skip to main content

Cube Fest features the latest in immersive sound

July 17, 2017

Electrobro

Featuring 10 events over four days, Cube Fest 2017 brings artists, researchers, and industry professionals together to explore new possibilities in immersive sound, audio technology, and musical composition in Virginia Tech’s premiere research environment and performance space, the Cube.

Presented by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology and the Moss Arts Center, the events will be held at the Moss Arts Center, 190 Alumni Mall, on Aug. 3-6.

Unlike any music festival in the world, Cube Fest features fixed media compositions, live performances, turntablism, hip-hop and modern dancers, award-winning audio and visual work, and a spatialized presentation of an entire album from Led Zeppelin. Hearing the iconic rock band spatialized throughout the Cube’s 150 speakers is an experience attendees will not soon forget.

Also included in the lineup are performances by New York-based DJ and sound artist Maria Chavez, technology startup Electroskip, and hip-hop dance troupe the Random Ninjaz Dance Crew.

The centerpiece of the festival is the Cube. Built in 2013, the Cube is an experimental venue and living laboratory in Virginia Tech’s Moss Arts Center. The four-story black box-type environment is widely accepted as one of the most technologically advanced venues for immersive environments, attracting international attention for its technical capabilities that support a wide range of audio approaches, from data sonification to spatial sound composition.

Its 150-multichannel speaker system, wave field synthesis and holosonic sound display, and real-time audio/visual rendering system turn the Cube into a massive instrument.

The festival kicks off with a week of residency activities for six international researchers, each composing original and site-specific compositions that combine multiple musical genres with the sonic capabilities of the Cube.

New to the festival this year are community workshops – hosted by one of the designers of the Cube, Terence Calkins, with acoustical consulting firm Arup, and leading audio researcher Robert Normandeau from the University of Montreal. These community workshops provide a behind-the-scenes look at the Cube through informal lectures and hands-on demonstrations.

The Cube Fest schedule includes:

“Research ReSounds”

  • Thursday, Aug. 3, 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • Join six international artists and researchers as they push the boundaries of creativity and innovation through original compositions created specifically for the Cube.

Maria Chavez

  • Friday, Aug. 4, 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • New York-based sound artist, abstract turntablist, and DJ Maria Chavez will put her unique spin on the Cube by merging the practice of improvisation with the inherently unstable conditions of a turntable. This practice allows accidents to dictate each sound piece, which, alongside her award-winning audio and visual work, create a full sensory experience of sights and sounds.

Cube Fest Community Workshop

  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • Terence Caulkins, one of the designers of the Cube, hosts this educational and informative workshop. Caulkins will discuss what makes the Cube so special and provide a peek into the Cube’s inner workings. This community event is a must for anyone interested in learning what makes the Cube tick.

“Sounds in Space”

  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 5:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • This fully immersive fixed media concert explores the unknown edges of electroacoustic music and spatial sound. Taking full advantage of the Cube’s 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system, “Sounds in Space” will create one-of-a-kind sonic environments.

“Hypersonic”

  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.
  •  $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • Part hip-hop battle, part dance off, and all action, join local DJ and Virginia Tech alumnus Electrobro (Adam Wirdzek) as he squares off against Electroskip and the Random Ninjaz Dance Crew in an all-out experience that combines turntablism, hip-hop dance choreography, and shoes that become instruments.

Listening Lounge: “Whole Lotta Cube”

  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 9:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  •  Experience the music of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, through the Cube’s 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system. “Whole Lotta Cube” will spatialize the band’s second studio album, “Led Zeppelin II.”

Cube Fest Community Workshop

  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 3 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • The second part of this educational series is hosted by leading audio researcher Robert Normandeau and features an in-depth look at immersive sound spatialization and new tools developed at the University of Montreal.

“Sounds in Motion”

  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 5:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • This audio/visual experience features live performers who combine immersive technologies and original performance works designed to explore the spaces between human expression, art, and technology.

“Auragami”

  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • Unfold your ears with a concert of audio envelopment. “Auragami” features the music of Secret Chiefs 3, remixed specifically for the Cube. Experience fusions of surf rock, film music, Middle Eastern polyrhythms, electronic music, and death metal diffused over 150 loudspeakers.

Listening Lounge: “Whole Lotta Cube” (repeat performance)

  • Sunday, Aug. 6, 7:30 p.m.
  • $10 general admission; free for Virginia Tech students with valid ID (ticket still required)
  • Experience the music of one of the most influential rock bands of all time, Led Zeppelin, through 150-multichannel speaker surround sound system. “Whole Lotta Cube” will spatialize the band’s second studio album, “Led Zeppelin II.”

Spatial Sound Art Installation: “From Within a Field”

  • Saturday, Aug. 5 and Sunday, Aug. 6, 2-9 p.m. each day
  • Perform Studio, Moss Arts Center
  • Free
  • An ongoing electroacoustic performance piece for multi-channel speaker systems that started in 2013, “From Within a Field” explores the relationship between sound and the listener, where the sound material is strung and woven together for the present moment.

Tickets

Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.

Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street. Virginia Tech faculty and staff possessing a valid Virginia Tech parking permit can enter and exit the garage free of charge. Limited street parking is also available. Parking on Alumni Mall is free on weekdays after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Kacy McAllister at 540-231-5300 or email kmcallis@vt.edu during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to an event.

Written by Willie Caldwell, of Blacksburg, Virginia, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech’s master’s program in arts leadership and higher education administration in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences

Contact: