Pangea Diego Garro

Two hundred and twenty million years ago the super-continent of Pangea, which encompassed the world’s entire land surface, started to break apart. At that time, the Triassic Era, terra firma was one single mega-continent and water was one single vast ocean. Nature was screaming with all its strength and the planet was one pure, single, unexploited entity in which mankind had not yet appeared.

Pangea is a posthumous portrait of that lost world and its epic struggle towards self construction / destruction with no intervention, blessed or damned depending on the viewpoint, of a superior dominant species. This is a pre-human soundscape with no human or human-related sounds. Can there be ‘musical’ life without us? Can there be ‘music’ around-beyond-beside-behind-before us humankind? Can nature sing? The sounds of nature have always been among the favourite materials for sonic artists, for reasons that we often fail to explain fully. Our physical and emotional response to them is related to some kind of ancestral legacy that theoretical analysis fails to comprehend. Perhaps this enthralment is simply the consequence of their sheer beauty… I used recorded sounds from the natural environment, ‘concrète’ studio recordings, synthesised sounds and numerous computer-processed versions of these materials, to construct relatively long sections where visual association and ambiguity of the sonic landscapes are carefully used as compositional tools. The ‘tempo’ of the piece, particularly within its anecdotal sections, is intentionally slowed down to encourage the listener’s contemplation of the scenes, their unfolding, their evolution / mutation.

A sense of nostalgia for a forgotten wholeness and purity underlies the shapes and the colours of this imaginary sonic painting of a distant past. But this is a blatant contradiction. In fact, no man can possibly feel any longing for that ancient world where human steps were unheard and human thoughts were still unknown. nd rocks and dinosaurs feel no nostalgia.

Or do they?

  • Year of composition: 1998
  • Hardware used: Windows PCs and Macintosh computers, with digital audio soundcards. MIDI controller keyboards. MIDI synthesisers. Digital samplers. Stereo microphones and portable digital recorders.
  • Software used: Sound synthesis and processing software: C-Sound, Composers' Desktop Project, U&I Software MetaSynth, GRM Tools plug-ins. Audio multi-track: Digidesign ProTools, Adobe Audition (former Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro). Audio editors: Adobe Audition (former Syntrillium Cool Edit Pro), Bias Peak. MIDI sequencer: Steinberg Cubase.
  • Duration of the submitted work: 21:29
  • Production: Keele University

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