London artist Rajeev Basu is running an experimental music art-project to turn one of society’s most despised sounds, the sound of alarms, into music that people might actually enjoy. It began with the release of EEP EEP EEP EP: a concept album made entirely using alarms. It was created to inspire and show what’s possible. Intel & Vice’s Creators Project called it, ‘a 12-minute musical masterpiece’. Now, Basu invites aspiring artists to take up the challenge.
“These days, most alarms are just false alarms. They’re everywhere. They go off all the time. And they’re often left unattended. (We’ve all had that car alarm outside that just won’t stop). Alarms are a nuisance. And this experiment is to see if we can turn that on its head,” says Basu.
In fact, alarms are the only material used to create EEP EEP EEP EP. Many of which were captured as field recordings, a technique that has grown in popularity in avant-garde and experimental works. As such, the project’s musical style can be described as ‘Musique concrète’ (French for “concrete music”). It is a form of electroacoustic music that uses elements not traditionally thought of as “musical”. The theory behind this musical aesthetic was developed by the French composer Pierre Schaeffer in the late 1940’s. The project’s experimental direction is also influenced by Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose groundbreaking approach to electronic music inspired many artists to break out of traditional forms. EEP EEP EEP EP was created in collaboration with world-class musicians and sound designers including Michael Manning (London), David Kamp (Berlin), Dominic Matar (NY) and Malcolm Goldie (London). They have also produced work for the likes of MTV, Puma, deadmau5, Nokia and Nike. For each of the four tracks on EEP EEP EEP EP, a one-off original artwork was created made entirely using clip-art. A style Basu has dubbed “Clip-art Art”. It follows the project’s theme of using something undesirable to create something beautiful.
Participating artists won’t have to stalk the streets setting off alarms to get material. Basu has made the original alarms sounds used to make EEP EEP EEP EP available for download at the EEP contest page on FOEM. Artists have free rein to tweak and twist the sounds into any genre, any style. “The remixes so far have been of an exceptional standard. From pitch-perfect pop songs, to some seriously psychedelic mind trips… all made 100% using alarms. It’s very encouraging to see such creative interpretations of the idea,” says Basu. You can hear the remixes so far on SoundCloud.
Basu will create a 1/1 original artwork for every track submitted. At the end of the contest, which ends on August 7th 2011, the three most inventive tracks will be selected and turned into sound-sculpture installations, which he aims to exhibit in 2012. The winners will also receive a range of SoundCloud prizes.
Visit the project at www.EepEepEepEP.com