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Art For Your Ears: Subtropics Marathon Airs Experimental Music

Diego Saldaña-Rojas
Audiotheque on Miami Beach's Lincoln Road is the host for the Subtropics Marathon.

  On Saturday, 20 sound art pieces will be performed and displayed at the 24th annual Subtropics Marathon, a six-hour sound art and experimental music event.

"We don't try to pin down exactly the kinds of things these are. We're interested in experimental music, meaning music that is being made today, no matter what it is," said Gustavo Matamoros.

Credit Diego Saldaña-Rojas / For WLRN
Gustavo Matamoros is artistic director of Audioteque and organized this year's marathon.

Matamoros, a composer and sound artist living in Miami since 1979, helped organize this year's marathon and is the artistic director of Audiotheque, the small room that will host the marathon.

Located within Art Center South Florida, a second-floor complex on the Lincoln Road Mall between Jefferson and Michigan avenues, Audiotheque's aim is to provide a space for sound artists to compose and perform outside of the entertainment aspect of music creation.

Started in 1989, the Subtropics festival was a multi-day annual event that included a concert and a sound marathon, which is a series of sound pieces between 5 and 15 minutes long, performed one after another.

In 2009, the Subtropics festival became a biennial event. Last year, however, Matamoros said he felt the two-year gap between festivals was too long and decided to make the marathon a yearly event.

"It makes no sense to wait two years to do it again," he said, "especially given the fact that the marathon is a showcase for mostly local artists doing their experimental work."

While the event is open to the public, Matamoros acknowledged the performances may not seem like music to first-time listeners of sound art and experimental music.

"The music itself is not easy, conceptually," he said. "At first hearing it may sound like a lot of noise and it isn't, really. It's music that's meant to actually tickle our minds and make us aware that hearing is an important aspect of being human."