Experimental Sound Practices study guide

Bob Bellerue 2020


below is Bob's "piano bomb"


What Is Experimental?
we discussed what "experimental" means in today's music / art environment, and the problems with that name when it is used to identify a product rather than a process. here are some ideas i have about it - we can call them the Maybe Maxims
- an experiment may introduce you to new ideas/practices, and confirm those you already have
- you may not have a precise idea of what will occur, though you may have an understanding of what the results might be
- you may embrace mistakes, or sabotage yourself, in order to work with unfamiliar / undesirable material
- you may improvise on an instrument or piece of equipment, without methods / riffs / tricks, 100% present listening to your sound and the environment
- you may play equipment or instruments that you are not familiar with
- you may use field recordings and radio, which can be somewhat unknown ahead of time and unpredictable
- you may use contact mics to listen to the sounds inside materials instruments and objects
- you may attach speaker drivers to objects to make custom speakers that have irregular sound characteristics
- you may add some speakers of different sizes to your setup and use them like instruments, making feedback, activating the room's acoustics, and drawing attention inward and outward as the volume on each speaker group changes.
- you may not have a plan for everything that will happen during your performance or recording, but will follow the sounds that come up and discover an ending while you are playing
- maybe more?

Below are some examples of recommended sound art and experimental electronic music, focusing on innovative work with electronics, tape, vinyl, mics, contact mics, pickups, speakers, and field recording - in no particular order! please send me suggestions for things i forgot! bob_AAATTT_halfnormal_DDOOTT_com

Pierre Schaeffer -- Études de bruits (1948) - the birth of musique conrete. "Cinq études de bruits (Five Studies of Noises) is a collection of musical compositions by Pierre Schaeffer. The five études were composed in 1948 and are the earliest pieces of musique concrète, a form of electroacoustic music that utilises recorded sounds as a compositional resource.... Amongst the vast range of works and projects he undertook, Schaeffer is most widely and currently recognized for his accomplishments in electronic and experimental music,[2] at the core of which stands his role as the chief developer of a unique and early form of avant-garde music known as musique concrète.[3] The genre emerged in Europe from the utilization of new music technology developed in the post-war era, following the advance of electroacoustic and acousmatic music.
Today, Schaeffer is considered one of the most influential experimental, electroacoustic and subsequently electronic musicians, having been the first composer to utilize a number of contemporary recording and sampling techniques that are now used worldwide by nearly all record production companies.[2] His collaborative endeavors are considered milestones in the histories of electronic and experimental music....In 1951, he founded the Groupe de Recherche de Musique Concrète (GRMC) in the French Radio Institution. This gave him a new studio, which included a tape recorder. This was a significant development for Schaeffer, who previously had to work with phonographs and turntables to produce music. Schaeffer is generally acknowledged as being the first composer to make music using magnetic tape." (Wikipedia)

Daphne Oram "FourAspects" (1959)- "Oram's early tape masterpiece, composed for her lecture and demonstration at Edinburgh Festival in 1959. It has everything from sublime ambience to intense apocalyptic tape feedback. Oram left behind a hugely influential body of work when she passed away in 2003, including her famous "Oramics", a process of creating sound through hand-drawn 35mm film strips that were then read by a specially-constructed machine and converted into sound. The Science Museum ran an exhibition showcasing the machine last year; you can watch a short documentary about Oramics on their website. Much of Oram's work, taking in commercial, broadcast and performance commissions, was made after she left the Radiophonic Workshop after only a year due to the BBC's lack of interest in her more experimental work, and was recently collected on the 2007 compilation Oramics."

Else Marie Pade "Faust" (1962) - "A woman who created her own alternate paths, fearlessly crafting her own game by necessity. Not only did Else Marie Pade foray into the, at the time, particularly masculine field of contemporary composition, she ventured into the uncharted territory of experimental electronic music, where through a persistent solitary quest, her sonic universe came to expression... In 1952 Pade had a life changing moment when she heard a radio broadcast of the music of French composer Pierre Schaeffer, the inventor of Musique Concrète (Concrete music) – a musical form that consists entirely of sounds from the concrete world. Pierre Schaeffer’s philosophy was that everything is music, or has the potential to be music, in the right hands. This was completely in line with Else Marie Pade’s own ideas, dating back to her childhood. She immediately travelled to Paris with the sole purpose of studying with Pierre Schaeffer. Shortly after meeting Schaeffer she started working on her first real musical work, and in 1954 ‘A Day at the Deer Park’ would become the first piece of concrete music written in Denmark."
here is a great interview with her: https://jajajamusic.com/magma/else-marie-pade/

Delia Derbyshire "Sea" (1964) - "Delia Derbyshire is one of the most innovative electronic musicians of the 20th Century. She is best known for her pioneering work for the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, and for composing the classic theme song for the original Doctor Who, believed to be the earliest "electronic" theme song in television history. A brilliant composer and one of the few women operating in the early era of electronic music, In the early '60s she collaborated with the British artist and playwright Barry Bermange for the BBC's Third Programme to produce four Inventions for Radio, a collage of people describing their dreams, set to a background of electronic sound. This is the first, simply titled Dreams, an attempt to represent, in sound, the sensation of dreaming. Derbyshire's electronic and musique concrete soundbed is the perfect underscore to the narration, simultaneously jarring, dissonant, and terrifying. An amazing piece of work from one of the legendary pioneers of electronic music."

Pauline Oliveros "Mnemonics III"(1965) - early example of electronics recorded live in studio with tape delay/manipulation: "When the San Francisco Tape Music Center was established together with Ramon Sender and Morton Subotnik there was a pool of equipment to use and I began to work with electronic sound. Rather than cut and splice small pieces of tape together to make a composition I chose to work in real time. I used two tape machines with the tape running across both machines to make a delay system. I used two or more oscillators at high frequencies to produce difference tones. These tones would also interact with the bias frequencies of the tape recorders. I would play the oscillators into the tape recorders improvising my way through the piece. My system of composing in this manner was my own invention." Pauline Oliveros

Ilhan Mimaroglu "Agony" (1965) - tape studio music using only synthesized noise sounds as source material: "Like the majority of Mimaroglu's compositions in the tape music medium, Agony reflects an attitude toward the false issue of electronic music vs. music concrete. On the occasion of its first performance on November 10, 1965, in the course of a broadcast on Turkish contemporary music over WBAI in NYC, the composer made the following comment: "the sound sources here are purely electronic, although the piece might give the impression of my having used natural sounds as well, or that its imagery calls for associations with definite or indefinite concrete objects. The extent of the transformation the medium can bring into whatever one selects as sound source is sufficient to make fanatical adherence to one or the other sound source category esthetically futile."

David Behrman "Wave Train" (1966) - Loose form piano feedback work from 1966. "'Wave Train', a powerful feedback piece, marks the radical moment when Behrman threw away established techniques.... an otherworldy feedback-driven tapestry of drone performed live with Gordon Mumma."

Alvin Lucier "I Am Sitting In A Room" (1969) - "The piece features Lucier recording himself narrating a text, and then playing the tape recording back into the room, re-recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded, and this process is repeated. Since all rooms have characteristic resonance or formant frequencies (e.g. different between a large hall and a small room), the effect is that certain frequencies are emphasized as they resonate in the room, until eventually the words become unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of the room itself." Try this in any room, it's absolutely amazing

Suzanne Ciani "Paris 1971" - "With a sonic portfolio that boasts commissions for the Xenon classic pinball machine, the sounds for the Meco Star Wars theme, the Atari TV commercials and the electronic sound effects in the original Stepford Wives film (amongst many others) the mutant electronic music CV of Suzanne Ciani is proof that in a 1970s commercial world of boys toys, monopolised by a male dominated media industry, a woman’s touch was the essential secret ingredient to successful sonic seduction. A classically trained musician with an MA in music composition this American Italian pianist was first introduced to the synthesizer via her connections in the art world when abstract Sculptor and collaborator Harold Paris introduced Suzanne to synthesizer designer Don Buchla who created the instrument that would come to define Ciani’s synthetic sound (The Buchla Synthesiser). Cutting her teeth providing self-initiated electronic music projects for art galleries, experimental film directors, pop record producers and proto-video nasties Suzanne soon located to New York where she quickly became the first point of call for electronic music services in both the underground experimental fields and the commercial advertising worlds alike. "

David Tudor "Rainforest IV" (1973) - various resonant objects have speaker drivers and contact mics attached to them. The speakers are fed sounds that is tailored to activate the particular attributes of the object, and the contact mics fed the sound to distant speakers. The result is a sort of rainforest, where you hear the objects you are near with a rich background ambience. I was able to take part in one of these in 2001 at CalArts.

Luc Ferrari - Éphémère I "L'Ordinateur Ça Sert À Quoi?" (1974) - "Luc Ferrari was tempted in the mid-1970s by the idea of leaving the final realization of these pieces open to the performer's intervention (a perspective he decided not to develop in future researches). "Exercises d'Improvisation," a score conceived in 1977 and unreleased for almost 35 years, directly comes from the two works presented here. Éphémère I' (or "L'ordinateur ça sert à quoin?" i.e. "What's the use of computers") is a 27-minute piece for tape only, created in 1974, conceived as a kind of electronic drone superimposed by fragments of multi-language whispered voices that creates the thrilling effect of a sea-like continuum. "Éphémère II" (or "Lyon 75" after the only recorded realization) is a 51-minute tape piece with guitar improvisation. The electronic repetitive structure reminds of some of the most radical works of American composer Terry Riley, while the guitar sounds, first resulting as live manipulated pointillistic impulses, develop into a blues sonority, superimposing the tape drone and creating a heavy psychedelic atmosphere of the most sublime kind. The end of this long suite leads us back into more abstract and live electronic sonorities. This very intense work can be placed in a context between scored music and totally improvised music. "

Bernard Parmegiani: De Natura Sonorum (1975) - "Parmegiani's masterpiece remains his 1975 work De Natura Sonorum. It took a rigorous, almost scientific approach to sound, associating, in 12 brief movements, different instrumental, electronic and concrete sounds. A simple enough exercise on the face of it, yet in Parmegiani's hands, it's carefully layered textures took on a magical, musical life of their own. As its title suggests, De Natura Sonorum was an attempt to investigate the nature of sound by opposing natural and artificial sounds, and it marked a turning point in Parmeglanl's approach to sound: "In De Natura Sonorum I distanced myself from the power of sound, from what I call the power of Orpheus. Orpheus charmed the plants and animals With his lyre, and in the pieces I composed prior to De Natura Sonorum I was under the spell of the sounds I created. Sounds that evolved and that I found satisfying and I left it at that. People always used to to compliment me on the beauty of my sounds in my first pieces! But beautiful sounds don't necessarily constitute interesting beautiful or interesting pieces of music. Whereas in De Natura Sonorum I set myself many more constraints: I placed the sounds as you do letters, one after the other, so as to create forms and sequences," he says" (The Wire has an excellent interview)

Takehisa Kosugi "Catch Wave" (1975) - "Composer, multi-instrumentalist and mixed-media artist, Takehisa Kosugi has stood on the forefront of the Japanese avant-garde for over six decades. In the 1960s, he was part of Japan's first improvisational music collective, Group Ongaku, and contributed to Fluxus in New York. In 1969, he founded the influential, experimental ensemble The Taj Mahal Travellers, and in 1975 he would release his first solo album, Catch-Wave.
"Mano-Dharma '74" features improvised violin drones and voice with various oscillators, echo delays and layered tape experiments that the artist made in New York in 1967. While Kosugi's continuously changing spectrum of sound shifts gradually (almost imperceptibly), photocell synthesizers create ultra-low frequencies to disturb the crestless sound waves. The brighter the light is, the harsher the noise becomes.
Catch-Wave's second sidelong piece, "Wave Code #E-1," is a three-part performance for solo vocalist. As Kosugi describes in the liner notes (translated into English for this edition), the concept of onomatopoeia played an essential role in the type of sounds he generates with his voice, manipulated through customized electronic circuits and at times recalling Gregorian chant, throat singing and cosmic soundscapes."

David Tudor "Pulsers" from 3 works for live electronics (1976) - "Pulsers is a David Tudor piece from the mid-'80s. He controlled a bank of oscillators which fed into analogue synths to create rhythmic lines. Some of the voices sound like drumsticks, some like insects, some like plumbing, but they all sound completely alive and organic. It's all down to the way that Tudor's oscillators interfere with each other, creating waves and troughs of rhythmic possibilities throughout the piece, and it's all done at enough remove that he's not entirely in control of his own creation. It's like Reich's Clapping Music crossed with an giant tangle of thread. To give some relief from the atonality, the piece also includes the heavily doctored violin of Takehisa Kosugi, who joins Tudor via tape." (CyberInsekt)

Alvin Lucier "Music on a Long Thin Wire" (1977) - "Music on a Long Thin Wire is constructed as follows: the wire is extended across a large room, clamped to tables at both ends. The ends of the wire are connected to the loudspeaker terminals of a power amplifier placed under one of the tables. A sine wave oscillator is connected to the amplifier. A magnet straddles the wire at one end. Wooden bridges are inserted under the wire at both ends to which contact microphones are embedded, routed to a stereo sound system. The microphones pick up the vibrations that the wire imparts to the bridges and are sent through the playback system. By varying the frequency and loudness of the oscillator, a rich variety of slides, frequency shifts, audible beats and other sonic phenomena may be produced."

David Tudor "Microphone" (1978) - "This work is an exploration of space and sound through feedback; the album features two long tracks -- "Mix A" and "Mix B" -- and both appear to involve spare sounds in space, filtered through additional electronics, often with the effect of a microphone feeding back, then suddenly halted. Tudor manipulates the sounds enough to pull out some compelling waveforms, especially on "Mix B" -- and the album offers up a much darker side of his music than one might expect from the early years. Recorded at Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California."

Eliane Radigue "L'Île Re-Sonante" (2000) - "In 2006 the Paris recording label shiiin released a CD recording of L’île re-sonante, a 55-minute composition by French electronic music pioneer Eliane Radigue, a student of electroacoustic composers Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer in the 1950s. L’île resonante features the instrument Radigue has worked with since the early 1970’s, the ARP 2500 modular synthesizer and her medium of choice, analog multitrack tape. The piece is characteristic of her work in that it is a tapestry of long, gradually evolving drones created with oscillators on the ARP synthesizer and with tape loops. According to Daniel Caux’s liner notes, “For L’ile re-sonante, Eliane Radigue drew her inspiration from an image: an island in the waters of a lake that reflect her face. It is both a ‘real’ image and an optical illusion”." She received the Golden Nica Award at the festival Ars Electronica in 2006 for the work.

Crass (1979) "Reality Asylum" - 'Crass were a British English art collective and punk rock band formed in Epping, Essex, England in 1977 who promoted anarchism as a political ideology, a way of life and a resistance movement. Crass popularised the anarcho-punk movement of the punk subculture, advocating direct action, animal rights, feminism, anti-fascism, and environmentalism. The band used and advocated a DIY ethic approach to its albums, sound collages, leaflets, and films. Crass' first release was The Feeding of the 5000 (an 18-track, 12" 45 rpm EP on the Small Wonder label) in 1978. Workers at the record-pressing plant refused to handle it due to the allegedly blasphemous content of the song "Asylum", and the record was released without it. In its place were two minutes of silence, entitled "The Sound of Free Speech"... A re-recorded, extended version of "Asylum", renamed "Reality Asylum", was shortly afterwards released on Crass Records as a 7" single and Crass were investigated by the police due to the song's lyrics. The band were interviewed at their Dial House home by Scotland Yard's vice squad, and threatened with prosecution; however, the case was dropped... A year later Crass Records released new pressings of "The Feeding of the 5000" (subtitled "The Second Sitting"), restoring the original version of "Asylum".' (Wikipedia) (the first drone music I ever heard)
Musique concrete 7" single:

Crass (1979) "Reality Asylum" drone extended technique LP version:

Laurie Spiegel "Voices Within" (1979) - "Electrocomp with classic tape techniques and Echoplex (a tape-delay device of the 1970s). Possibly my only musically successful microtonal piece, "Voices Within" came together over several months of sustained and arduous work during which I synthesized and recorded the individual sounds and fit them together. Much hand-splicing and tape overdubbing was involved in achieving the harmonic and melodic content. Much intuitive soul searching produced the overall form and content.
The following are my liners notes from the 1982 Capriccio Records release of the piece: "'Voices Within: A Requiem' was composed throughout the winter of 1978-1979, by old-fashioned analog means, with lots of splicing and overdubbing, using 1969 Electrocomp 100 and 200 synthesizers. In order to warm the sawtooth and square waves toward greater vocalness, I used tape flutter and overmodulation at certain stages to make the oscillator tones sound more vocal and an Echoplex (and see here) to thicken and distort the EML 200's sound to make the textures. There are no actual voices in this piece. I had been working with various kinds of material which all related to a quality of feeling that endured in that winter, and at a certain point, these various materials began coming together into this single work."

Maryanne Amacher "Living sound" (1980): "I produced my first large scale multichannel installation/performance in the MUSIC FOR SOUND-JOINED ROOMS Series, Living Sound, Patent Pending (Traveling Musicians Being Prepared) for the Walker Arts Center, during the New Music America Festival, Minneapolis-St. Paul (June 7-14 1980). The music and visual sets were staged architecturally, throughout the nearly empty Victorian house of the conductor Dennis Russell Davies and filmaker, Molly Davies. The visual elements gave clues to a story discovered in the different rooms, and in the outside garden. The house, on a hill in St. Paul with its panoramic view of Minneapolis, was lit by tall quartz spots, as if a movie set. The time: midnight. Davies’ music room, where two grand pianos had been, was now an “emergent music laboratory,” where 21 petri dishes with “something” growing in them (the musicians and instruments of the future) were placed beside metal instrument cases marked Fragile: “traveling musicians being prepared” and “the molecular orchestra”; TV story boards refering to “symbiotic aids,” biochemical companions tailored to enhance neurophonic recognition; “making new scores.” DNA photos and biochemical diagrams were placed on music stands. Meanwhile, the entire house was full of sound, circulating throughout the rooms, out the doors and windows, down the hill, past sedate Victorian mansions. I was thrilled to discover that the law to patent life forms (the Diamond V. Chakrabarty decision) followed a few days later. As the possibilities of biocomputers and emerging media approach, perhaps this work was not as much fantasy as it may have seemed at the time." Maryanne Amacher

Ellen Fullman "The Long String Instrument" (1985) - Ellen Fullman has been developing her installation, the Long String Instrument, for over 30 years; exploring the acoustics of large resonant spaces with her compositions and collaborative improvisations. The enveloping nature of the rich acoustic tones produced by The Long String Instrument evokes a sensation of being inside of a musical instrument. She just received a Guggenheim Fellowship!

Organum "Renunciate" (1988) - Organum was founded in the late 1970s by the enigmatic and idiomatic David Jackman

Organum "Untitled (2)" (1999)

Nurse With Wound "Soliloquy for Lilith" (1988) - Nurse With Wound was formed in 1978 by Stapleton, John Fothergill, and Heman Pathak.[1][2] The band has performed in many genres such as avant-garde, experimental, industrial, noise, dark ambient, and drone. On "Soliloquy For Lilith", no instruments per se were used on the record; the only sound source was a number of effects units which he had set up to operate in a feedback loop. There was no original input signal being processed, simply the feedback hum generated by plugging the original chain of pedals back into itself. However, when Stapleton went near the pedals he found the sound changed in accordance with his proximity to the various pedals and units. Stapleton told author David Keenan (in the book England's Hidden Reverse) that he had then essentially created the album's compositions by gently moving his fingers above the various units to create the slow, subtle changes in sound, tone and timbre; in later years he has put the album down to an electrical fault of some sort in the studio it was recorded in." (Wikipedia)

Christian Marclay (1989) - "Marclay's work explores connections between sound, noise, photography, video, and film. A pioneer of using gramophone records and turntables as musical instruments to create sound collages, Marclay is, in the words of critic Thom Jurek, perhaps the "unwitting inventor of turntablism." His own use of turntables and records, beginning in the late 1970s, was developed independently of but roughly parallel to hip hop's use of the instrument." (Wikipedia)

Matmos "l.a.s.i.k." from A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure - abstract dance music made with the sounds of surgical procedures

William Basinski "The Disintegration Loops" (2002) - "in the 1980s, he constructed a series of tape loops consisting of processed snatches of music captured from an easy listening station. When going through his archives in 2001, he decided to digitize the decades-old loops to preserve them. He started a loop on his digital recorder and left it running, and when he returned a short while later, he noticed that the tape was gradually crumbling as it played. The fine coating of magnetized metal was slivering off, and the music was decaying slightly with each pass through the spindle. Astonished, Basinski repeated the process with other loops and obtained similar results." (Pitchfork)

Wolf Eyes "Black Vomit" (2004) "Ann Arbor, MI’s Wolf Eyes are at the forefront of a quickly expanding American noise scene. The trio of Nate Young, Aaron Dilloway and John Olson are the epitome of the self-sufficient musical entity. Olson and Dilloway have their own labels (American Tapes and Hanson Records respectively) that have been releasing cassettes, CDRs, 7"s, LPs and just about every other format, often in painfully limited editions, of Wolf Eyes material since Young first used the moniker in 1997. Their existence as a trio dates to 2000. And they’ve since released albums on Bulb (Dread, 2001) and Troubleman Unlimited (Dead Hills, 2002). The music that Wolf Eyes creates is truly terrifying; the soundtrack to street fight that erupts into outright incineration." (Bandcamp)

Aaron Dilloway live at Turn The Screws Fest / Il Corral (aka Bob's house) (2006) - "Aaron Dilloway is an experimental musician born in 1976. He is an improvisor and composer originally from Brighton, Michigan who works with the manipulation of 8-Track tape loops in combination with voice, tape delays and various organic and electronic sound sources. A founding member of the industrial noise group Wolf Eyes (1998 - 2005), Dilloway now resides in Oberlin, OH where he runs Hanson Records and Mailorder." (Wikipedia)

Maria Chavez performance (2011) - Maria Chavez is an improviser, curator and sound artist from Lima, Peru. Her sound installations, visual objects and live turntable performances focus on the values of the accident and its unique, complicated possibilities with sound emitting machinery like the turntable.

Pedestrian Deposit live performance (2019) - "The music of Jonathan Borges and Shannon Kennedy of Pedestrian Deposit could best be described as highly composed, focused and dynamic, experimental music that draws on their widely varying music talents. From Borges’s interest in such areas as electronics, tape loops, sampling, field recording, and feedback, to Shannon’s use of classical instruments, contact mics and manipulated metal objects, the duo combine elements of musique concrete, ambient, drone, classical and harsh noise.
Jon Borges began Pedestrian Deposit in the Winter of 2000, with the concept of combining layers of electronic sound with no pre-determined relation to one another until mixed. The project slowly evolved to incorporate elements of harsh noise, tape collage, field recordings and glitch music, resulting in a prolific few years of rich and dynamic compositions on such labels as Hospital Productions, Hanson Records and Jon’s own label, Monorail Trespassing, to name a few.
After a few years hiatus, Pedestrian Deposit returned in the fall of 2008 with the addition of multi-instrumentalist and visual artist Shannon Kennedy, and her elements of cello, violin and amplified, bowed and manipulated objects." (DIscogs) ...and amplified suspension apparati...

Victoria Shen: Homemade Speakers (2019) "Victoria Shen is an experimental music performer, sound artist, and instrument-maker native to San Francisco but working out of New England. Shen's sound practice is concerned with the spatiality/physicality of sound and its relationship to the human body. Shen’s music floods its location acting as a form of sculpture. Her music features analog modular synthesizers (Flower Electronics), amplified objects, and other self-built electronics. These instruments are designed to electronically reproduce chaotic systems, systems which are highly sensitive to small changes in their initial parameters. The resulting music eschews conventions in harmony and rhythm in favor of extreme textures and gestural tones."

Lary7 (2019) "Lary 7 minister of audiology: operating in the realm somewhere between science & music performs w/ recycled detritus from yesteryear frankensteined together to create labyrinths to randomly explore in a kind of auditory spelunking where possibilities & limitations are beyond his control."

Lea Bertucci & Amirtha Kidambi (2019) - "The duo of Amirtha Kidambi on vocals and Lea Bertucci on tapes and electronics finds new territory in extending the sonic possibilities of the human voice through electronic manipulation and improvised tactics. Taking a more integrated approach than simply filtering voice through electronic processing, Bertucci manipulates Kidambi’s voice through tactile methods with tape machine including manual speed control by physically touching the reels as Kidambi’s live voice is fed through the machine. Kidambi reacts in turn with a vocal arsenal of timbral techniques, creating a literal visceral feedback loop of noise, processed, and polyphonic voices. Influenced equally by jazz, Carnatic and western classical vocal techniques, the duo takes a thoroughly freely improvised approach."

Nonhorse live at Ende Tymes (2018) - "Nonhorse is a tape manipulation anti brainwashing music project that I've been doing for over a decade. As an existential crutch, nonhorse symbolizes the hollowing out of meaning that occurs with the use and manipulation of language and my desire to combat this by mixing forgotten sonics on broken unpopular deployment systems. A tape recorder is an externalized section of the human nervous system. I make collage music compositions out of my experience of our hyper-mediated world. However, I don’t want my music to be taken over by systems that produce the sounds I seek to sample and re-contextualize. On the contrary, I regard my music as an anti-brainwashing personal cure. Collage remains an important strategy of expression for media based art, but the conventions of collage often simply correspond with the technology used to chop up, juxtapose and organize the sounds. I compose with cassette tapes because they allow for a strong physical connection to composing and performing sample-based music.
As opposed to traditional approaches to the notion of the ‘score’, I consider any group of prerecorded cassette tapes I make to be a potential composition. Some tapes are made in a series to be played together, some are single compositions to pull seconds out of, and some tapes are field-recorded live in moments of inspired attention. Each group of tapes has an intended order that can be confounded or remixed. Any confounding of the score is a physical choice: I have to grab a tape from a box of tapes, or I’ve spilled the tapes out on the floor and have to look for it while keeping time. If I can’t get to a tape in time, then I have to grab another and submit to that decision. The samples are themselves objects. To manipulate them in time, I have to regard their object-ness. To keep them together in a particular order, I must physically organize them and maintain that order. To play them in time, as music, I have to dance a bit. While the tapes need not contain ‘music’ per se; they can be sketches or fragments or jokes or experiments; the playing of the tapes, the collage, is inevitably a musical structure akin to their physical organization."

Howard Stelzer live at Ende Tymes (2017) - "Stelzer's music is assembled out of cassette tapes, tape machines, and a stubborn refusal to admit defeat."

Magnetic Coroner live at Chanticlear Loft (2018) - brutal manipulation of donated cassette tapes

Joseph Hammer "I Love You Please Love Me Too" (2012) - "Joseph Hammer continues his journey into playful yet heavily focused idiot-savant infinite psychedelic inertia. Utilising consumer audio technology and 20th century detritus, Hammer lovingly decodes his passion for mid century sci fi and AM radio station beyond all point of recognition like a snakecharmer. Multi-dimensional audio collage techniques to a free form and completely unorthodox plunderphonic hypnosis. Baked devotionals for tape loop minds.
Joseph Hammer, a sound artist from Los Angeles, has actively created experimental works since 1980 as a member of the LAFMS collective. His practice draws on the complexities of the process of listening and playing, reflecting on the role of the audience versus the performer, and uses music as it influences our notion of time, memory and intimacy as the basis for improvisation and abstraction. "

Francisco López "Hyper-Rainforest" (2014)

Kjostad (2018) - "Ranging from contemplative to pummeling, these place-based recordings were composed with sounds captured in the woods of northern Minnesota along the shores of Kjostad lake. Primal atmospheres create a pedestal for blazoned electronics to be manipulated with colossal menace. This is real noise; containing the beauty of nature almost accidentally, while wearing terror on its sleeve. Micro-density, macro-density, moments thicken the plot while the whole moves stoically and circuitously. Glacial Lake is a refreshing Walden-esque vision of American noise."

dave phillips (2017) - "field recordings made in nature reserves, national parks, non-human habitat. mostly insects, frogs and avians, some mammals, mostly tropical or desert climates. all but 2 recordings are slowed down/time-stretched 60 - 98 %, some are reversed. no electronic sound sources used."

Bob Bellerue "Damned Piano" live at Outskirts Music Series (2019) - this is one of my primary works, making feedback on grand pianos, using small medium and large speakers atop and underneath

Bob Bellerue "Suling Gambuh (rehearsal)" (2019) - this is a short rehearsal demo for amplified bamboo flute - an integration of my past work in Balinese gamelan with feedback systems

...and here is a free album of mine with Marcia Bassett that i can't embed for some reason


Books / Zines:

Nicolas Collins Handmade Electronic Music nicolascollins.com

Curtis Roads Composing Electronic Music Companion Website

G. Lucas Crane Sound Strategies For Contemporary Time Travel Secret Riso Club

Alvin Lucier "Eight Lectures on Experimental Music" Review

Alvin Lucier "Music 109" google books

Make Zine makezine.com

Alex Ross "The Rest Is Noise" therestisnoise.com

Maria Chavez "Of Technique: Chance Procedures on Turntable" goodreads.com

The Kitchen "Between Thought and Sound" exhibition catalog

As Loud As Possible idwalfisher

Encyclopedia of Industrial Music volume 1volume 3

Het Appolohuis artpool (actually a good example of how poorly the internet archives things - very little info online for a space that held hundreds of performances for over 20 years!)

Stanford Music 101 Lesson Plan with links - i stumbled onto it and it has a lot of good references, music examples, and suggestive comments about classroom feedback https://ccrma.stanford.edu/courses/101/


Technical videos and links:  

Crank Sturgeon Contact Mic Tutorial

How to solder good solder skills are often required

Making contact mics instructable
it's hard to solder directly to the piezo material, so get one with wire leads and then replace the wire. cover the piezo with hot glue or anything to protect it

Balanced Audio contact mics instructable
balanced audio theoretically reduces noise in the signal

Hydrophones Soundfly
underwater mics

Buying piezo benders Digikey webpage All Electronics

Field recording mics for phones Movo webpage

Adaptor cables for phone recording Movo webpage

Speaker drivers / tactile transducers Parts Express webpage

Amps Pyle PCA2 Parts Express Amplifier Boards

Bluetooth amp Parts Express webpage

Sensors All Electronics

Solar Cells Digikey



Upcoming streaming shows:

the Amplify Festival has over 50 recordings on their free download bandcamp label, and i'll be contributing an album soon https://amplify2020.bandcamp.com/

Experimental Sound Studio (Chicago) has been putting some amazing concerts together https://ess.org/

i have some work coming out on Doc Monomer TV https://docmonomer.com/monomer-tv

i'm performing "live" on April 25 sometime after 330pm NYC time at APO33's website (based in Nantes, France) http://apo33.org/index.php/en/


My festival Ende Tymes has been postponed indefinitely - i'm hoping for October but am not making any plans anytime soon. Please sign up for my email list on the bottom of the page http://halfnormal.com/endetymes/