Hmmm. I have just logged off Second Life from a lovely improvisation session with Junivers Stockholm and Tuttan Zatelan of the Worldpeace Jammers. Junivers, who is in Sweden in First Life, set up an improvisation space that includes a wall-mounted series of Tibetan bells whose sounds are looped from First Life bell samples.
I had logged into the space before the session was to start, to tune in, and to see how the virtual Cello (made by Robbie Dingo) would work in the sim location. I spent some time in silence, then started the bells ringing, listening with no bells then with bells to the spaces ... the digital soundspace created by the virtual temple room, the imaginary First Life space that this digital Second Life space suggested, the space in my First Life studio at my desk and listening through eMac speakers, the space created by the impact of the listening on the virtual Humming in the virtual space, on me - the entity behind Humming, and on the quantal reality that is the composite of all of these listenings and more.
After I felt tuned to some sense of this 'space', I discovered that the Cello would not play while the bells were sounding, so I tried an Avatar Orchestra Metaverse HUD instrument made by Bingo Onomatopoeia for a beautiful composition titled Rue Blanche by Miulew Takahe. The HUD sound consists of a series of sine tones moving up the harmonic series. The series was perfectly in tune with the tone of one of the central Tibetan bowls, and it was interesting to play with this, gradually stopping all of the other bowls from ringing to leave just the one, while gently playing with the sine tones.
Junivers, Tuttan and a few other Worldpeace Jammers arrived, and we started playing with the Tibetan bowl ringing - it rang for the entire session, which lasted about an hour or so. Junivers played a First Life guitar fed into his computer and processed by delay. He also briefly played one of Robbie Dingo's virtual flutes. Tuttan also played virtual flute, and for a short while, another member played virtual cello. I decided to play a First Life instrument and to sing a bit using the Voice Chat function on Second Life. Very interesting. This improvisation's soundworld thus consisted of a virtual Tibetan bowl whose sound was a sampled loop; an electric guitar played live through a computer's software processor fed into the SL platform; a virtual flute and cello whose sounds are real flute and cello samples controlled by keyboard HUDs; and a live flute and voice played into a Mac internal mic and fed into the Second Life platform. Played by people on at least 3 different continents.
The music was alternately meditative, melodic, atonal, harmonic, rhythmic, eerie, atmospheric, illusive ... many things. The listening, however, was astute and deep. Four people who have never met in Real Life, and very little in Second Life, connected through these atoms of space, in far flung geographic locations, with who knows what in our private rooms, and in very different timezones ... fascinating that we were able to find, immediately and without talking about it, a sense of connection, engagement, respect and curiosity and play good music together.
Hmmm. More to explore.