Thursday, 26 November 2009


In a World of Echo

"As soon as you have echo, listening has to completely change. You ear has to chase the sound. Instead of the beat being this one event in time, it becomes this series of retreating echoes, like a tail of sound. The beat becomes a tail which is always disappearing round the corner and your ear has to start chasing it. If you're wearing headphones or a walkman it becomes a chase through the headphones. The Echoplex turns listening into running. You can't catch the beat, the tails of sound as they turn the corner, disappear down a corridor. From King Tubby to Basic Channel, the cymbal is always just out of reach, always taking the corner of perception. Where rhythm should be there is space, and vice versa. Spectral dub pivots around an absent beat."

04 Quote taken from 'more Brilliant than the Sun' p64


"...When you double, or dub, you replicate, reinvent, make one of many versions. ... The composition has been decomposed, already, by the technology. Dubbing, at its very best, takes each bit and imbues it with a new life, turning a rational order of musical sequences into an ocean of sensation"

Taken from David Toop's 'Ocean of Sound' p 115

Monday, 23 November 2009


"fictions that make themselves real"


"The situation is closer to the modern phenomenon of hype than to religious belief as we'd ordinarily think about it. Hype actually makes things happen, and uses belief as a positive power. Just because it's not "real" now, doesn't mean it won't be real at some point in the future. And once it's real, in a sense, it's always been."


"Burroughs construed writing – and art in general – not aesthetically, but functionally, - that is to say, magically, with magic defined as the use of signs to produce changes in reality. "

"OGU’s (One God Universe) power works through fictions that repudiate their own fictional status: antifictions and unnonfictions. ‘And that,’ Kaye said, ‘is why fiction can be a weapon in the struggle against Control.'"

‘You can see that Burroughs’s writing involves the highest possible stakes,’ Kaye wrote. ‘It does not represent cosmic war: it is already a weapon in that war. It is not surprising that the forces ranged against him – the many forces ranged against him, you can’t overestimate their influence on this planet – sought to neutralize that weapon. It was a matter of the gravest urgency that his works be classified as fantasies, experimental dada, anything but that they should be recognized as what they are: technologies for altering reality.’

All quotes taken from CCRU on William Burroughs and hyperstition

more on hyperstition

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Hauntology I

Derrida's 1993 published book 'Specters of Marx' and in particular the concept of 'hauntology' (derived from the word 'ontology' said in a French) has its roots in a quote by Marx from 1848 that a "spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of communism."

The concept of hauntology as a nature of being is an idea which inherently embeds the realm of the past in the that of the present, the ghosts of the past return to haunt us. Derrida's also draws heavily on a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet - "the time is out of joint". To steal this useful quote from Deleuze taken from this blog:

" The time is out of joint. Time is out of joint, time is unhinged. The hinges are the axis around which the door turns. Cardo [hinge of the door, the semantic root of "cardinal" numbers], in Latin, designates the subordination of time to the cardinal points through which the periodical movements that it measures pass. As long as time remains on its hinges, it is subordinate to movement: it is the measure of movement, interval or number. This was the view of ancient philosophy. But time out of joint signifies the reversal of the movement-time relationship. It is now movement which is subordinate to time. [ . . .] Time is no longer related to the movement which it measures, but movement is related to the time which conditions it." (Deleuze, Kant's Critical Philosophy, vii, 1963).

The resonance of this concept within music and 'cyberpunk' (or cultural cybernetics) more broadly has seen people like Simon Reynolds (see his blog for the backlash on the H word)and ultimately moreso Mark K-Punk theorise 'sonic hauntology'. See here for an interview with Mark Kpunk about hauntology. In terms of characteristics of cyberpunk elements of Science fiction, dystopic near future world views, ala William Gibson and the music K-Punk references juxtaposing Robert Johnson and Tricky and more recently comparing Burial to the 'new rave' movement, the sense of 'time being out of joint', a displacement of the movement-time relationship is certainly a theme with much to explore.

A symposium at the Museum of Garden History in May 2008 tackled the themes of hauntology and sound. Here is K-Punks online version of his presenation. A press release for the event can be found here.

The current state of the wikipedia entry 'Hauntology - musical genre' is somewhat weak, as the 14-tracks selection dedicated to Hauntology and subsequent commentary demonstrates much better, to call it a 'genre' is misleading and the 'sense of dread' assigned to it, oversimplifies and doesn't leave much room for the more interesting aspects to explore, especially for my purposes around the space-time-movement relationship.

The original approach of Derrida on Marx's work, especially given the historical and political situation in 1993 and as a challenge to Francis Fukuyama's End of History thesis after the events of 1989 and the 'fall of communism' in eastern europe - these uncover many more complex issues of political ideology, particular given Derrida's deconstructivist approach.

My interests lie in examining sonic hauntology as elaborated by Mark K-Punk Fischer in his writings, as an auditive aesthetic phenomenon and as a cultural cybernetic phenomenon.

The space-time continuum and time-movement relationship also brings me back to Virilio's dromologiy of media, although he never really directly addresses auditive phenomenology aside of audiovisual media, some analysis of Virlio's texts could be useful in this context.



I came across the work of Joe Banks, a London sound artist who has engaged with EVP in his work, and discovered many interesting works of his, including this video piece dealing with JG Ballard's The Sound Sweep.

His work on Rorschach Audio attempts to explain the phenomenon of EVP using relevant psychoacoustic and psychological explainations, a sort of auditive Gestalt theory which is a highly interesting research area for auditive phenomenology.

More links to his work on 'rorschach Audio' under Links.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)



Virilio's dromology of media phenomena is a mass condition, a near universal social malady, characterised by DISAPPEARANCES. He describes the physiological condition of PICNOLEPSY – similar to frequent epileptic fits, constant interruptions after which the subject is UNAWARE of the time he or she has lost, the absence is not perceived. According to Virilio we are all picnoleptics, we are all subject to these lapses in consciousness, to these moments of disappearance or 'absences'. By announcing this, condemns us all to an illness that we are UNAWARE OF.

"Hier befinden wir uns noch auf dem Gebiet der filmischen Illusion und der auf den Monitoren vorüberflimmernden Informationen: wir werden informiert, aber wir empfinden nichts dabei, d.h. Wir werden apathisch...die Stimuli der Beobachtung werden durch sich wiederholdende (und bereits bekannte) Informationen gestört, sie werden durch die Geschwindligkeit überrascht.” (Virilio, Paul “Ästhetik des Verschwindens” aus dem Französischen von Marianne Karbe und Gustav Roßler, Merve Verlag 1986, Berlin, 52)

FURTHERMORE, he uses the term 'paradoxical awakeness' and applies it to the collective consciousness, “our conscious life which is not to be considered without dreams, is just as hard to consider without paradoxical awakeness.” (Ibid. 15) We are so numbed by the speed of this constant pseudo toxic media exposure, we are unable to perceive our own illness. PICNOLEPTICS are numbed beings, neither fully awake nor asleep.

This desciption shares similarities with Marshall McLuhan's chapter "The Gadget Lover - Narcissus as Narcosis" in 'understanding media'. Blinded with a narcisstic love of your own extended nervous system is the modern parable, and the effect points again to numbness/narcosis.

Adventures in Sonic Fiction

The starting point: Kodwo Eshun's book 'More Brilliant than the Sun - Adventures in Sonic Fiction' (Quartet Books, London, 1998).

"All these trogdlodytic homilies are Great British cretinism masquerading as vectors into the Trad Sublime" [-007]

"...More Brilliant goes farther in. It lingers lovingly inside a single remix, explores the psychoacoustic fictional spaces of interludes and intros, goes to extremes to extrude the illogical that other studies flee." [-004]

"Where crits of CyberCult still gather, 99.9% of them will lament the disembodiment of the human by technology. But machines don't distance you from your emotions, in fact quite the opposite. Sound machines make you feel more intensely, along a broader band of emotional spectra than ever before in the 20th Century." [-002]

All inspirational quotes taken from introductory chapter "Operating System for the Redesign of Sonic Reality"

The Sonotronic Manifesto

The 10 Point Program of The Sonotronic Manifesto

1. SONICFICTION breaks with the obligation to the STREET by destroying the compulsory deference to BIOGRAPHY

2. Pop RESCUES unpop from its admirers by defridgerating the CONCEPTECHNICS of the avant garde from the icebox of its admirers.

3. Science fiction is theory on FASTFORWARD.

4. Consciousness is a SEMI_PERMEABLE MEMBRANE persistently mistaken for an identity.

5. You are a population. Have you been feeling YOURSELVESlately?

6. The sampler doesn't care who you are. It's only using you to reproduce.

7. The SAMPLEFINDER assembles digital myths from todays datastream. MECHANO-INFORMATIC MYSTICISM is tomorrows science dreamed today.

8. COMPUTERMUSIC obliges us to confuse information with mystery.

9. The CONCEPTENGINEER does not dispel confusion: she ORGANIZES it along several planes at once.

10. YOU are the alien YOU looking for.
DEE in an interview with K Eshun for
Taken from:


AG piknoleptiker by wivvhoom