May 18, 2009

Dj Spooky

I learned a lot from this assigment, it really opened my eyes to not only what the artist I presented works on, but all of the artists that other people in the class looked at. The research on my artist consisted mostly of reading his book, and website. Spooky was part of a collective in New York called Sound Lab. Sound Lab did many preformances in the city, playing mostly clubs and parks. They would have a mixture of ambient world sounds, combined with jazz and hip hop.

Spooky is mainly a preformer, but he has other projects like recording the sound of ice melting in antartica. I think that this is a wonderful approach to the issue of melting ice caps, instead of trying to make someone agree with your opinion on the subject he is presenting them with evidence of what is going on up there. It is very interesting to me that he is conveying his thoughts in a very different way from everyone else.

He also has a few theories on video editing that I found very interesting. He broke it down simply in the way that one should take the same practices used by dj's to the cinema. Looking for samples and linknig them the same way that you would control music with turntables and mixers, but adding in the video element. Video editing and sound editing is very similar in the fact that you are working with timelines that can be chopped and shortned, or manipulated in anyway.

Dj Sppoky has a lot of information about what he does on the net, and there are many videos out there. There are a few on google and youtube of full lectures that are part of his tour around the country. Here are a few links to some of my favorites. I wonder how much it costs to book him? I think he would be a wonderful addition to the Spark Festival in the Spring.

April 21, 2009

Ray Lee and Sound Art

Ray Lee has a very strong grasp on how powerful sound is and how various swirling tones can create a new physical space along with an embodied experience overall. Not only does he create visual elements as tools to project the sound, but he uses movement to create a sense of environment and allows each viewer a different experience. He concentrated on relationships between multiple sounds; how they bled, create tension or a visual picture.

April 3, 2009

DAN DEACON artist presentation!

So I did my presentation on Dan Deacon. After reading the first part of the book I came away with a weird sense of what sound art was it seemed like none of the artists could agree exactly on a definition. I did get the impression that these sound artists wanted to create a separation from music. Which, I think is fair as to attempt to create a solid definition for sound art as not simply "experimental music" but also naive because if we except music as a valid art form then we have to accept musicians as artists then can combine elements of various art forms or sometimes be more of a musician or sometime be more of a sound artist. Which finally brings me to Dan Deacon who I definitely think is a sound artist as well as a musician. His early conceptual albums dealing specifically with the functionality of sine waves through pedals and it combined effect in different environments is a more of a sound art project than a music. Through his growth his music has become more rhythm based and slowly transformed into slightly a more conventional electronic music. Even now however his approach to live performances is based on audience interaction and his space in relation to the audience. As well as his more dissonant stuff stays intact even in his new album "Bromst" note the combo of "Suprise Stefani" and "Wet Wings". The first is a song were the synth tones flow somewhat uncomfortably into chopped up vocal samples that never really gets comfortable with any rhythm and is a composition that is almost a question that Dan Deacon asks were to go from here placed strategically in the middle of the album. The latter is a solely an eerie vocal track played through a loop pedal that seems to come to terms with the realization of death. Even though it would be naive of me to not first recognize as a composer/musician he constantly thinks conceptually as a sound artist would about his work and how it is written and performed live. This goes along with his early more sound exploration based pieces. As a live performer Dan is a beast, he performs on the floor and demands fan interaction often through making the audience to interact with one another and/or with the environment of the venue. To conclude, his background in sound art/sine wave compositions and continued use of early techniques even in his newest album continue to demonstrate he should be recognized as an sound artist as well as a electronic composer/musician. This is without mention of his involvement in Wham City and its various exhibitions,theater productions, etc.

Here are some awesome links.

Reviews of Bromst:,25513/,0,2957340.story

Here's the complete video of the interview:

Here's part of his "In The Studio" with Pitchfork TV, this shows this crazy midi player piano that was used in "Bromst"

Here's a portion of a Dan Deacon show with some solid audience interaction:

Lastly here is a link to buy tickets for the early show on May 2 at the Triple Rock with his 13 piece ensemble.


April 1, 2009

Bernhard Leitner-Kelsey

"I believe that it is a very important fact that the body be understood as an autonomous acoustic instrument, as an integral acoustic sensorium. The hollow spaces of the body, the bones, the way the sound is transmitted in the body, how it passes through the skin, and how it is transmitted on. In this sense, the point is to open up, to allow sounds and sound motions to penetrate the body, let them resonate in the body. The average person is, I think, paved over in an acoustic, physical sense. He is apprehensive when sound penetrates him, resonates in him, and then vibrates out of him again" Bernhard Leitner.

His website:

Born in Austria 1938. Degree in architecture from Vienna technical University in 1963. From 1969-1978 Bernhard began his experiments on sound space work and early soundscape objects. Since 1987 he is a professor of Media Art at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

The works I presented: Sound Cube, 1971; Sound Chair, 1976; Le Cylindre Sonore, 1987; Headscapes, 2003.

March 31, 2009

Ray Lee Presentation

Download file

Umfeld - Artist Presentation by Joe Kane

Umfeld is an audio/video duo comprised of Jochem Paap and Scott Pagano. They produce works using sites and sounds from specific locations. The two focus on feeding off each others energy and syncing their works together with extreme precision, creating a far more immersive experience.

A terrific biography and description of their work can be found here:

The second page contains a list of all the software and hardware that the artists use.

Their website:

Here you can find clips of their work. Their full length video is also available FREE for download from their site.

Scott Pagano has also produced music videos for This Binary Universe, an audio/video experience created by BT, a world-renown DJ. Those videos can be viewed on Pagano's website:

March 27, 2009

Ben's Sound Artist Presentation - Marc Em

Well I started looking through audiogames for the blind, here are a couple of sites.
But I quickly learned that this was definitely not the finest frontier for the world of audio-centered interactive art. I was reminded of the older video game called Frequency for the ps2, it was such an interesting experience with sound that it made the average audiogame look light years behind.

So branching out from my original topic I came across a French Flash designer/composer named Marc Em.
I really enjoyed the interactive possibilities of Marc Em's work, and I hope to steer my own work in the class more towards the interactive realm. I found that Marc Em's work often attempted to apply a sense of physicality to sounds, with Crash Test and Boxing Trains he really emphasizes the visceral impact of sound. On the blog, sound artist Stephen Vitiello says that the line between sound art and music is that sound art relates to a sense of place; I think that in examples, such as the Webcam "game" on Marc Em's site, this place is the picture of your face where as the interactivity in the other pieces connect the audience and their physical world to the logic of the piece itself. Stephen Vitiello also comments on the open-ended nature of Sound Art, whereas music is a lineaer and strictly timed experience. The interactivity presented by Marc Em really expands music into more of a tangible and malleable experience. I also thought that Marc Em's work becomes interesting in relation to Annea Lockwood's comments on John Cage's weakness, she feels that the goal of sound art is to get one invested in the piece or to "enter the work of art" while John Cage's sequence of sounds become a puzzle to the human ear, that we can't help but think of the sounds as a continuing narrative rather than each as a distinct experience. I feel that Marc Em really embraces this notion of humans connecting dots between sounds and that is what leads him to do a lot of audio work that directly affects a visual component. We become so invested in the piece, due to one's narcissistic energy that comes coupled with any interactivity, that we become connected with the "beauty of the sound" in a more pure state than the supposedly disconnected sounds that John Cage may produce. Why not embrace the human ability to create a sequence and logic out of the sounds we experience? Marc Em's work lets one experience the power and beauty of a sound in relation to the visual world and also in relation to one's real, physical world; each pieces potential is dependent upon the viewer, and the time we spend manipulating it playing with it fuels the connection between our lives and the beauty of the sounds.

March 24, 2009

John Oswald

Download PDF presentation

Oswald Radio Interview
Wikipedia Oswald
Wikipedia Plunderphonics
Burrows Mixer
A Time to Hear for Here
A Bunch of stuff about Oswald

To describe John Oswald's work is to define "Plunderphonics". "Plunderphonics is audio piracy as a compositional prerogative." Basically, Oswald appropriates (plunders) recordings made by others, most often without copywrites, and remixes them to make his statement. The links above highlight his most successful projects.

Oswald was born May 30, 1953 in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. He studied at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia and York University in Toronto under mentors such as R. Murray Schaffer, Barry Truax, Casey Sokol, and James Tenney.

What caught my interest for John Oswald was that he coined his own genre "Plunderphonics" and that his first major album was seized by the government for breaking copyright laws.

Two examples of his work are the Plunderphonics album and Jack O Scan. They are both examples of Oswald's attention to detail. He breaks down rhythms and lyrics to make them convey his own idea, which is a theme in all his work. This work is similar to artists like Christian Marclay and Negativland in they way that they sample music. However, Negativland uses obscure music that few have heard of, while Oswald purposely uses popular, recognizable samples.

Oswald's work is important to me as it breaks down what is old and uses its components to form a representation of a new idea. This is a reoccurring theme that can be utilized in any art medium. Even in architecture, as technology advances, there are standards that have been used for hundreds of years. Some say that there are no new ideas (when it comes to architecture) to be had; there are only old ideas that can be reshaped to fit contemporary circumstances. Oswald is doing that with his music and showing artists that it is ok to use old things and bring them back to life.

March 10, 2009

Drew on John Cage

- Background information about the sound artist.

John Cage (1912-92) was an influential American composer of the 20th century, a pioneer of chance and a primary influence of minimalism within modern western music. His work inadvertently, but fundamentally, dismantled the precepts of western music; he ultimately redefined the titles of composer and sound artist since his work so frequently required both.
Cage was introduced to music when he began taking piano lessons as a child. He initially developed an interest for sight-reading, and opposed studies in the compositional elements of his music. Initially, he intended to become a writer but after dropping out of college, he traveled to Europe where he studied contemporary art. His time there also introduced him to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, which spurred a new interest for composing . After a year and a half of roaming Europe, he returned to America and continued his composition studies under Arnold Schoenberg, notable 20th century composer.

Cage talking about Schoenberg:

"Schoenberg said, 'In order to write music, you must have a feeling for harmony.' I explained to him that I had no feeling for harmony. He then said that I would always encounter an obstacle, that it would be as though I came to a wall through which I could not pass. I said, 'In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall.'"

Cage ended his studies with Schoenberg after two years. He then established himself in Seattle where he began experimenting in composition and electronics.

His personal discovery of Taoism and Zen Buddhism led him to begin using chance in composition, and this method became the cornerstone of his work thereafter.

Cage considered chance as a means to remove expression and identity from his music. Some of his compositional decisions employed the tossing of coins.

This lack of control agitated many of his fellow colleagues and composers and the performers he worked with.

One of Cage’s scores that employs indeterminacy:

- Discuss what attracted you to the work of this artist.

I was introduced to John Cage after reading an article about one of his later works: “As Slow As Possible”
A musical piece written for organ with no set time limits which began posthumously in 2001 and is set to last 639 years. It is currently the longest and slowest performance in musical history to be undertaken.

- Highlight two examples of this artist's work and use these to describe the artist's relationship to ideas.

Most of Cage’s work dealt with his ideas of chance or indeterminacy:
In 1951 He composed and arranged a piece entitled Imaginary Landscape No. 4 which utilized twelve performers with twelve radio receivers. Although he provided specifics instructions of time and space for the performers, he had no control of what signals would the radios would receive.

Cage also constructed works from his notions of sound, music, and silence:
4’33 (1953) is a composition of three movements written without a single note. The performers are to remain inactive for 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

-Describe how these works relate to the artist's larger body of work.

Cage called his music “purposeless play,” and so, appropriately, he focused his creative process in removing meaning from sound.

In this sense, his larger body of work deals more in appreciation of sound rather than music.

4’33 assumes any music from the performers is an interruption to the ambient sounds of the environment and audience in which it is set.

Similarly, Imaginary Landscape No. 4 removes control from the composer, allowing chance to guide the work; there is no predetermined theme, idea, feeling, or destination as there would be in music.

- Relate this artist, via content, process, technology, perspective, etc. to that of another contemporary artist or artists from another time period.

Steve Reich, a contemporary composer--shares a similar rejection of the confines of early western music--a pioneer of minimal music, who became known for tape looping audio tracks of sounds he would catalog, and composing works of repetition often for only one voice, as well as experimentation in electronic sound.

- Discuss how this artist's work informs your own thinking.

I found an affinity in his attitude towards sounds.

Cage perceives music as talking; talking about feelings or ideas connected to relationships. In contrast, when he hears the sound of traffic, he hears sound that is acting not talking.

Cage concerns himself with the activity of sound not its meaning:

“I love sound just the way it is. . . I don’t want a sound to pretend that it’s a bucket, or president, or in love with another sound.”

March 3, 2009

Meng Tang

Meng Tang's presentation - Ed Osborn
Hi everybody,
I'm going to present on Ed Osborn on March 24th.

Raymond Scott

I have chosen Raymond Scott for my artist presentation.

Raymond Scott was a multifaceted sonic innovator and contributor. He was a big band leader and composer. His songs have been featured as the soundtracks to many of the original Looney Tunes cartoons, although he never wrote music with this intention, but was the case after selling a large chunk of his publishing to Warner Brothers in the early 1940's.

My interest in Raymond Scott falls more into his pioneering work with electronics.

"It is not widely known who invented the circuitry concept for the automatic sequential performance of musical pitches-now well known as a "sequencer." I, however, do know who the inventor was, for it was I who first conceived and built the electronic sequencer." - Raymond Scott (from an unaddressed letter, mid-1970's)


Circle Machine



I feel informed by this work in that Raymond Scott built these instruments and used them for his own compositions. In other words, he was not creating with the intention of selling a mass quantity of his inventions, but created individual pieces of equipment he would then use directly in his compositions. He was actually worried about the technology being stolen by others, because it was this technology which he felt gave him an edge in commercial music compositions.

Raymond Scott also developed two of the world's first multitrack tape machines. These could record seven and fourteen parallel tracks on a single reel. This idea of do it yourself from literally the ground up is inspiring, from building sound generating electronics all the way to the recording devices they are captured on.

Some people might want to check out his work entitled Soothing Sounds for Baby Vol. 1-3 who are interested in electronic minimalism and baby development. These three volumes were made for infants to fall asleep to and were released in collaboration with Gesell Institute of Child Development, Inc. Each long play record was intended for a different ages; disc one for 1-6 month olds, disc two for 6-12 month olds, and disc three for 12-18 month olds.

Raymond Scott holds a rather unprecedented place in music history. As a band leader he might be related to Duke Ellington, and it was said that his compositions attracted attention from Igor Stravinsky. As an sound engineer he pioneered mic placement that we had not seen before, and as we know the magnetic tape machine played a huge roll in the recording industry over the years and may still in the future. In his electronic musical instrument innovation he created the first prototypes of what musicians of today use to create electronic music. Raymond Scott may be a good place to start when looking at lines of musical innovations.

March 2, 2009

Jonathan's presentation - Christian Marclay

Hi everybody,
I'm going to present on Christian Marclay on March 10th.

February 24, 2009

Artist Presentation -Drew

I will present John Cage 1912-92, his influences, his development in chance and electronic composition and his usage of instrument, sound, and silence.

February 18, 2009

Sound Art Presentation!

I will be doing my artist presentation on Baltimore sound artist/composer/musician Dan Deacon.

Here is his art collective's website

Here is his website

I will be lecturing on his roots in experimental composition and found sound and his transition into more dance focused, crowd interactive music/song composition.

Also are you sick of looking at old art all the time, want a good blog for contemporary art and crap?


February 17, 2009


I would like to present The Soundlab, a collective from NY.

February 13, 2009

Bernhard Leitner-Kelsey

I would like to present Bernhard Leitner for my artist presentation.

February 11, 2009

Chosen Artist

I would like to do my presentation on Umfeld. Primarily involving Scott Pagano's portion of their work.

February 10, 2009

Presentation Guide

Chose an artist or collaborative group of artist as the focus of your presentation.

Include the following in your Artist Presentation:

- Background information about the sound artist.

- Discuss what attracted you to the work of this artist.

- Highlight two examples of this artist's work and use these to describe the artist's relationship to ideas .

-Describe how these works relate to the artist's larger body of work.

- Relate this artist, via content, process, technology, perspective, etc. to that of another contemporary artist or artists from another time period.

- Discuss how this artist's work informs your own thinking.

>>>>>Following your presentation<<<<<

- enter a post on the blog that includes the information described above

- links to examples of the artist's work

- Statement describing how this artist's work and/or process informs your thinking.