Archive for the thoughts Category

hearing without sound

Sunday, 03 March 2018

I remember being astounded when I heard as a young person that Beethoven was able to continue composing after he’d lost his hearing. That he was described to be acting as though he could “hear” the music. That doesn’t astound me anymore.
When I am dreaming there is music. It is loud, and everywhere at once, and unlike any music I’ve ever heard, it is an essential part of the dream. When I’m dreaming, my ears are “turned off”, the sounds that occur in physical space – as sound is mostly thought to operate – are not listened to, are not heard.
When I wake up, my ears “turn on” and I can suddenly hear the ambient sounds in my bedroom again. I splash into hearing, I feel like I’ve dropped into a pool filled with sound. I feel the sound similar to suddenly being wet all over.
There are different kinds of hearing. That kind that comes through your ears and is interpreted by your brain. That part of the brain is connected to parts that store memory, and therefore sound can be recalled without actually hearing it with your ears. That’s a different kind of hearing. I can hear the voices of people I know in my head.
Why didn’t I ever record my Grandparents speaking? They had such unique voices.
There’s a place in my mind where music is. I can imagine it, disc-like, branching outward, capable of vastly changing its size and shape.
Do you ever try to make a map of your mind? How do you find your way around in there?
The place where sound and memory connect in my brain, it delivers non-stop earworms. I used to be plagued with them. I accept it now, it’s necessary. I used to hear music that I did not want to hear, some pop song I recognize but do not like: my brain would play back a loop of it for days. Now it plays its own music. I guess it’s my music. It’s music I don’t recognize, there it is… I can hear it now. It’s just there, twisting and squirming and changing all the time. It’s not as loud when I am awake as it is when I am asleep and dreaming, but I can hear it.
I can understand people claiming that music comes from some other place, or is given to us by some spiritual being. I don’t believe that, not even a little bit. But I can understand people interpreting it that way.
Sometimes when I hear a piece of music – like Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, or Autechre’s Oversteps – I think to myself that this composer has gotten very close, very “close to it”. I don’t know what “it” is, but I know that certain pieces of music are closer to “it” than others.
Sometimes I listen to my own music from long ago and realize that I was close to “it” back then. I sometimes I doubt myself, and think that music before I had certain epiphanies was lesser than the music I make now. It turns out that maybe my understanding of what I do doesn’t track directly with the work. That’s a disconcerting thought.
If there’s a way to develop this musical part of my brain that constantly sprays out music that I’ve never heard before, music that only I can hear now, that no one will ever hear unless I do the work and make it into music that others can hear… then I must devote myself to building up that part of my brain. Building it up like a bodybuilder working a muscle group.

Eclipse Sound

Tuesday, 08 August 2017

The total solar eclipse was easily the most spectacular, astounding thing I have ever seen.

Totality was so searingly beautiful it seems like it should have made a sound. A chirping, sizzling, Earth-shaking blast-buzz. A massed chorus of uncountable drifting frequencies, the most exhilarating avant-garde shit you’ve never heard.

… so anyways, here’s what the eclipse actually sounded like for us:

A few minutes before, during and after the total solar eclipse, recorded at Camp Wyoba on Casper Mountain, outside of Casper, Wyoming.
We had an entire mountain meadow almost entirely to ourselves, most of the people in camp were gathered together in a larger meadow about a quarter mile away, but it’s mostly their sound you can hear. I don’t need to point out when totality begins and ends in the recording, because it’s really obvious.

Present in our group were Carrie Hodges, her brother Alec, and myself (C. Reider).

The photo was taken by Carrie Hodges.

“I’m just imagining this wave of screams passing across the entire United States”



Sunday, 01 January 2017

I will oppose the flagged regiments of order
I will be the embodiment of entropy
Where there is harmony, I will be a sour note
Where there is regularity, I will gleefully pulse offtime
Where there is smoothness, I will be rough
Where it is rough, I will be smooth

Interview on Process

Monday, 02 February 2016

In this interview just published by Perfect Sound Forever, Daniel Barbiero and I converse about the “Tape Loops” and “Not Subliminal” releases and some of the process and other attendant issues that come with a contemplative sound practice.

A Conversation about Process, Being with Sound, and the Pleasure of Surprise

On artistic supercession

Thursday, 07 July 2015

On Tuesday, July 28, I gave a lecture on Aesthetics and Cultural Bias to a Cultural Anthropology class being taught by a friend of mine at the local community college. I decided against publishing the full lecture, as it is kind of an amateurish work on the whole. To give a synopsis: it calls out cultural pre-conceptions about art as having a white male bias, discusses aesthetics from a perspective hostile to dualism (Kant / Hegel), criticizes Capitalism as a dominant force in culture, discusses objecthood and fuzziness in terms of framing & the White Cube, discusses aesthetic arrest & the illusion of separation… all in the course of an hour. Yeesh. TOO MANIC. You shouldn’t wonder why I don’t want to share it.

At any rate, I finished the talk with a discussion of the Restoration of Ecce Homo by Cecilia Gimenez. In case you don’t recall, it looks a little something like this:

The talk pointed out the ethnocentrism inherent in the wide, public response to the work, seen in news reports and funny internet memes. One of the questions in the discussion led to some further thoughts, which I do think might be worth consideration (maybe because this is less scatterbrained than the whole lecture??)

This was sent as an email to the professors in charge of this class on the evening of July 30.

I’ve had some further thoughts on the discussion in class that followed my lecture on aesthetics and cultural bias. I was impressed that the discussion brought out a good deal of the complexity of the issues surrounding the restoration of Ecce Homo by Cecilia Gimenez. My prepared remarks covered primarily the implications of the judgments of whether the piece was “good” (a moral judgment) or not from a standpoint of whether or not it met cultural ideals of beauty, and also the fascinating phenomenon of the public shaming of Gimenez for not meeting those ideals (ideals which, I pointed out, are arbitrary and are used by the elite to exert influence over culture.)

The discussion, however, raised another very important aspect, and that is the act of superceding the previously existing artwork, and how one is to view that act from an ethical or even moral stance. Supercession, in art, results in a complete or near complete erasing of the previously existing work, as opposed to an appropriation wherein a previously existing work is incorporated into a new one and, in the process, given a new context, (an artistic tactic that is made easier and therefore more common in the recent age of mechanical reproduction.)

Supercession is another form of transformation in art, albeit a very severe one. Art has a long history of this, taking many guises. These supercessions can be interpreted as benevolent such as the friendly erasing of a De Kooning drawing by Robert Rauschenberg,
or malevolent, as in the case of the Taliban or Isis destroying historically significant artworks and monuments,
or ambiguous as in the non-consensual (usually due to the original artist’s death) erasing of previously existing frescos and murals (a practice which is most certainly not isolated to the case of Ms. Gimenez’ restoration – in fact much has been learned, both artistically and anthropologically, by X-Ray analyses of previously existing frescos that changed radically in form over the centuries, like peeling back layers of previously laid wallpaper in an old house.) I might even describe street art / graffiti as a kind of supercession: a safely ambiguous space, free of meaning, is superceded by filling the space with imagery that often aggressively demands a response. These street murals are quickly superceded again and again by new works. This is certainly rebellious, and a “loss of control” as I pointed out in my lecture, but is it “bad”?

How one may interpret artistic supercession as “good” or “bad” on a moral or ethical scale depends a great deal on one’s views about ownership (to possess an object) and legacy (the perceived ability to have one’s memory endure in perpetuity, to gain “eternal life”). As a budding Marxist who has been enculturated into and currently operates in this hyper-Capitalist society, I can say my opinion is, at best, mixed. Intellectually, I understand that one can never truly own something, and that every remark and action is ultimately forgotten, and every object returns to dust… but emotionally I do still feel a stir at imagining my own work destroyed by someone.

On the other hand, (intellectually again) I think that the pursuit of legacy is ultimately ego driven, and may even be an expression of territorialism. In my view, any moral or ethical consideration must heavily weigh the context. The context in Gimenez’ case is complex and muddled by the fact that much of what we know about the case comes from reactions after the fact of public shaming, when one can assume that people’s attitudes have been reformed in the flames of ridicule. I would certainly like to know what the church community thought about the work before the internet-empowered public found out about it, that seems to be one key missing piece of information in making any kind of moral or ethical determination. At this time all we really know about it is that her intentions were not malicious, they were in keeping with the values of that community. Given that and the history of remaking religious artworks to update them when old symbology no longer is appropriate, I would be inclined to issue a judgment of “good”, while still acknowledging that I am not really a member of that community and so it is not for me to make that judgment.

Conversation about 4’33”

Saturday, 07 July 2015

Who comes up with these sounds, I wonder?

Saturday, 02 February 2015

The second feature was a fairly normal sex flick, which meant it was even more boring than the first. It had lots of oral sex scenes, and every time they started doing fellatio or cunnilingus or sixty-nine the soundtrack would fill the theater with loud sucking or slurping sound effects. Listening to them, I felt strangely moved to think that I was living out my life on this odd planet of ours. “Who comes up with these sounds, I wonder,” I said to Midori. “I think they’re great!” she said. There was also a sound for a penis moving back and forth in a vagina. I had never realized that such sounds even existed. The man was into a lot of heavy breathing.

– Haruki Murakami – “Norwegian Wood”

Encouraging Feedback on Audio Works

Sunday, 08 August 2014

Last week, I participated in a really interesting conversation with a number of friends & strangers on Twitter. The topics include feedback, the idea of value in free work, and the participatory role of the audience in the act of listening. A few very good suggestions came up that warrant thought by anyone interested in artist feedback.
This conversation is particularly notable because it is a positive exchange between the netlabel and the podfic communities. I’ve long felt that these two communities have a lot of similar goals and concerns, and have potential for creatively productive crossover.

Big thanks to @parakapodfic for getting this conversation up on Storify!


Sunday, 09 September 2013

There’s a small, disconcerting shock that I experience when when I suddenly remember to be present and listen. It’s as though there is an unfolding, and opening of the world surrounding me and I step into it. It’s something like stepping out and the sun is too bright for my eyes, there’s a shock to my senses. Starting to listen is like stepping outside.

Why do you share?

Saturday, 04 April 2013

The question that lingers from my sessions with Jennie Kiessling: Why do you share your work?
Why do you make it? Why do you share it?
I wonder about it. It seems a compulsion, but without reason? I doubt it.

This section from Thomas Bey William Bailey’s book “Unofficial Release”, quoting David Tibet (whose work I feel very ‘meh’ about) rings true, it resonates to a surprising degree.

Steven [Stapleton] and I always thought [the recordings] would be sent into the wilderness, as no one would care. Apparently people do, either by loving what we have done, or hating it. I do it because I am driven to do it. I [also] translate Coptic because I am driven to do it.

Tibet then admits that small-scale approval is not unwelcome, but he firmly rejects that approval (or rejection) of any kind is an influencing factor:

I have met many friends through what I have done. And friends always help us in our self-inquiry. I am interested in what people who know me think of my work, but only inasmuch as I am also interested in what they think of my new cat. Finally the work is ONLY for me. If those who know me make comments on it, I reflect on them deeply; but they don’t affect what I would have done. If fans like my work, I am happy. If they don’t, I am equally happy,

  • News and info about Vuzh Music artists and friends, written by C. Reider
  • Base

  • Elsewhere

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Recent Tweets

    • No tweets available at the moment.

    Follow Me on Twitter

    Powered by Tools for Twitter