Photo by Abigail Wolfenberger
By Abigail Wolfenberger
The lights draped along the ceiling slowly fade away leaving the large room dark and silent. The audience sits waiting as sounds begins to grow from the two giant speakers on either end of the stage. A middle-aged man reclines in a navy blue theater seat with his expressionless face tilted towards the ceiling. His keeps his eyes closed as his feet tap on a chair in the row below. His head bobs along to the songs that are a part of the Sonic Spring concert.
Stony Brook University held its 42nd annual Sonic Spring concert in the Staller Center on April 22. Daria Semegen, associate professor and director of the electronic music studio at Stony Brook University, has been hosting the concert since first establishing it in 1974.
The concert showcased a mix of electronic dance music, like Tatsuya Tasaki’s “She Moves” arrangement/remix, that are very similar to what is performed in concerts such as Coachella.
A different and much older type of electronic music was also showcased at the concert.
Two French composers, Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, created tape collages of sounds in 1948 that were considered “concrete,” or in other words, noises created by man, his environment and his artifacts, according to Britannica.com. The composers called these collages “musique concrete.”
“It means making music with recorded sounds of other things,” Daniel Weymouth, an associate professor of composition and theory at SBU, said. “One of the things that caused musique concrete to come into being is this idea of a sound object as opposed to a sound that kind of vanishes into the air. You have this thing that’s almost like a solid object, like a brick, and you can do stuff with it.”
The room was blacked out for each performance in order to enhance the audience’s experience.
This was a very creative approach. Instead of being distracted by my surroundings, I could focus entirely on the music. Having two massive speakers on each side of the stage made it feel as if the beats were all around me. And after a while, it felt as if I was swimming through the Milky Way.
“I like it because it’s like a movie with the meeting of sound,” SBU student Samantha Birchwood said. “It’s really interesting. It was an assignment to come here for my ACH class, but I ended up liking it so much more than I thought I would. It’s dramatic, and it tells a story. I like that.”