This section explores the complex map of sound art from a variety of points of view, structured into different series and curated programs. VARIATIONS, led by Jon Leidecker reconstructs the history of sound appropriationism by looking at examples from 20th century composition, popular art and commercial media, and the convergence of all these trends today. Meanwhile, LINES OF SIGHT, curated by Barbara Held and Pilar Subirà, explores different ideas linked to transmission as a means of creative expression and in PARASOL ELEKTRONICZNY. RUMOURS FROM THE EASTERN UNDERGROUND, Felix Kubin leads us on a tour of underground sound production in Eastern Europe. Finally, PROBES by Chris Cutler examines the side-effects of the collapse of tonality in the 20th century and INTERRUPTIONS intermittently "interrupts”" the Curatorial series in order to explore the many possibilities of music-on-demand and mix formats.
Chris Cutler traces the immense impact Indian instruments and aesthetics had on both thinking and playing, across all forms of western music from Messiaen and La Monte Young to John Coltrane and the Beatles.
In this auxiliary Chris Cutler meets more repurposed African instruments in several fields, and takes one glimpse at the reverse traffic. Interestingly, for the first time, there’s hardly any adoption in contemporary classical circles. Answers on a postcard, please.
In PROBES #19 Chris Cutler continues to look at the importation of exotic instruments, in this case from Africa, in pursuit of a specifically non-American American expression of culture and politics.
In this auxilliary, bachelor pad hi-fi stereo exotica whips off its kitschy disguise to reveal a revolutionary core, abandoning boring documentation for a hyperreal exploration of novel timbres, impossible spatialities and radical fragmentation. This is where recording technology finally becomes aware of itself as an aesthetic rather than as a purely technical medium.
In PROBES #18, Chris Cutler raises lowly percussion high and introduces us in the hyperreal world of hi-fi stereo, pure listening and exotica.
In this new auxiliary Chris Cutler follows the gamelan, falls into further experiments with percussion and slides inexorably into exotic appropriation.
In PROBES #17, we trace how the gamelan collided with western notions of music and exotic percussion spread like a virus into every field.
In PROBES #16.2, we wonder how far you can go with banjos, mandolins, balalaikas, jew’s harps and ensembles of folk instruments. And it’s pretty far.
PROBES #16 concludes the four programmes that investigate the repurposing of folk instruments. This time it’s banjos, mandolins, balalaikas, jew’s harps and ensembles of folk instruments are extracted from their proper contexts and made to do strange and unnatural things.
In this new auxiliary, bagpipes, zithers, harmonicas and hurdy-gurdys do things they aren’t supposed to do in contexts in which they aren’t supposed to do them... rather brillantly.
Anna Friz’s mix and text present a collage exploring the environment, morphology and taxonomy of the little people inside the radio.
In PROBES #15 we look at experimental uses of the more intractable folk instruments: bagpipes, hurdy gurdy and harmonica. Is nothing sacred?
In PROBES #14 we take a detour to show how a collision of folk mechanisms, social upheaval, sound recording and electrification underpinned the growth of a new polyglot musical language, and a new aesthetic constituency.
This new auxiliary by Chris Cutler digs into new sounds made with long-forgotten instruments.
Chris Cutler's PROBES #13 tracks the recovery and reassignment of ancient and folk instruments in unfamiliar contexts.
Morten J. Olsen’s mix for the INTERRUPTIONS series presents an extreme, complex and long journey into drumming, to discuss out loud Olsen’s most personal theories coming from his very own personal experience and background. As Morten puts it, possibly, ‘a long and painful listening experience of percussion oriented music’.
This is the auxiliary in which harpsichords boldly go.
In Chris Cutler's PROBES #12 harpsichords return from the dead; a spectre is haunting music: the harpsichord.
This auxiliary by Chris Cutler listens to voices, mostly in groups, doing extraordinary things.
PROBES #11 goes oral: everything your mother wouldn’t tell you about what people can do with their mouths, and a little bit of spit.
This auxiliary by Chris Culter wonders what the human voice can't do.
In this tenth instalment, Chris Cutler looks at the human voice and its aesthetic reinventions. To be continued in episode 11.
This auxiliary explores extended techniques for percussion and winds.
In this instalment, we capture some of the infinite instances of voice and repetition in Eduard Escoffet's sound poetry collection.
In this ninth instalment, Chris Cutler investigates some extraordinary extended techniques for wind instruments and percussion and how they have been used.
This auxiliary explores extended techniques for strings.
In this eighth instalment, Chris Cutler presents modifications of string instruments that seek to move away from tonality while maintaining coherence.
This mix is a comprehensive introduction and a tribute to the legacy of Italian library music.
This auxiliary investigates preparations for percussion and extended techniques for piano.
PROBES #7 examines some of the preparations applied to percussion and voice before beginning to look at the recovery and invention of extended performance techniques; starting with the piano.
Dave Phillips' mix is a true assault on the senses that reflects on extreme durations in music and our relationship with the temporality of sound.
Cumulative Tails is a pun upon the 'cumulative tale', where each part of a story relates to that which just preceded and followed it. This radio mix, curated by Vicki Bennett, has been created using that process – a succession of audio tracks picked in conceptual relation only to that which was previously played.
This music selection investigates further preparations of stringed and brass instruments, in the quest for novel sounds.
There's no end of things that have been laid on, tied to, screwed into or otherwise attached to alter the sound of conventional instruments. This sixth programme draws a map and explores some of the outer reaches of string and wind preparations.
This music selection investigates further ways of piano preparations: will the torture never end?
This fifth programme sets the scene for a wide range of very different approaches to the exploration of timbre and looks at ways of modifying or preparing the traditional piano.
Carl Michael von Hausswolf opens our ears to the most obscure side of the radiowaves: a very strange place in the electromagnetic spectrum, where energy turns into sounding matter.
In this music selection we look further into sliding pitches, concentrating this time on their use in popular music, before moving on to wholly unpitched probes that begin to map the many aspects of differentiated noise.
Since the late eighteenth century, speech therapists, linguists, entrepreneurs, artists and musicians have nurtured the dream of emulating human speech. In this mix, Genís Segarra offers a personal overview of a subject that fascinates him, with the story of voice synthesis as a narrative thread.
This fourth programme looks at another dimension of portamenti, and moves on into early twentieth century ideas of colour, timbre and the contested territory of noise.
This show takes a listen to techno-pop of the seventies and early eighties as a brief yet deliberate interruption into the realms of pop, rock, soul and R&B.
In this music selection we look further at probes into pitch, this time through its effective obliteration through ceaseless movement, sliding tones, and radical portamenti which defy all quantisation.
This mix explores how the use of aural phenomena can manifest in its many forms to become the key element in a compositional practice. By engaging in the use of such expanded sonic techniques the composer can act to create a recalibration of the listeners sense of hearing and by so doing, allow for a reconsideration of what constitutes sonic composition.
This is where pitch becomes weightless and all that is solid melts into air: futurism, noise, electricity, ecstasy and uncertainty. We look at the lure and power of sliding tones.
In this project Alan Bishop vindicates the use of radio as an electronic instrument in a journey through time and space that unearths old recordings from the AM and FM airwaves made during his first trip to Spain and Morocco in 1983.
In this music selection we look further at alternative tuning systems based on the naturally occurring harmonic series, opening up a potentially infinite series of customised Just Intonation scales.
All the 'normal' music we listen to is out of tune, especially when it’s 'in tune'. So, should music be in harmony with the laws of physics, or adjusted to fit the wishful thinking of stave notation?
A selection of records that mention, replicate, utilise or study the phenomena of vinyl, the record player and/or recordings.
In this music selection we look further at microtonal divisons based on equal temperament.
PROBES #1 sets the scene and investigates early reconsiderations of pitch: probes that postulate new scales to be constructed through the ever-greater subdivision of the inherited intervals of equal temperament.
If sampling had seemed an inherently revolutionary practice in the eighties that called into question the definition and the authority of the composer, the proliferation of artists in the decade that followed reasserted that authority. Mainstream audiences finally recognized appropriation as a legitimate form of creativity once artists became comfortable practicing it as a form of self-expression.
A selection of field recordings from environments that are currently in the midst of a process of irreversible change.
The small but active experimental music scene in Latvia is starting to turn a page and break free of the stigmas that have plagued their cultural life for almost twenty years.
The mix presented here investigates the artistic use of breath.
This mix revises some of the exciting contemporary musical works utilizing a notion of mathematics and number. These compositions represent what could be called perceptive or sensual mathematics.
ZickZack label founder Alfred Hilsberg and author Frank Apunkt Schneider talk about the cultural, social and political conditions in Germany at the end of the seventies that gave rise to a radical new type of music, which Schneider describes as 'the undirected aggression of the freed noises'.
Florian Hecker suggests an amalgamation of two seminal collections of psychoacoustic works, which demand from its audience a selective piecing-together of distinct units into an overall Gestalt, one that culminates in a chimerical auditory experience.
A decade after the end of the communist regime, Czech and Slovakian underground musicians began channeling the national legacy of progressive dissident rock to virgin soil.
Sound libraries are collections of sounds explicitly designed or collected for further use, presented as unfinished ingredients. Sounds increasingly detach from their sources and are used by new authors less as references than as simple objects.
Felix Kubin brings us back the vitality of the Neue Deutsche Welle through lost tracks published on tape between 1981 and 1993.
A spaghetti western about experimental music on the West Coast in the 1980s.
Isolated by its remote geography and unusual Finno-Ugric language, Estonia is a borderland between the East and the West. It resembles the surreal zone in Andrei Tarkovsky's film "Stalker", a place full of secrets, where nature meets science fiction.
As art and industrial practitioners formally map out the discipline, hip-hop's discovery of digital sampling technology in the mid-80's provided a reintroduction to its original roots in block party DJ collage.
This layered 60 minute DJ set by Jon Leidecker underlines the history of those classic works of electronic and concrète music which sought to mimic and extend the voices and sounds of our pastoral landscape.
An overview as the art music tradition of collage music is joined by the popular culture tradition of hip-hop, which would establish many of the same aesthetics and practices solidly in the mainstream.
In the seventies the avant-garde finally crosses the line into wholesale plundering of commercial pop music, and the pop disciplines of disco and dub become increasingly comfortable with manipulating released music into new forms, narrowing the divide between art and pop practices.
The second episode of this series presents an overview of the sixties, starting with the world music collages of Richard Maxfield, Teiji Ito and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and following through to the impact of John Cage and Marshall McLuhan on the Beatles.
As recording supplanted sheet music in the 20th century, the presence of communal influence became unavoidably obvious once again as composers began to use recordings to make new recordings. From the beginning, recordings have been instruments.
Collaboration by philosopher and pioneer of mini FM radio, Tetsuo Kogawa, and sound artist Yasunao Tone, based on an email exchange on radioart.
Brenda Hutchinson converses with San Francisco composer and performer Jon Brumit about the thread of "collaborating with strangers" that runs through their work.
The recording, as memory/archive, as instrument, as transcription of a perfect performance, and as sound art using field recordings.
Transmission Art encompasses a diversity of practices and media working with the idea of transmission or the physical properties of the electromagnetic spectrum. These practices are generally participatory live-art or time-based art, and often manifests as radio art, video art, light sculpture, installation, and performance.
This programme transmits "Pillars", a new piece for radio by Robert Ashley, pioneer of opera-for-television and the use of language in a musical setting.
We investigate concepts of time, non-linear and non-Western, the latency of transmission or the use of acoustic and electronic delay, daily rituals and nature, a recorded slice of time and networked collaborations.
Musical, sociological, biological explorations of how our minds and intuition translate and transmit music.