Various Sonic Circuits VII

This collection is the audio summary of the International Festival of Electro-Acoustic Music, sponsored by the American Composer’s Forum. Sonic Circuits VII is not just a CD unto itself, its works are a featured component of events staged around the world, just as a touring visual art collection augments a local gallery’s works. Electronica tends to be a recent, mass culture term while electro-acoustic is a decades-old, somewhat rarefied term. Many of these pieces utilise software and compositional platforms like ProTools and StudioVision, a fundamental change from 15 years ago or more when composers would custom-build their own methods of sound synthesis, or work out of multimillion-dollar research labs. The highlights are too numerous to mention, but personal faves include Mario Verandi’s reconstituted flamenco samples and Jose Halac’s transformation of Argentinean folksong into a cathartic homage to divorce. Another notable work is Thomas Gerwin’s hypnotic “Rollenspiel r²,” which comes off as a 17-minute meditation on a roulette wheel as it swirls around your headphones. There is challenging music at every turn, but little of it sounds cold and overly intellectualised — dare I call it accessible? ACF makes a DIY kit available to anyone who wishes to curate their own festival locally. What could be more accessible than that? (American Composer’s Forum)