our hearing. Listening at a speed and a scale that is more appropriate to the human condition. The collection of sample-based compositions seeks to explore this variety in sound scape from nature, to synthetic to gaming and the win lose nature of the place. It’s big. It’s chaotic. It’s draining. You enter looking for a good time and you leave wondering what exactly happened. It is the gamification of everything.