EDPx3750 / EDPx4750
SOUND CULTURES explores some of the cultures of artists, producers, and listeners that have formed around sound technologies. The class combines reading of critical texts and guided listenings to study several genres of music, sound art and noise, ranging from post-WWII electronic music, field recordings and sound art, to hip-hop, dub, techno, jam bands, and more. Interdisciplinary in critical approach, this class encourages students to listen to these sonic forms as intersections of technological, social, ideological, and imaginative forces. For output, students will produce written media on a variety of sound-related issues, artifacts, and practitioners, culminating in a podcast or interactive publication. Undergraduate Prerequisite: EDPX 2200 and EDPX 2400, or permission of the instructor. Graduate Prerequisite: EDPX 4010 and EDPX 4020, or permission of the instructor. Lab fee. (4.000 Credit hours)
This class fulfills an EDP cultures requirement.
Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music, eds. Christoph Cox & Daniel Warner (Continuum 2006)
Timothy Taylor, Strange Sounds: Music, Technology and Culture ( Routledge 2001)
Additional Text for Grad Students
Choose one from the recommended list for additional discussion
Video Playlist view by 01-10-2013
"Stockhausen vs. the Technocrats" (plus Björk!)
total time: 1hr 10min
Readings read by 01-10-2013
1. Karlheinz Stockhausen, "Advice To Clever Children..."
2. Björk Meets Karlneinz Stockhausen
Audio Materials listen by 01-10-2013
The selections may be found in the "Session01" folder in class or in this YouTube playlist.
Aphex Twin, I Care Because You Do 
Track 01 Acrid Avid Jam Shred
Track 05 Ventolin (Video Version)
Track 10 Alberto Balsalm
Björk, Post 
Track 02 Hyper-Ballad
Track 05 Enjoy
Track 11 Headphones
Daniel Pemberton, Bedroom 
Track 01 Phoenix
Track 02 Basement
Track 10 Voices
PLSTKMN, Sheet One 
Track 01 Drp
Track 02 Plasticity
Track 06 Glob
Scanner, Sulphur 
Track 03 Through Seven Doors
Track 05 Flaneur Electronique
Track 06 Brittle
Also, you might enjoy this Hymnen Web Project by Oshin Saginian.
Readings read by 01-15-2013
Audio Culture II: Modes of Listening
Ch. 14: Pierre Schaeffer, "Acousmatics"
Ch. 15: Francisco Lopez, "Profound Listening and Environmental Sound Matter"
Ch. 17: Brian Eno, "Ambient Music"
Ch. 18: Iain Chambers, "The Aural Walk"
Ch. 19: Pauline Oliveros, "Some Sound Observations"
Audio Materials listen by 01-15-2013
These selections may be found in the "Session02" folder.
Pierre Schaeffer, études e bruits 
Track 01 Etude aux Chemins de Fer
Track 02 Etude aux Tourniquets
Track 03 Etude Violette
Track 04 Etude Noire
Discreet Music 
Track 01 Discreet Music
Ambient 1: Music For Airports 
Track 01 "1-1"
Track 04 "2-2"
Ambient 4: On Land 
Track 01 Lizard Point
Track 05 Lantern Marsh
A Sound Map of the Hudson River 
Track 02 Feldspar Broom, Mt. Marcy - The Highest Tributary
Track 08 Confluence of Patterson Brook and The Hudson River
A Sound Map of the Danube 
Track 04 Passau to Jochenstein Dam
Hildegard Westerkamp, Into India 
Track 02 Into the Labirinth
Deep Listening Band, The Ready Made Boomerang 
Track 01 Balloon Payment
Track 06 CCCC (Cistern Chapel Chance Chants)
Listening Journal Exercise check in 01-15-2013 / completed by 01-17-2013
1) Pick one selection from the session02 folder, choosing at least 5 minutes of material. If excerpted from a longer piece, note start and end time and always listen to the same selection. You may also choose to listen to multiple shorter pieces, as long as you listen to the same sequence each day. Finally, you may listen to selections longer than 5 minutes as long as you listen to the same length of material each day. You should listen to your chosen material for 5-7 days.
2) Run through Schaeffer's descriptions under "The Acousmatic Field" (Audio Culture pg. 78):
a. "Pure Listening": this means that you are listening to a recorded object played back over a speaker (e.g., loudspeaker, headphones). For our purposes, it also means that you are concentrating on listening, not multitasking (including not writing while listening). For our exercise, you commit to "pure listening" to your sound selection at least once daily.
b. "Listening to Effects": this refers to the act of repeated listenings to the same sound selection, noting the ways in which your perception of the sound changes as you become more accustomed to it, hear new things or aspects of the sound upon different listenings. For our exercise, you should commit to listening to your selection at least twice by recreating the same playback conditions (e.g., same place, same volume, same speaker set-up, such as over stereo speakers or through headphones)
c. "Variations in Listening": this refers more to the acts of focus or attention that you bring to the listening exercise. The "subjectivity" that Schaeffer describes reflects on yourself as listener. For our exercise, it might include your choice to listen for particular types or aspects of sound (e.g., listening for very quiet sounds, or listening for sounds that rise in pitch).
d. "Variations in the Signal": this refers to ways in which you change how the sound object plays back. For our current exercise, stick to the following options: changing speaker set-up (listen over stereo speakers, listen over headphones, change your position relative to the speakers, near or far); change the volume (compare listening to the sound object played very loud, then very quietly); balance (play the sound object over only one speaker); tone equalization (adjust treble, mid-range, and/or bass settings). Let's reserve more radical operations (applying effects like reverb or echo; playing the sound object backwards; or cutting up and resequencing) for later exercises.
3) Keep a daily sound journal of listening responses to your selected sound object; the following format may be helpful, both to note the same and differing conditions of the experiment, and to note your reactions:
a. Title of sound object and length (if selected from part of a longer file, note start and end times).
b. Playback conditions (e.g., portable MP3 player, volume set at 75%, played over headphones).
c. Variations in Listening (list any subjective focus or directions you give yourself before a listening exercise).
d. Variations in the Signal (list any single or combined changes you make to how the sound is played back).
e. Describe the resulting listening exercise in ways that refrain from source identification and metaphor, taking into consideration variations in listening and in signal.
f. Additional notes or observations.
DUE DATE: We will check in with each other's sound journals on Tuesday, Jan. 15, during class. You should type up your journal entries plus one page of final observations and turn this in by class time, Thursday, Jan 17.
Readings read by 01-17-2013
"Iara Lee's World Beat" by Michelle Goldberg
MetroActive Movies, from the August 10-23, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan
Video Screening view on 01-17-2013
Modulations: Cinema for the Ear (1998) by Iara Lee
total time: 74 minutes
Readings read by 01-22-2013
Strange Sounds I: Theory (Ch. 1-2)
Audio Cultures III: Music in the Age of Electronic (Re)production
Ch. 23 John Oswald, "Bettered by the Borrower: The Ethics of Musical Debt"
Ch. 24 Chris Cutler, "Plunderphonia"
Audio Materials listen by 01-22-2013
These selections may be found in the "Session04" folder.
John Cage, "Williams Mix" (1952)
John Cage, "Imaginary Landscapes No. 4" (1951)
WFMU, "New York, NY Radio: The Night John Lennon Died"
William S. Burroughs, "Present Time Exercises" (1971)
James Tenney, "Collage #1 (Blue Suede)" (1961)
John Oswald. 69 Plunderphonics 96 (1988 / 2001)
Track 21 Pretender (Dally Proton)
Track 22 Dont (Vessel Ripley)
Christian Marclay, Records (1997)
Track 02 Jukebox Capriccio
Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Message (1982)
Track 08 The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981)
Strictly Kev, "Raiding the 20th Century: A History of the Cut-Up" (2004)
DJ Food, "Raiding the 20th Century: Words & Music Expansion" (2005)
Blog Post due by 01-24-2013
Use Chris Cutler's paragraph-long description of John Oswald's "Pretender" on page 139 of Audio Culture as a model for writing about one piece of audio introduced in session 04. As with Cutler's description (and Schaeffer's essay before him), the emphasis should be on language that presents the audio in terms of a sonorous object . That is, closely and accurately describe what you are hearing rather than assess, evaluate, critically analyze, or analogize around the audio. There are two exceptions to this:
1) You are allowed ONE general exception to the limitation given above, such as Cutler's statement in the fifth sentence, where he reflects broadly on his own mental activity while listening (but notice, without providing any details of what he's thinking about).
2) You should conclude with a question pointing to the key mystery or surprise of what you hear, the core of the piece's source of wonder or major point of engagement for you.
Post your one-paragraph entry at the Digital Sound Cultures blog by classtime (4pm), Thursday, 01-24-2013.
Technicians of Space lecture / presentation on 01-24-2013
1: Sonic Science Fiction
Throughout the history of the science fiction film, the soundtrack plots a unique trajectory from ordinary consciousness to unusual, altered states. Considering works ranging from Rocketship X-M (1950) and The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) to Blade Runner (1982) and Wall-E (2008), I present science fiction cinema in terms of the developments and transformations of consciousness from alienated, mythic, archetypal and psychotechnological states on toward the plateaus and peaks of complex cosmic and oceanic modes of consciousness.
Readings read by 01-29-2013
Strange Sounds II: Time (Ch. 3-5)
Audio Materials listen by 01-29-2013
The two short TOS1_Sonified Science Fiction mixes mash up my own interests in the sound and music of science fiction film soundtracks with Timothy Taylor's interests in space age bachelor pad exotica and spacey ephemera.
The second half of the program does not start automatically, so you will need to do so manually. If the embedded player doesn't show up below or you prefer direct downloads, these may be found here.
Harry Revel & Les Baxter, Music Out of the Moon 
Track 01 Lunar Rhapsody
Track 02 Moon Moods
Track 04 Celestial Nocturne
Louis & Bebe Barron, Forbidden Planet 
Track 01 Main Titles (Overture)
Track 02 Deceleration
Track 03 Once Around Altaire
Track 04 The Landing
Track 14 The Mind Booster / Creation of Matter
Track 19 Battle with the Invisible Monster
Track 21 The Monster Pursues / Morbius Is Overcome
Bobby Christian, Strings for a Space Age 
Track 02 Out of This World
Track 06 How High The Moon
Track 08 Space Suite 2: Count Down / Flight Into Orbit / Empyreon
Russ Garcia, Fantastica: Music from Outer Space 
Track 01 Into Space
Track 04 Monsters of Jupiter
Track 05 Water Creatures of Astra
Track 07 Red Sands of Mars
Perrey-Kinglsey, The In Sound from Way Out! 
Track 02 The Little Man From Mars
Track 03 Cosmic Ballad
Track 11 Computer In Love
Pierre Henry & Michel Colombier, Les Yper Sound 
Track 01 Psyche Rock
Track 04 Teen Tonic
Stereolab, Mars Audiac Quintet 
Track 01 Tree-Dee Melodie
Track 04 Des Étoiles Electroniques
Track 08 Nihilist Assault Group
Track 10 The Stars Our Destination
Track 13 Outer Accelerator
Technicians of Space lecture / presentation on 01-31-2013
2: The German Space Program
This presentation considers parallel inquiries into human biocomputing, cybernetic engineering, and space exploration conducted by the American space program and the German acid rock scene during the early 1970s. Swapping Werner von Braun and Timothy Leary, as it were, I present the Kosmische Musik phenomena as it reflects research and experiments in biocomputing and cyborg studies, the psychedelic sciences, and interspieces communication in the projects of John Lilly and Ed Mitchell.
Assignment due by 4pm Thursday 02-07-2013
Audio Mix: 3-5 minute mix
Undergraduate Essay: 4-5 pages, double-spaced
Graduate Essay: 8-10 pages, double-spaced
NOTE: we will have two hour-long audio mixing workshops as part of class session on Tuesday, Jan. 22 and Tuesday, Jan. 29.
1) Using sound materials provided in class, please create a 3-5 minute audio mix that responds to ideas presented in Timothy Taylor's Strange Sounds and content from the Audio Cultures reader (as described below). Your audio mix should conceptually and practically highlight your discussion by focusing on specific sonic elements (e.g., voice; rhythm; time; repetition; ambience). Incorporate at least SIX audio sources drawn from the “Session 01” through “Session 05” folders. Three audio sources should represent the early generation of sound artists, while the other three should represent work produced since the late 1970s. Your audio mix should cut between, layer and process your primary sources in ways that emphasize the sonic elements on which you focus.
2) Incorporating and responding to our readings and at least FOUR of the SIX audio sources you used in part one above, please write an essay that addresses the following:
a. Pick ONE of Timothy Taylor's primary categories from the second chapter of Strange Sounds :
- music (production; storage/distribution; consumption/use)
- technology/agency (voluntarism; determinism; somnambulism)
- practice (cultural; societal; individual)
Write about the primary category in ways that emphasize one of the sub-sets provided above, briefly comparing that sub-set to one other sub-set (for example, if you focus on the technological agency idea of “determinism,” how does this differ from “voluntarism”?).
b. Relate Taylor 's concept to ONE author/critic that he reads and quotes; indicate Taylor 's position in relation to this author/critic (e.g., agrees or not, revises idea).
c. Relate category to TWO reading selections assigned from Audio Cultures.
d. Relate category to FOUR audio selections used in your Critical Mashup.
You may incorporate discussion of your primary audio sources throughout the entire essay, emphasizing the ONE basic element of sound that you also chose in part one. Rather than write about the works as sonorous objects, you should begin to consider the sound object as it relates historically, artistically, culturally, socially, technically, and so on as it relates to your areas of focus in the mashup and essay.
Undergraduate essays should address sections a, b, c, and d in the order given. Graduate essays should demonstrate their own organization and synthesis of these elements. All students should title the essay test or essay in a way that reflects the connection between your ONE basic element of sound and the ONE category you have selected from Taylor 's book (for example, “Technological Determinism and Repetition in Electronic Music” or "Voluntarism and Space in Ambient Music").
Readings read by 02-12-2013
Audio Culture III: Music in the Age of Electronic (Re)production
Ch. 21: Glenn Gould, "The Prospects of Recording"
Ch. 22: Brian Eno, "The Studio As Compositional Tool"
Audio Cuture VIII: DJ Culture
Ch. 47: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, "Production-Reproduction: Potentialities of the Phonograph"
Ch. 49: Christian Marclay & Yasunao Tone, "Record, CD, Analog, Digital"
Plus Introduction to Podcast Production.
Readings read by 02-14-2013
Audio Culture VIII: DJ Culture
Ch. 50: Paul D. Miller, "Algorithms: Erasures and the Art of Memory"
Ch. 51: David Toop, "Replicant: On Dub"
Technicians of Space lecture / presentation on 02-14-2013
3. Cognitive Dub Science
This presentation zooms in on "memory" as a particularly important, discrete state of consciousness with powerful parallels in the use of magnetic tape in recording, manipulating and composing sound. Listening to diverse works by Brian Eno, Eno and Fripp, Richard Pinhas, Jamaican dub engineers, William Basinski, Boards of Canada, Tricky, DJ Spooky, and Kode9 + the Spaceape. I consider the relationship of the delay effect and sound recording to the phenomena of death, decay, and disintegration. Informed by the works of Jacques Derrida, I suggest a philosophy of electronic voice phenomena that helps us consider how dreadlocked systems produce sonic intelligences, Others otherwise known as ghosts.
Blog Post due by 5pm, Friday, 02-15-2013
Our first review blog entry emphasized descriptions of sonorous objects rather than assessed, analyzed, or analogized around that sonic material. Now it is time to bring some of these other elements into the review's language, balancing descriptions of sonorous objects and production strategies with accounts of some of the historical, formal or genre, and theoretical contexts with which the individual work resonates. We want to explore these resonances as a way of mixing larger complexes of meaning and vibrant networks of association across different sources and sets of material, and we will do so through the exploration of podcasts.
1) Pick one podcast from the list of those provided below.
2) Identify the podcast topic and theme in your own words. What does the podcast have to tell us that is new, focused and exciting about the topic?
3) How does the podcast address issues of “listening” or “hearing”? According to the podcast, what role does technology play in listening or hearing?
4) What theoretical and cultural contexts are being used to present and discuss the theme? Do these contexts go beyond historical and biographical documentary?
5) What specific forms of audio production or phenomenon, specific techniques or styles of production, are demonstrated by the podcast? How does the podcast encourage and support us to listen to, compare and/or contrast specific “sonorous objects”?
6) If this were your podcast, what is one production technique you would want to use in order to more creatively engage the thematic focus?
ABC Radio National: “Hearing Voices” (July 22, 2006)
Tone Generation: “ Programme 20: Electronics and Voice”
Welcome To Mars: “ Programme 6: 1953: Other Tongues, Other Flesh”
Sounding Out!: Sound Studies Blog: http://soundstudiesblog.com
* “Episode #6: Spaces of Listening / The Record Shop”
* “Episode #7: Celebrate World Listening Day with the World Listening Project”
Please post your review to the class blog, along with a link to the podcast you chose, by 5pm, Friday, February 15.
Tues, Feb 19: TOS 3: Cognitive Dub Science [Audio Culture VIII: DJ Culture (Ch. 50 & 51)]
Thur, Feb 21: TOS 5: Space Rituals [Strange Sounds III: Space (Ch. 6-8)]
Tues, Feb 26: Podcast Proposals
Thur, Feb 28: TOS 6: Contemplative Radio
Tues, Mar 5: Podcast Proof workshop, part 1
Thur, Mar 7: Podcast Proof workshop, part 2
Tues, Mar 12: work session
Thur, Mar 14: Final Presentations