12.08.21 – live score for Un Chien Andalou


On August 12th I will perform a live score for Luis Buñuel’s and Salvador Dali’s 1929 silent film Un Chien Andalou in the patio of Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte as part of this years Sommernachtskino. Joining me will be ST Kirchhoff who will accompany Germaine Dulac’s 1927 film The Seashell and The Clergyman (based on a script by Antonin Artaud). If you are interested in surrealist films and noisy/improvised music and happen to be in the Hamburg area, please consider joining us. Tickets are 15,- or 10,- Euros and are available via www.metropoliskino.de starting August 1st.

New Release: Rauschmelder zubehoeren Split Album


Rauschmelder zubehören
was originally planned as a concert performance by Das Synthetische Mischgewebe, David Wallraf, PAAK and The Oval Language during the blurred edges festival at MS Stubnitz (4.6.2021, Hamburg / Germany). Due to the pandemic the event had to be cancelled and we decided to put some new pieces – created for this occasion – on bandcamp as a simulation of the live performances. The interludes are accidental excerpts from radio waves, produced by anonymous people and swirling around the globe (Radio Commune).

The term zubehören is a hybrid combined out of the german words „Zubehör“ (equipment/accessories) and „hören“ (listen).

This virtual concert is part of blurred edges 2021, festival for contemporary music in Hamburg and is supported by the Culture Office of the City of Hamburg.

Get this free album here.

New Release: Use Value


Use Value – limited edition of 10 tapeloops now available.

If you consider buying one of these items, please note that it is not a standard tape. Each of these 10 cassettes contains an individual tapeloop of approx. 5 seconds (or potentially infinite, depending on your perspective) playing time, cut randomly from a mastertape of a 45 minutes noise session. This Non Fungible Tape is of questionable use value and its exchange value is debateable. Here it is set to 7,- Euros per tape and only one per customer.

Online lecture: A Concept of Impurity. Noise and the Acoustic of the Political – 29.04.2021


In this talk I want to argue for a concept of noise that is located between established theories using the term, be they acoustics, information theory or musicology. Noise should be understood as the difference between these conceptions, or as an ‘original impurity’. This will be demonstrated by the difficulty of translating noise to another language. In German it disintegrates into four terms: Lärm (loud or annoying sound, both a concept used in acoustics and a derogatory term in quotidian discourse), Geräusch (the opposite of musical or meaningful sound in musicology and linguistics), Rauschen (as in white noise, touching both on acoustics, physics in general and the concept of noise in information theory) and Störung (both in the sense of signal disturbance in information theory and of annoyance in everyday sonic environments). The noise-concept I am aiming for lies in the betweenness of these terms, an inter that shows itself in metaphors, blurring and a specific noisiness that – to a degree – affects all theories concerned with noise.

The consequences of this idea will be exemplified based by the acoustics of the political: ?what gets framed as noise in the context of political disagreement and what as a clear message How do acoustic and/or musical metaphors affect ideas of the political? In the context of protests, is it possible to draw lines between law, order and authority on one side and violence, chaos and noise on the other? What are the acoustics of the riot and on which side is noise to be found?

Thursday, April 29th, 5-7 pm GMT or 18:00 – 20:00 CET. Accessible via Microsoft Teams.

Grenzen des Hörens – Radio & Review

radio, review

Zu meinem Buch gibt es die ersten Echos: Zum einen ein Gespräch mit Radio Corax aus Halle über Noise im allgemeinen und die Grenzen des Hörens im besonderen, das hier nachzuhören ist.

Zum anderen hat Gerald Fiebig eine umfangreiche Rezension verfasst, die auf satt.org erschienen ist und in der nächsten Ausgabe der Testcard zu finden sein wird. Dieser Text findet sich hier.

Eine Kurzrezension von Kristoffer Cornils ist bei field-notes.berlin erschienen.

Und Martin Mettin hat das Buch in der Jungle World besprochen.

Grenzen des Hörens


((english below))

Wie klingt das Politische? Auf welche Weise werden Macht und Widerstand hörbar? Mit welchen Begriffen lässt sich eine Theorie des Akustischen entwickeln, die diese Kräfteverhältnisse berücksichtigen kann? Grenzen des Hörens widmet sich jenen verdrängten Seiten des Hörbaren, die als Lärm, Rauschen, Geräusche und Störungen vernehmbar werden und die sich mit dem englischen Wort Noise zu einem differenziellen Begriff zusammenfassen lassen. Ausgehend von Noise als einem subkulturellen Genre, das die traditionellen Parameter der Musik dekonstruiert, wird der Begriff bis in Diskurse der Akustik, Thermodynamik und Informationstheorie nachgezeichnet und eine politisch-ästhetische Theorie des Auditiven entworfen. Dabei stützt sich die Arbeit auf die im angloamerikanischen Sprachraum erschienenen Schlüsseltexte zu Noise, deren Kernthesen so erstmals in einer deutschsprachigen Publikation versammelt werden. Der philosophische Ansatz wird in einer Auseinandersetzung mit den Protagonisten des Poststrukturalismus und der kritischen Theorie entwickelt: Spuren von Noise werden in der Dekonstruktion Jacques Derridas, in den Arbeiten von Jean-Luc Nancy, Gilles Deleuzes Differenzphilsophie und der Ästhetischen Theorie Theodor W. Adornos aufgespürt.
Ein zentrales Konzept der Arbeit ist das Auditive Feld des Sozialen, als ein begriffliches Tableau konzipiert, auf dem das Politische hörbar wird und auf dem Sound und Noise in einen Widerstreit treten – nicht als antagonistische Prinzipien, sondern als Bezeichnungen und Zuschreibungen, die ihre Plätze tauschen können und die sich mit Machttechniken und Widerstandskonzepten verknüpfen lassen. Eine kritische Ergänzung zu den Sound Studies, die Geräusche und Lärm als irreduzible Bestandteile des Alltagslebens und der Musik beschreibt und einen Hörraum abseits der glatten Fassaden des Sounddesigns erschliesst.

Mein Buch Grenzen des Hörens. Noise und die Akustik des Politischen ist erhältlich und kann u.a. bei Transcript bestellt werden.

Hier eine überarbeitete Version des dritten Kapitels als radiophonische Vorlesung:

What is the sound of the political? In what ways do power and resistance become audible? What terms can be used to develop a theory of the sonic that can take these power relations into account? Limits of Hearing is dedicated to those repressed sides of the audible that become perceptible as noise – both an acoustic phenomenon and a differential concept. Starting from noise as a subcultural genre that deconstructs the traditional parameters of music, this concept is traced to discourses of acoustics, thermodynamics, and information theory, and a political-aesthetic theory of the auditory is sketched. The work is based on the key texts on noise published in English, whose core theses are gathered together for the first time in a German-language publication. The philosophical approach is developed in an examination of the protagonists of post-structuralism and critical theory: traces of Noise are found in Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction, in the works of Jean-Luc Nancy, Gilles Deleuze’s philosophy of difference, and Theodor W. Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory.

A central concept of the work is the Auditory Field of the Social, conceived as a conceptual tableau on which the political becomes audible and on which sound and noise enter contestation – not as antagonistic principles, but as designations and attributions that can exchange places and be linked to techniques of power and concepts of resistance. A critical complement to Sound Studies, which describes sounds and noise as irreducible components of everyday life and music and opens up a listening space beyond the smooth facades of sound design.

Jugendwerkhof | Genus Inkasso split tape


One of the members of Berlin’s Genus Inkasso approached me to write a review for their new split C30 with Jugendwerkhof, here’s the result:

Harsh Noise has, from the time of its conception, always been the perfect soundtrack for times of crisis. If there is any metaphorical connection to be drawn between social and musical harmony, then Noise is both an aesthetic representation of breakdown and the rupture of aesthetic codes at the same time. Crisis derives from the old Greek krÍnein which can be translated as ‘to disrupt’ or ‘to disconnect’ and this is a central characteristic of Noise: it disrupts the notion that everything is fine, in order or harmonious. When crisis becomes a perpetual mode of social existence like in the personal isolation, health inequity and dawning economic breakdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic then Noise becomes an aggressive mimicry of this misorder. It does not simply imitate the crisis; it reflects on it as its own aesthetically autonomous bitter self. Shitty times require negative music.

Which brings us to this split cassette by Jugendwerkhof and Genus Inkasso, released one year into the pandemic by Berlin’s Low Life High Volume (the first tape by this label that has been around since 2018).

Jugendwerkhof, named after the infamous orphanages of the GDR, starts off this release in a claustrophobic aural space composed from synth jabs, low frequency rumble and distorted screams. It almost makes you think of 80s Power Electronics for a moment, but it aims into a completely different direction. Over its 15-minute duration Gnadenverheerer (approximately translatable as ‘Mercy Ravager’) constantly accelerates, tightening its sonic thumbscrews but at the same time gradually dissolves into a splendid mess. The more the notion of a basic rhythm gets overtaken by washes of disorderly noise, the more uplifting the whole thing seems to become (uplifting in the sense that violent Free Jazz can be, but only within the space set by the parameters of the song itself). This progression morphs into a second movement during the final four minutes of the song when it slowly grinds to halt, as if exhausted. The whole thing sounds so dirty and lo-fi that it makes one wonder how it was recorded. It’s this quality of the recording process that contains the chaos in a way, isolating it beneath a threshold of mid-frequency muck that keeps it intimate and distanced at the same time.

On the B-side we have Genus Inkasso, a project active since 2009, with The Dirt, The Quiet, The Peace. This is a different approach to Noise that seems more composed (in every aspect of the word). For the first 30 seconds you get lured into the idea that this could be a slow build up, only to swiftly get bludgeoned by something that is almost Harsh Noise Wall – almost because the static is only temporary, a dissolution of form that gets itself dissolved by aural movements and cuts. This is a texture-driven thing, sort of like 90s Merzbow but grittier and at the same time more contemporary. The unexpected and genre-defying shifts and cuts fuck with your sense of time in a quite enjoyable way (if you enjoy disorientation that is). Towards the end there is even a somehow ambient texture hidden in this asynchronous turmoil, but of course it is more on the gloomy and threatening side of the ambient spectrum.

With this tape you get something that completely fits the atmosphere of early 2021. It is a good time to stock up on Noise-tapes for aforementioned reasons anyways and this split seems like a perfect choice for people who like their musical escapism in a more complicated and challenging way. Challenging in a way that it hardly can be called escapism.

The cassette is available here for 5,- Euros and also as a name-your-price digital download.

New limited edition tape

recording, release

I’m wrapping up this sickening year with a new release. |​|​| || | |​|​| is the second in the ’skull series‘ of tapes, containing two tracks recorded in 2020. On the A-side there’s Black Is The Color Of My True Love’s Hair. The title is taken from Patty Water’s 1965 version of the song. It’s not a cover by any means but listening to her song is highly recommended. The high pitched sounds on this track were generated by plucking human hair attatched to a contact microphone (taken from a very special person with black hair). The B-side contains Year Of The Plague which sums up some of my impressions of the last 12 months. The limited edition of 20 tapes with individual covers and/or a digital download is now available through my bandcamp account.