'PRSNT' is a unique global artistic project combining the input of artists across the worlds of music, video and written word which acts as a statement on how we, as consumers, engage with music in the 21st century. Vital electronic musicians including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Lafawndah, Lyra Pramuk, Lucrecia Dalt and Visible Cloaks have each contributed tracks, which are approximately 32 seconds long. The concept was devised by Created By Us and the Barcelona-based label Modern Obscure Music. They read a study which identified that the overwhelming volume of instantly accessible information online is shortening attention spans and altering how audiences engage with music digitally. Their curiosity about the state of online consumption developed further on discovering that around a third of all listeners using digital platforms skip to the next track, within the first 30 seconds of playing.
Each musician was given a fascinating challenge to create engaging compositions with real artistic merit, inside the confines of this shortened span. Akin to Brian Eno's famous Windows 95 start-up music, the time constraints are crucial, and the compositions are deceptively complex and more substantial than expectations of their nano nature would suggest.
'PRSNT' acts as a critique of flighty feed culture, but is simultaneously constructive, providing something which is either proposed solution, or "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" resignation. Every artist has interpreted the brief differently, resulting in an intriguing blueprint for the potential future of digital music. Could abbreviated micro compositions satisfy, inspire and nourish like their longer counterparts? They certainly take up much less of listeners' busy lives, which are often spent tackling ever-increasing workloads.