The Heights

Updated: May 23, 2016

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Electroacoustica music festival returns to Foothill

The bass is pumping and cosmic sounds fill the air of the Lohman Theater. The second annual Electroacoustic concert, a two-night musical festival celebrating experimental electronic music, is back on the Foothill campus Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2.

But what is experimental electronic music? Eric Kuehnl, the Assistant Director of the Music Technology Program at Foothill, struggles to find the right words but defines it as contemporary classical music with an electronic overhaul. Traditional instruments like the oboe and flute are often combined with looped prerecorded voices, nature sounds, or other sonic elements that may be created during the performance.

"It is avant garde music," says Kuehnl, but don't confuse this with the kind of music you'd hear at a club. The music explores a distinct sonic territory and is not necessarily beat oriented.

This Electroacoustica fesitval was created with the support of the Music Technology Department and uses several student volunteers and student employees to help bring it together. "Foothill has been incredibly supportive," says Kuehnl, and students have been incredibly responsive to the program. The new music composition class offered last fall was filled to capacity. He attributes the success to the younger generations growing up with aspects of electronic music on the radio and a curiosity for the untraditional.

There are many contemporary music festivals in the Bay Area, but many do not highlight electronic music, and even more rare is electronic music performed live in front of audience. At Electroacoustica, this is the exclusive focus. Kuehnl believes that experimental electronic is opening people's minds to what contemporary classical music can be and while traditional audiences may find this kind somewhat challenging, it is a rewarding trip that music fans should take.

Performances begin at 8 p.m. in the Lohman Theatre on both Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available online and are only $5 for students and $10 for the general public. For a full list of performers, please visit the Electroacoutisca webpage.

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