Mar 01 | Noise & Music | Analog Media

Read Before Class


In Class

Bring several 12″ records that you are willing to destroy and remake.

Look in thrift stores like the Salvation Army near Cooper. They have records in the basement.

  • Discuss noise and the way it was rejected and accepted, aestheticized and modified by 20th century artists and composers:
  • Explore the percussive symphonic noise of Edgard Varése, the mimicry of Russolo’s Intonarumori, the actualities of Musique Concrete, and John Cage’s embrace of all sounds as inherently musical.
  • Explore the physicality of phonography and its potential for modification. (DIY record lathes, sonification of other vibratory phenomena…)
  • Break and remake LP records to make fractured aural collages
  • Make cassette or 1/4″ tape loops and experiment with the physicality of linear media.
  • Discuss how limitations can become assets in recording, embracing noise within process


  • Russolo – Intonarumori samples (on ubuweb)
  • Varése – “Ionizations” (alternate version on ubuweb)
  • Schaeffer – “Etude Aux Chemins De Fer” AKA “Railroad Study” (excerpt on youtube)
  • Cage – “Williams Mix” (excerpt on media art net)
  • Cage documentary from “4 American Composers” series
    (dir. Peter Greenaway, available on ubuweb)
  • Christian Marclay mini-documentary and performance on YouTube and article from Frieze Magazine
  • Maria Chavez getting amazing variation from one record and a DJ mixer at End Tymes Festival in 2012.
  • Walter Kitundu’s instruments that incorporate turntables.
  • Yasunao Tone’s bio page from his label, Asphodel (includes a sample of his “wounded CD” music.)
  • Alyce Santoro’s “sonic fabric” (and a related YouTube video that Pierre Schaeffer might enjoy)
  • Laurie Anderson invented the Tape-Bow Violin (with recorded tape in place of horse-hair and a tape-head on the instrument.) Example on ubuweb.
  • Steve Reich’s early tape music (“Come Out”, “It’s Gonna Rain”)
  • Burroughs and Brion Gysin cut-up recordings (ubuweb)
  • John Oswald’s remixed audio book “The Case of Death by Agatha Smith” and “Power”, a 1975 track that combines a charismatic preacher with Led Zeppelin’s “The Wanton Song” (both available on the CD “Plunderphonics 69/96“)
  • Automamusic film by Aura Satz (link to excerpt on The Wire magazine website)

Further Research