A dynamic public sound installation and the World Premiere by Frozen Music created for Subtropics 23, Miami Beach, February 18, 2009 for the outdoor Constellation Sound System at New World Center’s Soundscape Park in Miami Beach

SoundSpace (2015) by Frozen Music was a 120-point source environment commissioned by Subtropics 23 with funding from Culture Builds Florida and The City of Miami Beach, and was presented during the 2015 festival in collaboration with The New World Symphony with invaluable assistance from its Director of Audio Services, Roberto Toledo and his 2015 Audio Fellow. The score of the piece outlines a series of spatialization strategies and trajectories that move sounds about the space from speaker to speaker to 120 points in space.


SoundSpace (2005) by Frozen Music
review and video by composer Fast-Forward

During a visit to Miami recently, I had the pleasure of experiencing the installation work ‘Soundspace’ by Frozen Music (David Dunn, Rene Barge and Gustavo Matamoras). Soundspace was installed at Soundscape Park, a 2.5 acre public park situated directly outside New World Center, the home of Miami’s New World Symphony. Half-an-acre of the park (designed by the Dutch architectural firm West 8) is dedicated to an outdoor projection area which allows visitors to experience live, free “wall casts” on a 7,000 square foot projection wall (the largest permanently established projection surface in North America). In addition, the projection area also includes a sound system comprising of 167 individually tuned speakers. This sound system was the vehicle for Frozen Music’s incredible sound installation. 

It almost seems futile for me to even attempt to explain the experience of visiting ‘Soundspace’, something akin to describing what food tastes like. No amount of words can replicate the live experience. As I walked towards the installation, a few sounds infiltrated the everyday sounds of the city. Arriving at the center of the installation I found myself surrounded by sounds. A somewhat thick, complex curtain of sounds which seemed both natural and electronic at the same time. The combination of a high quality sound system and the care and layering of the chosen sounds were euphoric. It felt and sounded like a sonic urban jungle with extreme clarity. At any given moment, it could sound like an aviary, dinosaurs chomping on digital greenery, or a factory stamping out car parts. What I do know, is that the experience evoked extreme happiness within me. It seemed to be capable of opening up memories and emotions, some of which I didn’t even realize were there. 

I observed no particular ‘type’ of sound, no particular rhythm, no particular progression, or theme. Actually, not that much I could pin-point at all. I had the impression that ‘change and chance’ were a strong inherent intention of the work. A quest for volatility and unpredictability, yet very confident in it’s stability. Not unlike all the surrounding sounds of the city, yet carefully and expertly crafted. Car horns, dogs barking, children playing, the wind whistling all become part of Frozen Music’s composition. The late american composer John Cage used a similar approach in his music to great effect and it became one of his signature compositional tools.

Soundspace delivered a challenge to me, a dichotomy between natural and synthetic sounds. I found myself always referencing it while I was there. But, I surrender, it was impossible for me to determine the origin of a sound at any given moment. Situated with vegetation on one side and 4-lane traffic on the other, Soundspace encompasses both urban & rural at the same time. It kept me continually guessing and thinking and observing. An intelligent artwork in a pristine spot.

Fast Forward (composer NYC).
Aug 18, 2015