ADE Green explores the relationship between nature, humanity and the arts
Wednesday, 02 October 2019
In today's music industry we share a bigger connection with nature than we realise. The "Nature Needs Heroes" panel discusses innovative idea's on how to implement this outside world into the electronic dance scene on Friday October 18th at DeLaMar Theater.
It's common to think of dance music as thoroughly synthetic. Its imagery is of the dance floor with lasers, strobes, LEDs or of digital visuals. Our subjective experience is of enclosed spaces, from airport to taxi and from rave to party. Even at most festivals still, any connection to the earth beneath our feet and the landscape around us is heavily mediated by artificial structures and electronic sound. Many subsections of our culture turn that artificiality into their entire aesthetic, generating sci-fi otherworldliness whether utopian or dystopian, or celebrating the urban environment of concrete, glass, tarmac and steel.
But, as the philosopher Timothy Morton has suggested, maybe we need “ecological thought” that doesn't separate off an abstracted “nature” from the more synthetic human world. Can dance music break through that barrier and make you feel part of nature? Environmental and natural sounds have always been a part of both electronic experimentation and the dancefloor experience after all. From Edgard Varèse trying to conjure the sound of empty landscapes from tape manipulations in 1954's Déserts through David Mancuso playing the sound of thunderstorms to the LSD infused dancers at The Loft, the natural world has seeped into our experiences of music, whether that be academic, hedonistic, subcultural or populist.
But something new is afoot in the 21st century. All of those strands of past music – academic, hedonistic etc. – are available to us all, and so is the technology to use their lessons more easily than ever before. We're in an era now where talking sound design is as commonplace as beat programming. Think of IDM and electronica artists like Matthew Herbert investigating the power of sound as environmental data, or Mira Calix's insect orchestras: the ability to do this kind of work is available to all with minimal equipment now.
Think of the Local Guide album by North Sea Dialect on Glasgow's Numbers, examining Scotland's natural and artificial soundscape. Or DJ Tom Middleton researching the cognitive effects of natural sounds for his Sleep Better project. And maverick producer Actress replicating natural processes like wood warping in his own electronic sounds. Or what about our own panellist: Dominik Eulberg, who from 2004's Flora and Fauna album right through to this year's Mannigfaltig has used minimal techno as a vehicle to put out ideas about the landscape, ecology and his own obsession: birdwatching. Or visual artist Heleen Blanken bringing the natural world inside clubland. And Italian DJ/Producer Neel blending nature components into his techno tracks, next to exploring mystical sound territories for his ambient project LF58. His Voices From The Lake project with Donato Dozzy – as the name suggests – also clearly allows the natural world to speak. Lastly, composer, professor, author and philosopher, David Rothenberg who has written and performed on the relationship between humanity and nature for many years. Hear their personal stories of how they use nature as their main source of inspiration at ADE Green on ADE Friday.
This is what our culture is capable of. Dance music might well be self-regarding and hedonistic, but it is also capable of looking outwards and bringing the outside world in. And if people are to broaden their imaginations to find creative ways to deal with the crises we find ourselves in, that's exactly what we need to be doing.
This panel is inspired by Timberland's “Nature Needs Heroes” campaign. As an outdoor lifestyle brand, they are acutely aware of the need for connection with nature in the urban environments. They are working with ADE Green to promote discussion and thought around this. The brand has also committed to plant 50 Million trees over the next five years.
Article written by Joe Muggs Photo Credits: Dimiioniatis. Heleen Blanken @ Draaimolen Festival
About ADE Green
ADE Green is the pioneering conference on sustainability, innovation and social change in the music industry and takes place on Friday October 18th at the DeLaMar Theater. Previously announced speakers include Andy Cato, Bernice Notenboom, Eli Goldstein, Harald Friedl, Job Sifre, Tom van Wijk and many others.