Experimental Sound

Figures in Air

Emerging artist and theorist Micah Silver elaborates on the impact of audio on human behavior and social space. Silver’s research ranges from Meillassoux and a triangulation of audio’s trans-substance, to Yves Klein’s Air Architecture, through La Monte Young’s Dream House, and culminates in a discussion of historically significant audio systems and their importance as ephemeral social architectures made of air.

Mad Skills: MIDI and Music Technology in the Twentieth Century

Part rigorous history, part insightful commentary, and part memoir, Mad Skills tells the story behind MIDI, through the twentieth century’s kaleidoscopic lens. Guiding us across one hundred years of musical instruments, and the music made with them, it recounts the technical and creative innovations that led to the making of the most vital, long-standing, ubiquitous, and yet invisible music technology of our time.

Eavesdropping: A Reader

‘Eavesdropping: A Reader’ addresses the capture and control of our sonic world by state and corporate interests, alongside strategies of resistance. For editors James Parker (Melbourne Law School) and Joel Stern (Liquid Architecture), eavesdropping isn’t necessarily malicious. We cannot help but hear too much, more than we mean to. Eavesdropping is a condition of social life. And the question is not whether to eavesdrop, therefore, but how. Published by City Gallery Wellington in association with Liquid Architecture and Melbourne Law School, on the occasion of the exhibition Eavesdropping, curated by James Parker and Joel Stern, at City Gallery Wellington, 17 August–17 ...

Sound Before Meaning

Sound is elemental. We accept it as a primary force that contributes to our lives—a maker of meaning that we internalize without challenging it, interpreting it through past experience and intuition. When presented to us, questions about sound seem simple enough, as if they are almost redundant or unnecessarily asked. As with all concerns regarding the senses, the cognitive is secondary by design. Each of us could happily carry on, maintaining an intuitive relationship with our ears. Inquiry seeks possibilities, emerging from a hope to establish a more meaningful and progressive relationship within a spectrum of experiences at the heart ...

Sonic Continuum

Sonic Continuum (Mar 2020 – July 2021) traces practices of world-making through sound, both as a force that constitutes the world and a medium for producing knowledge about it.

Noise & Capitalism

Unlike any other form of music, improvised and noise music, nonetheless exists in capitalism. Since we cannot accept that noise or improvisation is by default anticapitalist music, then we need to look more closely at those resistances and tensions this music carries within itself – where it provides potential tools for capitalism and where it supplies means for getting out of it. This item is publicly available as part of the Library Stack Northampton Branch, and through NN Contemporary Art.

Version Space: Holly Herndon in conversation with Tabea Nixdorff and Jonathan Zong

The following conversation between Holly Herndon, Tabea Nixdorff and Jonathan Zong occurred via Zoom on Tuesday, 29 September, 2020, at 16:00 Central European Time. We were in Berlin, Arnhem, Cambridge (MA), and Ghent (NY). This is the second publication of Version Space, a series of pamphlets transcribing conversations among artists and graduate students in visual art regarding Artificial Intelligence and related topics, produced in collaboration with Library Stack and funded by the Artistic Research program of the Sandberg Instituut. This item is publicly available as part of the Library Stack Northampton Branch, and through NN Contemporary Art.

The Hummingbird Clock

The noisy buzz of the mains electricity power supply has been one of our urban environment’s most persistent background noises. One day in 1996 Dr Catalin Grigoras realised that the electricity wasn’t just making noise, but in fact singing… The UK national electrical grid delivers power across the country. This mains power supply makes a constant humming sound, yet there are tiny changes to the frequency of this sound every second. Most recordings made in the UK have a trace of mains hum on them and this can be forensically analysed to determine the time and date they were made, and ...

Field Notes #3: Traces

Traces begins with Tom Lawrence’s fascinating and soon unsettling insights into Ireland’s largest wetland Pollardstown Fen and its ongoing destruction through men. Furthermore he describes his elaborate attempt to record the fen’s rich world of water beetles and talks about the startling discoveries he’s made. ♦ Regarding the question ‘Phonography: Art or Documentation?’ sculptor Scott Sherk examines the history of photography and its parallels to the developing world of phonography via selected historical imagery. ♦ From moments of excited listening in his childhood Jim Cummings carries us to the founding of his label EarthEar and his eventual step into scientific fields with the Acoustic Ecology Institute. ♦ ‘Something which lasts, passes by’ is Marcus Kürten’s ...

The New Pulsar Generator Manual

Computer Program as an Artefact At first, the computer program is neutral and exists only in terms devoid of any reference other than to itself. The program is its function. It is a tool. It does something; it instructs a computer to perform a task. Its working is often imperceptible beyond the surface of its interface – screen based or physical – the material extension to the inner depths of its digital structure, the code. Focusing solely on a functional aspect of software limits our engagement with its wider assemblage of connotations beyond technical analysis. Beyond the functional and ostensible neutrality ...

Sufi Plug Ins

SUFI PLUG INS is an interdisciplinary project by Jace Clayton. Version 1 is a free suite of music-making software apps, based on nonwestern notions of sound & a poetic interface. “it’s one of the few digital tools I’ve seen that I would also consider art. It’s a tool that is not only designed to help musicians make new sounds, but also to self-consciously influence what is produced. Interface design decisions are guided both by functionality concerns and the creative expression of its maker.” – Paddy Johnson, Art Fag City More than 15,000 people have downloaded Version 1, and the plug-ins have been ...

Get Lower

Nikita Gale and Alexander Provan are joined by Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, an artist, composer, and performer living in New York City. He speaks about bass as a way to repulse people or bring them together, cause aggravation or collective pleasure. He recounts moments in his life when bass, emanating from a parked car or carnival, has shaken his walls, tested his nerves, and made him feel connected to other people, whether or not he appreciates the music blasting from their subwoofers. Ranging from the soundtrack of his childhood in Baton Rouge to the sonic maelstrom of J’ouvert in Brooklyn, Toussaint-Baptiste describes ...

#128 Shibuya Bus International

Contributor DJ ShluchT
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Contributors TCF, Lars Holdhus
Boids is an artificial life program, developed by Craig Reynolds in 1986, which simulates the flocking behaviour of birds.The name “boid” corresponds to a shortened version of “bird-oid object”, which refers to a bird-like object. Taking the position of the bird-like object, how does other creatures sound like? The limitation of labelling computer generated species after preexisting ones complicates our relation to the former. Digitally sythesized -oids lost in the deep sea, later found and played back in 2x speed. A group of dead -oids scattered along the timeline. It’s our choice to hear an -oid.

A Cinder Block Falling on Concrete

Contributor Lawrence Abu Hamdan
“A Cinder Block Falling on Concrete” consists of sounds and stories from Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s Earwitness Inventory, a personal library of sound effects related to the testimony of earwitnesses in criminal investigations. The objects in Earwitness Inventory are derived from interviews that Abu Hamdan has conducted with earwitnesses, as part of his work as a “private ear,” as well as transcripts from trials across the globe. (Multiple entries concern the reconstruction of Syria’s Saydnaya prison and the experiences of detainees, which Abu Hamdan undertook with the London-based research agency Forensic Architecture and Amnesty International from 2015 to 2017.) The library ...

A Slow Gradual Ooze

A conversation with Steven Warwick aka Heatsick about his March 2016 show Neutral at Exile in Berlin, followed by the text of his play Neonliberal, in which a gaggle of animated superfoods travel around Fortress Europe seeking the hip and the accelerated; and an exclusive Heatsick track, StaylienZ.

Blackout: Representation, Transformation and De-control in the Sound Work of Yasunao Tone

The conversations which form the basis for this interview took place in March 2002 (email interview by Anna Ramos) and July 2008, during Yasunao Tone’s visit to Barcelona, coinciding with his performance at MACBA, and were continued by email with Tone, Fell, Hecker and Held during February-March 2009. Tone’s work has also been featured on issues 1 and 7 of the Ràdio Web MACBA programme Lines of Sight.

Call to Wait

Contributor Aaron Arntz
Call to Wait is a super-long-term project by Aaron Arntz. It’s a phone line that puts callers on hold for seven years. Holding callers are subject to listening experiments, until they hang up. On next phoning Call to Wait, callers will be re-identified, and before they are reconnected to the audio stream, automatically notified of their remaining time on hold. For example if a caller has been on hold for twenty-one minutes, she will hear that she has thirty-nine minutes, twenty-three hours, one day, fifty-two weeks, and six years remaining. The Call to Wait website keeps track of the numbers that ...


There is no such thing as voice in literature. That is, we assign chimerical properties to characters’ voices; fictions based on voices we have heard in relation to the description of the characters’ personalities; identities we want to confer on the characters. Whilst we read and listen to this voice, it is neither true nor false. It is the product of a careful assembly of traces and features we believe represent a person – more physically even than their own body….

Composing with Process: Perspectives on Generative and Systems Music #1.2

Generative music is a term used to describe music which has been composed using a set of rules or system. This series of six episodes explores generative approaches (including algorithmic, systems-based, formalised and procedural) to composition and performance primarily in the context of experimental technologies and music practices of the latter part of the 20th Century and examines the use of determinacy and indeterminacy in music and how these relate to issues around control, automation and artistic intention. Each episode of this RWM series is followed by a special accompaniment programme of exclusive music by some of the leading sound artists ...

Cuaderno de Yokohama

Contributor Llorenç Barber
In this Quadern d’àudio we publish the complete series of 17 graphic scores that Barber created in Yokohama (Japan) in 2005. This previously unpublished series brings together the visual exercises and/or pastimes that the composer compiled in a small notebook as he worked on Pocket Naumaquia, the closing concert of the International Triennale of Contemporary Art (ITCA) in December 2005. For this publication Barber has used these graphic notations as inspiration to write 17 texts that, like a game, readers can link to any score they wish.

Curating Contemporary Music

What are the roles of the curator in the music field, and how does the work materialize? What kind of practices are involved? Defragmentation – Curating Contemporary Music was a project that attempted to highlight some of the problems and urgent questions that we find in today’s contemporary music scene. Within the frame of ideas around gender, diversity, decolonization and technology, Defragmentation looked at – and tried to understand – structures in various institutions of contemporary music. The ambition was to investigate how the urgent sense of fragmentation and disconnection that exists in the public sphere at the moment is materialized ...

Ear | Wave | Event (Issue 3)

Art is, has always been, as Bersani suggests, a kind of alternative to “sex,” another mode of modulating the most intimate relation between soma and psyche. And the stakes of that “other” mode, those “other relational fields,” would be toward the articulation of forms of life divorced from the literal and symbolic traces of white hetero-sexist patriarchy. Our contention is that musicians such as Oliveros, as well as authors featured in this issue, have inherently understood and been working on this all along. The current political moment demands that we not only perpetually recall the radical orientation of “the experimental” ...

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