Gettoblaster Project

The Ghetto Blaster Project (GBP) is a series of exciting performances combining classical music with recycled noise played through recycled boomboxes.

The project challenges the idea of classical music by combining art with sound material from everyday life. As a result, noise pollution will be elevated into music and the public will have to reconsider how they listen to life. Not only are we challenging the music itself, but the way audience members can interact with music. The audience will have compositional control of one work through the use of a cell phone application. Performances will take place in art galleries and public spaces throughout the Netherlands in the month of April, with one performance scheduled in Phoenix, Arizona (United States of America).

Public spaces are overrun with sound pollution; cars, busses, bicycles, talking, and pop-music are ever present in our parks, playgrounds, squares, and markets. The Ghetto Blaster Project will combine noise pollution with live classical music, elevating music in our public spaces. Two walls of assembled boombox stereos will provide performances space for prerecorded sounds and a back drop for live acoustic music. The resulting musical playground will change the way people listen to everyday noise pollution.

The umbrella project consists of five smaller components all necessary for the quality completion the project: commissioning new works from composers, developing a crowd involvement application, building a ghetto blaster wall, recording a DVD about the creative process, and public performances of the project. Each one of these components have unique obstacles and funding issues, however each component is also an integral in the completion of the whole.

Six composers have agreed to write new music reworking prerecorded sound into pieces for bass trombone, chamber group, and ghetto blaster. The six composers are in varying stages of their careers and all write in styles unique from each other. These pieces will provide a diverse performance based on style, sample selection, and instrumentation. Each composer will retain artistic control and work with performers to develop each piece.

Arend Gerds, a young composer, writes music in combination with cellular phone applications that allow the audience composition control over the performance. He is developing apps in which the audience can participate in the compositional process, by making decisions that influence the soundtrack and what is being played by the musician. This is done in such a way, that even people without any musical knowledge can participate. The audience will need a smartphone or tablet.

In order to provide a performance space that reflects sample sound pollution, the project requires two walls built from recycled boombox type stereos. Both walls consisting of 27 boombox each will showcase the prerecord sound in a visual way was well as playing the actual sound track. The visual aspect of the project was inspired by artist Bayete Ross Smith. His work Got the Power consists of walls of boomboxes positioned in public parks throughout the United States.
A DVD will provide historical documentation and serve as a vehicular to show the classical music world the result of the project. Musicians have been inspired to work with noise and tape since the era of John Cage and Milton Babbitt in the mid-twentieth century. However, the repertoire is drastically underdeveloped and many musicians will be interested in the works produced by this project. A DVD is the best way to show the creative process along with the resulting concert series in connections with the composers works and audience involvement.

Finally, performances are imperative to the completion of the project. By performing in public spaces, the project can showcase reworked sound pollution in its natural setting. Hopefully, this will change the way the audience listens to noise around them, while making them aware of how much music is available in their daily life. The ideal locations are seven playgrounds, parks, and city centers throughout the Netherlands. Performing on high traffic days will create four or five thousand audience members per performances. However, performances are already planned in the United States as well.

The effort of the ghetto blaster project is to make a substantial international cultural contribution to classical music. Through the development and completion of the umbrella project, six unique works will be added to the trombone repertoire and will showcase these additions in different yet accessible ways. The public will have the opportunity to hear and think about classical music and noise pollution in a more effective manor. This undertaking is a unique and meaningful contribution to Dutch musical culture and the trombone community at large.