[Oct 9] The Portable Multi-Channel Sound System by Michael Schumacher

The Portable Multi-Channel Sound System is a unique musical instrument designed specifically for Michael J. Schumacher’s spatialized compositions. It sets up in less than an hour and can be carried in a single suitcase, yet provides 12 fully discrete audio channels, complete with speakers, amplifiers and sound sources.

The speakers are an assortment of small and tiny speakers, naked drivers and improvised resonators. They are essential in “filtering” the character of the sounds.

Presentations are part performance, part installation, with Schumacher improvising and responding to room acoustics, random sonic events, as well as the algorithms running the computer.

Sunday October 9 2016 Opening at 2 pm

Presentations at 5 pm, 6pm and 7 pm

Harvestworks 596 Broadway #602 New York NY 10012

Phone: 212-431-1130 Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R to Prince, #6

to Bleecker


The Portable Multi-channel Sound System is a development of Michael Schumacher’s ROOM PIECES concept.

Photo by justin_luke

Photo by Justin Luke

ROOM PIECES are multi-channel, extended duration sound installation that use a modular compositional approach and a wide variety of sonic material. The context of presentation is crucial: each manifestation of ROOM PIECES takes on a unique identity based on the nature of the space in which it is installed.

Through the use of multi-channel sound systems, ROOM PIECES coordinates points in space by the juxtaposition of related sounds, weaving a spatial geometry, a continuously shifting grid of multi-point relations with the listener as axis. Rather than “virtual space”, an imitation of a world outside this one, ROOM PIECES intersects the real world, sectionalizing space according to acoustic phenomena.

ROOM PIECES work with memory to create grids of time as complements to the geometry of space. Autonomous sound elements combine to form clusters of disparate structures, shifting contexts and remembered places and moments. Personal memories clash with collective; cultural influences beyond any individual vision inform the reception of compositional decisions. Every element remains highly independent, articulating its unique path into the future, but tied at every moment to coincidental, unpredictable simultaneities. ROOM PIECES is a counterpoint of fully-formed voices, separated, juxtaposed, in space and time.

ROOM PIECES is about listening, calling conscious attention to processes that are normally instinctive. It’s about the natural ebb and flow of our engagement with sonic phenomena, how we are sometimes attentive, sometimes distracted, sometimes mindful of our environment and “in-the-moment”, and other times self-absorbed. The idea of listening “territories” is explored by engaging these many states that are in constant flux.

The structure is modular, consisting (to date) of about 500 components that are re-assembled to create a specific instance of the piece. For any given realization there may be a significant number of new modules created, given the unique character of every location. The basic organizing principle is the alternation, in each module, of sound and silence. The ratio of one to the other, which is flexible, determines the textural characteristics of a particular installation.

A “module” is defined as a specific sound as well as the process used by the computer to execute the sound in “real-time”. Sounds include simple sine tones, both sustained and articulated, instrumental sounds, synthesized sounds, field recordings, and sounds culled from various sources like the World Wide Web, films and CDs.

ROOM PIECES explores the repercussions of utilizing the computer as a medium for creating art, examining issues and aspects such as algorithmic structure, controlled random processes, data volatility, system stability, the nature of memory, both human and digital, and the role of the composer given a medium that takes over so many of the tasks traditionally executed by human beings.


Photo by Nisi Jacobs

•       BIOS

Michael J. Schumacher is a composer, performer and installation artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Schumacher was the co-founder (with Liz Gerring) and director of Diapason gallery, New York’s only gallery devoted to sound art, which closed in 2013. His latest project is diNMachine, an electro­acoustic rock band.

Schumacher has received awards and residencies from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Harvestworks, RPI , DAAD and others. He’s an adjunct professor at NYU/Poly and has guest­lectured at Bard College, Ostrava Music Days and Berlin’s Technische Universität.

His sound installations have been heard at festivals and venues in North America and Europe. XI Records has published a DVD set of five sound installations as computer applications, playable on up to eight speakers, which create sound environments in the home. Schumacher’s composition “Grid”, a computer­ generated score, has been in exhibitions in New York, Barcelona and Houston. His installation “Room Pieces” ran continuously for one year in the lobby of EMPAC, in Troy, NY. diNMachine has published two albums, their latest, on Greedy Dillettante Records, was released this January.

“Schumacher…enables sounds rather than their source to hold the attention, and his results are outstanding.”

Julian Cowley, Wire

“…he carefully builds interior and exterior architectures that have the potential to coincide in the mind’s ear to create awareness of space in all its variations of light and dark, opaque and translucent, smooth and rough, sinuously organic and geometrically straight.”

Stefaan Van Ryssen, Leonardo Music Journal

“Schumacher is the Morton Feldman of Glitchwerks.”

Kenneth Goldsmith, NYPress




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