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Back cover for Environments: Disc Two Atlantic, The whole room seemed to change as the needle tracked the first groove. Very heavy stuff. Various English and U. Proper use of the record does, however, seem to entail some sort of activity or control on the part of the auditor that would be absent, as Syntonic implies, under the influence of drugs.

The language around Tintinnabulation merges these proposed benefits to a considerable degree in promoting the recording as psychedelic technology. David H. Richter, 3rd ed. Turn on, Tune in, Drift off: Environments and the Psychedelic Counterculture The techno-psychedelic promise advertised with Tintinnabulation indicates a broader connection between recordings of electronic environmental sound, and the cultural rebellion that accompanied social protest in the urban U.

Environments both extended the practices and resonated with the ideals of a significant segment of this mass countercultural market. Psychedelics in this way instrumentalized an ethic of sensory de-familiarization that developed alongside the countercultural politics of social disaffiliation.

This ethic does not necessarily rely on the representation of objects to achieve its effect of making the familiar seem strange. Like psychedelics, commercial musical recordings and electronic sounds were also made to serve as sacramental technologies in the ritual of altering reality as given. The version that appears in this collection is not identical to its original publication in The Psychedelic Review, which does not refer to electronic music.

New York: Mentor, , Yet Syntonic did not attach to their records any overt political agenda, as did Leary to psychedelics. Syntonic Research did, however, attest to the agency of electronic environments to transform human perception in a manner similar to McLuhan.

For more on cybernetics, see Ch. Similar notions motivated U. Whether or not Teibel had this very aim in mind, one may regard Environments as a mass-produced variation on existing anti-environmental practices of the s. Within the Bay Area counterculture, multimedia surround-sound environments of electronic sound and visuals regularly called upon their inhabitants to contemplate the conditions of their altered perception.

According to Heidegger, de-distancing abolishes the remoteness of an object, and makes the object useable or ready-to-hand [zuhanden]. Fittingly, his first example in Being and Time for the concept of Ent-fernung is the radio, which he argues has de-distanced the world for its listeners.

See Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, trans. Light projections, satirical theatre productions, beat poetry readings, film screenings, and dance troupes rounded out the spectacle. Fig 3. Trips Festival, An Opening Whereas the latter bombarded listeners with searingly loud, spontaneous sonic eruptions, the former soothed listeners with softly bubbling brooks, or distant bells, that admitted no sonic assaults or surprises.

And whereas the latter tended to distort and delay acoustic signals beyond recognition, the former molded digital sequences into ubiquitously recognizable sounds. However, both turned on the promise of electronic sounds to deliver safe and legal psychedelic experiences. Besides the necessary reduction in size and scope for the recorded medium, various other contextual factors account for the differences in tone and intensity between Tintinnabulation and Bay Area predecessors like the Trips Festival.

Album cover for Environments: Disc Three Atlantic, Before Teibel signed to Atlantic, he distributed Environments primarily through college bookstores based on the popularity of Disc One at the Harvard Co-Op. Such a promotional strategy characterized the dominant mode of advertising in U. Perhaps most significantly accounting for their differences in anti-environmental intensity, however, were the divergent conditions of their realization. Occurrences like the Trips Festival were public events: one-time experiences, evidently administered by a benevolent artist or collective, enabling shared wonderment in electronic sound.

Syntonic, by contrast, tailored Environments to the private ritual of home listening. Recorded electronic sound, in this context, became a reliable opportunity for amplifying individual solitude. Environments gave their owners the power to bolster the social retreat and isolation already provided by their domestic settings, while also placing the control of musical playback in the hands of the listeners themselves. This gave consumers a means of extricating themselves from social activity at any time—perhaps in symbolic accord with the commune dweller—through their property.

Tintinnabulation offers a glimpse into this ideological aperture. Selling Minimalist Music as Psychedelic Technology Although the mood music of the decades leading up to Environments: Disc Two had already established the concept of relaxing, unobtrusive musical sounds for both background and foreground listening Ch.

Within these horizons of expectation forms a duration wherein listeners might forgo interest in potential future sonic events, and instead focus on ongoing occurrences, sonic or otherwise. For instance, listeners might feel free to attend to local auditory phenomena such as rhythmic displacement or beating frequencies; they may also notice their own shifting perceptions of these phenomena as their horizons of expectation expand and contract.

As with Tintinnabulation, the works of U. If the effect is too powerful, all you need do is reach for a knob or switch. At different speeds, the sounds change in tone and apparent size The effect, unlike real bells, is fully controllable by the use of your volume, bass, and treble controls. To draw in rock listeners, the back of In C includes an extensive introduction to the piece by Paul Williams, editor-in-chief of seminal rock rag Crawdaddy. If it were, we could concern ourselves with sound and its permutations to the exclusion of all else that musicians might be interested in.

A piece of music happens to a man. New York: Routledge, , Jonathan Sterne New York: Routledge, , 9. It will transfix, arouse and awaken you. This may be true of the music of subways and garbage cans outside your window in the morning; but the virtue of the recorded performance is that it is subject to the will of the listener. Although Williams here evokes a more transfixing listening experience than Syntonic does, both he and Teibel represent minimalist recordings as dissolving the boundaries of the listening self, while also certifying this dissolution as continuously controlled by the same self.

This expansion of attentional mobility, from sound and its internal effects outward toward non-sonic activities or occurrences, is partly a result of the manual control the recording permits listeners. Like the minimalist music listener who, assured of global parameters, relaxes into a diffuse awareness of localized psychoacoustic phenomena drifting in and out of focus, the record listener, assured of the global stability of automated playback, might also slip in and out of attention to sound and its effects entirely.

In short, as minimalist music began appearing on commercial records, the repetitive, reliable, and consistent musical experience of minimalism became also a repeatable, reliable, and consistent technological one. Irving Teibel was one of the first to take advantage of this doubling of assurance on both musical and technological levels by explicitly designing Environments for a listener whose attentional focus might extend beyond auditory perception entirely.

This attentional freedom acquires special significance in light of the development of minimalist music into a recorded technology that Brian Eno, later in the decade, would call Ambient music. Evidently, Teibel imagined his users as both more mature and self-protective than the stereotypically hedonistic hippie, and yet still antagonistic to normative conventions of social maturation and adulthood. And yet, as Frank explains, hip consumerism in the U.

American middle class in the s. Environments are new concepts in sound and we want to make certain people know what to expect. Vaguely alluding to the newness and ineffability of the Environments audio experience, Syntonic subtly prolongs the message underlying the Listening Test Responses: expect the unexpected. The clean rows of text and hard, right angles of its layout convey the sterility and calculation of a corporate-issued product, delivering a straight-laced sales pitch while winking at the customer with its bright, bold colors.

With sumptuously large photographs appearing alongside titles in all-lowercase Helvetica—a corporate typeface if there ever was one56—and, of course, the seal of Syntonic Research, Inc. While their Listening Test Responses, descriptions of effects, and technical instructions create room before listening for users to prepare their 58 Binkley, Getting Loose, Take Tintinnabulation as an example.

And, absent of tape hiss or room noise, the airless, digitally produced recording also lacks an ambiance of its own. For purposes of ambient acoustic design see Ch. Yet heard exclusively of other sounds in the listening environment, the artificiality of the production can become especially apparent. The repeated pitches occur over irregular rather than regular intervals, thus lacking the energetic, propulsive pulse of much repetitive minimalist music.

The avoidance of dynamic extremes conveys reserve and lack of impulsivity. This relaxation may prepare the listener to take on the impersonal qualities mentioned before, leading to a felt loss of ego, volition, or selfhood. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, ed.

James Strachey New York: W. On depersonalization as an ideal effect of psychedelic rock, see Hicks, 63— Aesthetic interpretation of these technologies can seem superfluous, secondary to their purported use value. My analysis of Tintinnabulation contests this methodological assumption.

I also maintain interpretive flexibility for historiographic reasons. While various forms of recording had already purported to act as relaxants mood music , psychedelics psych rock , and environmental enhancer any background music , Tintinnabulation was perhaps the first mass-distributed commercial recording to promote music with a minimalist design to such ends.

A singularly historicist, reception-oriented reading of the recording cannot capture its present-day significance as a generic antecedent, any more than a singularly aesthetic, textual reading can describe its technological usefulness; rather, both work together to illuminate the significance of the recording to the Ambient genre formation. Yet taken aesthetically, against the historical grain, Tintinnabulation can also be heard as realizing a technological possibility latent in the minimalist musical aesthetic.

During his two-year tenure there, two key educational figures introduced Eno to the worlds of cybernetics and experimental music that conceptually fueled his later Ambient music practice. By the end of his art education, Eno had developed the tape delay system that he would use on his earliest Ambient albums No Pussyfooting and Discreet Music , as well as the theoretical tools to conceive these records as experimental.

New York: Cambridge University Press, , I think of it as being tuneful, softening the noise of knives and forks without overpowering them or making itself obtrusive. It would fill in the silences which can sometimes weigh heavy between table companions.

It would banish the need to make banal conversation. At the same time it would neutralise street noises, which can be tactless in their behaviour. Elle meublerait les silences pesant parfois entre les convives. Rollo H. Myers, in Source Readings in Music History, rev. The idea for furniture music did come off the heels of Sports et divertissements , whose score had Satie playfully interweaving notation and ornamentation into visual metaphors, and accompanying his musical calligraphy with floridly handwritten programmatic text.

Davis recognizes as a prototype of modernist multimedia art. Gillmor, Erik Satie Boston: Twayne, , To be played in a lobby. Satie in the meantime wrote to the Groupe des Six, calling on the young composers to follow his lead in composing furniture music. Only one, Arthur Honegger, composed his own, premiering them in a concert in April Satie had composed the pieces with the aid of Milhaud, who also helped organize their premiere performance.

The pair positioned the musicians—two pianists, three clarinetists, and the trombonist—in different corners of the gallery, so that the music would come from all sides at once. Walk about! Satie considered the performance a failure. Yet while the audience recognized a joke was afoot, they apparently failed to recognize that their quiet listening ruined the punchline.

In particular, they undermined the social custom of quiet, attentive concert hall listening, a practice that ascended in France with the rise of bourgeois individualism between and It is thought smart by most people to hear falsely pretty things, and listen to silly, vaguely churchy ritornellos, while they drink a beer or try on a pair of trousers; to appear to appreciate the sonorous tribute of basses and bassoons, and other ugly-pipes, while thinking of nothing at all.

Ornella Volta, trans. Each of these pieces is comprised of a single four-bar melody made to be looped ad infinitum and, 34 Rosalind H. Satie instructed players to repeat these phrases over and over, like a vamp, so that the music at length would come to resemble the repeated patterns of wallpaper, floor tiles, or tapestry. Over time, one might imagine, the repetitiousness would deter listeners from following the music. Neither phrase contains a cadence, with unresolved modal triads and a constant stream of eighth notes continually flowing into the next two-bar iteration.

Perhaps, too, they metonymically represented the stereotypically blank, undifferentiated, lumpen masses, le commun, for whom such products were thought to be produced. In any case, the future was to prove that Satie was right: nowadays, children and housewives fill their homes with unheeded music, reading and working to the sound of the wireless. And in all public places, large stores and restaurants, the customers are drenched in an undying flood of music.

Also in anticipation of Eno, Satie made this music both ignorable and unusual through expressive detachment, melodic looping, and textural consistency. Yet these self-effacing gestures never caught on with programmers of music for public places; as I discuss in Chapter 6, public establishments to this day overwhelmingly prefer to use music recordings bearing familiar styles and conventional song forms.

David Nicholls places Cage at the beginning of U. New York: Routledge, Cage believed that similarly impersonal music, unlike most other Western music, might avoid drawing attention to itself to the exclusion of other ongoing sounds. What we typically call silence, Cage emphasized, never lacks ambient sounds. Cage often related his experience inside an anechoic chamber at Harvard University in as an example of this.

Although the chamber was soundproofed, and designed to absorb all internal sounds, Cage did not hear nothing inside the chamber—he heard his own tinnitus and circulatory system. I enjoy whatever ambient sounds there are to hear. The nature of these is unpredictable and changing. These sounds which are called silence only because they do not form part of a musical intention may be depended upon to exist. The world teems with them, and is, in fact, at no point free of them.

Or the mind may give up its desire to improve on creation and function as a faithful receiver of experience. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki. David W. It will open with a single idea which I will attempt to make as seductive as the color and shape and fragrance of a flower. The ending will approach imperceptibility…. David Pritchett, for instance, imagines Prayer as a stretch of silence bookended by opening and closing sounds,58 while William Brooks, Kyle Gann, and David Patterson forward that Cage likely had in mind something like his Experiences No.

But it would be an act of charity even to oneself to smash them whenever they are discovered. They are useless except for that and for the royalties which the composer, dead now some thirty-odd years, can no longer pick up. We have no music in Texas.

Remove the records from Texas and someone will learn to sing. Among his earliest were Imaginary Landscape No. Given these techniques, it seems that the most offensive facet of music recordings was, for Cage, their use in automated, uninterrupted playback.

As he writes in a letter to musicologist Paul Henry Lang, Having written radio music has enabled me to accept, not only the sounds I there encounter, but the television, radio, and Muzak ones, which nearly constantly and everywhere offer themselves. Formerly, for me, they were a source of irritation.

Now, they are just as lively as ever, but I have changed. I am more and more realizing, that is to say, that I have ears and can hear. I intend to work on it. Those big boxes that young people carry through the streets with the radio or some other thing on, those are very imposing, and the Muzak is at the opposite end of the dynamic range.

Richard Kostelanetz New York: Praeger, , Ultimately, Cage insisted that music should involve sounds that listeners might otherwise exclude from privileged consideration. Retelling the story behind his first solo Ambient record, Discreet Music see Ch. For Eno, Cage had opened the conceptual possibility that music may be best enjoyed discreetly, as ambient sound. Even toward the end of his life, Cage had little patience for music that held special aesthetic appeal in itself, to the exclusion of ambient sounds.

Through chance procedures, indeterminate notation, and the use of sounds outside the twelve equal-tempered pitches of European invention, these composers expanded the boundaries of experimental music so that practically any process of sound production might be regarded by listeners with interest. Stephen Peles et al. Eno had also begun to experiment with the tape-loop-based delay systems that would later appear on his early Ambient records.

In these systems, a single loop of tape would pass through at least two tape recorders, with one recording the ambient sounds of the environment, and one playing back the recording. The piece called for the performer s to repeat a single, loud sound, or cluster of sounds, X times as uniformly and regularly as possible. Because this technique creates an extraordinarily high consistency and predictability of sound relative to duration, listeners of minimalist music including the performers themselves might become deeply accustomed to certain musical parameters such as pulse, texture, and mode over the course of a single listening.

I further explore this parallel in Ch. The loops eventually converge once again toward the end. D Dissertation, Yale University, , — In a interview, Eno described by way of a famous article in cybernetic theory see Ch. Ours are always moving: we blink. We scan. We move our heads. But a frog fixes its eyes on a scene and leaves them there. It stops seeing all the static parts of the environment, which become invisible, but as soon as one element moves, which could be what it wants to eat—the fly—it is seen in very high contrast to the rest of the environment.

It's the only thing the frog sees and the tongue comes out and takes it. Well, I realized that what happens with the Reich piece is that our ears behave like a frog's eyes. Since the material is common to both tapes, what you begin to notice are not the repeating parts but the sort of ephemeral interference pattern between them.

Your ear telescopes into more and more fine detail until you're hearing what to me seems like atoms of sound. That piece absolutely thrilled me, because I realized then that I understood what minimalism was about. The creative operation is listening.

It isn't just a question of a presentation feeding into a passive audience. People will sometimes say about Reich's piece, "Oh yes, that one with that voice which keeps hammering into your head," and indeed, if you're not especially listening to it that's exactly what it is. On the other hand, Eno came to find that the recording on the whole permitted an even greater range of auditory freedom than Reich himself initially envisioned, since its playback, like the loop contained within, was both consistent repeatable and constant automated.

The second accident, in consequence of the first, took place while he lay in recovery. Not wanting to go through the pain of getting up again to adjust the volume, Eno rested: So I drifted into this kind of fitful sleep, a mixture of pain-killers and tiredness. And I started hearing this record as if I'd never heard music before. It was a really beautiful experience, I got the feeling of icebergs, you know?

I would just occasionally hear the loudest parts of the music, get a little flurry of notes coming out above the sound of the rain — and then it'd drift away again. And I began to think of environmental music — music deliberately constructed to occupy the background. And I realised that Muzak was a very strong concept and not a load of rubbish, as most people supposed.

Nylon, a U. American artist, moved to London in , and quickly befriended Eno and Brian Ferry. Discreet music. It has since been told and retold by fans and journalists as origin story for the Ambient concept. Both of these fields generally de-centered the agency of human actors by disregarding conscious or communicative intentions, and focusing on externally observable processes or systems of behavior that involved humans and non-humans alike.

Eno, however, did not release Discreet Music within these compositional and research fields, but rather within the commercial marketplace of popular music records. Eno joined Roxy toward the end of , following his realization at Winchester that his artistic goals might be better achieved in the world of commodity culture than in the art institution. A substantial and growing body of scholarship has more recently reassessed this presumption in light of the many fruitful interactions and overlaps between the modernist avant-garde and popular culture in the early years of the 20th century.

In regards to these interactions and overlaps in music, see Mary E. Juan A. What the Velvet Underground did impress upon Roxy was a sense of how art-world connections could position the band culturally. Eno joined Roxy as a novice studio producer and synth player upon the recommendation of his friend and woodwind player Andy Mackay. In contrast to this model of depth, Eno wanted to make overt the constructedness of the rock band enterprise. In , he enlisted Fripp to join him, and a tape delay system, in the recording studio.

Fripp took quickly to the method, providing licks on his Gibson Les Paul that Eno would then weave into fuzzy beds of thickly layered drone, upon which Fripp could improvise further. The duo later recorded the B-side in a similar manner, with Eno contributing additional synthesizer lines. Eno and Fripp released the album in November While these pieces move through chordal progressions, they nonetheless convey stasis through continuous harmonic oscillation or motivic looping.

They also lack any sudden or obtrusive changes. Biographies and artist profiles often acknowledge the importance of U. During this time, he gradually moved away from intimidatingly complex indeterminate notation, and worked on articulating musical procedures that could conceivably be approached by almost anyone. Toward the end of the s, some of the most audacious experimental activity in England involved new approaches to well-known classical pieces by European composers.

This experimental interest in tinkering with the European classical canon was foregrounded in the activities of the Scratch Orchestra. In contrast to the mostly musically trained Scratch Orchestra, whose members generally took their improvisational approach to the canon seriously as an ideological statement, the Portsmouth Sinfonia baldly presented their disingenuous attempts to execute notated music as humorous amateurism.

His idea of ambient music grew out of the non-assertive nature of much of English Experimental Music, which was quite happy to stay in the background in an understated way. Each performer had a toy piano, a reed organ, and their own wind instrument with which to perform their music. The Purcell Room performance Bryars references took place on October 9, The performance at Queen Elizabeth Hall took place in , and featured the premiere performance of The Sinking of the Titanic.

Just the job for that lazy Sunday afternoon! MacCrimmon Will Never Return —73 has its performers simultaneously play different slowed-down versions of a piobaireachd bagpipe tune on reed organs. Thesis, University of Redlands, , American minimalist contemporaries. It is a music of discovery: from a myriad possible forms, structure and texture are interfused; new images are defined. Only the listener with a blissful disregard for all the numbers, structures and permutations which concern the compose can assess the quality of the image: the actual effect of the music.

New York minimalists also generated psychoacoustic effects through constant pulse and gradual, continuous change, while the systemic minimalists had little interest in heightening such effects. Obscure Records In early , Eno proposed to Island Records—his label at the time—the idea of a sub-label devoted to the new English experimentalism flowering around him. He sold the idea to Island as an inexpensive investment in research and development; the purpose of this new label would be to find, record, and release music from outside the progressive rock mainstream that would be otherwise difficult to find on commercial records.

Although Eno never fulfilled these visions, he did go on to release recordings of music by English upstarts such as Bryars, Nyman, Hobbs, and White, and U. American minimalists Harold Budd and John Adams, before the series folded in In the months leading up to Discreet Music, Eno also helped record, produce, and package pieces by Bryars and Hobbs for release on Obscure. For many of these composers, the opportunity to record their pieces at all was unprecedented.

This analog modular synthesizer with a built-in keyboard had one feature that set it apart from most others of its time: a monophonic digital sequencer, which allowed Eno to program and automatically loop a sequence of pitches. The sequencer also included three layers or tracks that permitted Eno to play back multiple sequences simultaneously. Eno later slowed the recording down to half speed, thereby increasing the total length to thirty minutes.

This sound would then take another 2. Eno represented this system in the liner notes with a diagram Fig. Each of the two programmed sequences contained four short melodic fragments, with each fragment separated from one another by a lengthy pause. I will describe these pitches as they appear on the final thirty-minute recording, rather than recreate those that Eno initially used before slowing the tape down.

One sequence, created using flute-like tones, contains the first four of the melodic fragments in Example 5. The first sequence mainly sits in the left stereo channel, while the second sequence mainly sits in the right; generally, the higher pitched melodic fragments sit farther to the left, while the lower pitched fragments sit farther to the right. The delay echoes of these fragments, and all others, repeat at regular intervals of approximately 5.

As these echoes continue while fading, fragments newly emerge from the sequencer at a higher volume. At any given time, then, several of the fragments appear more prominently within the audio field than others. Each sequence of melodic fragments restarts at a regular rate throughout the piece.

For one, the full sequences are of slightly different lengths, with the first lasting approximately 1 minute and 3. Figure 5. Time appears horizontally, while the fragments are stacked vertically based on register. Each rectangular bar represents a single iteration of a melodic fragment; each vertical line represents the beginning of one iteration.

The black circles represent the new entrance of a fragment from the sequencer, and the density of color represents the volume, with denser color showing higher volume. As the piece was being recorded, Eno changed the output by using the graphic equalizer, as well as the controls on the synthesizer itself.

I was continually varying the waveform mix of the synthesizer: the old EMS synths offered two or three waveforms from each oscillator, so l was making a moving mix between square, triangle and sine waves. From the EMS, I went into a graphic equaliser for more sound-shaping. To use one fragment as an example, Fragment 5 as labeled in the preceding analysis begins by sounding akin to an English horn.

Then, around 11 minutes in, the fragment reappears sounding far mellower, closer to an alto flute than anything else. These timbral changes, as Eno indicates in the interview, are continuous across most instruments throughout. See the leftmost arrow in Figure 5. This is illustrated below the middle arrow in Figure 5. Finally, between and minute markers, the hi-mid range gradually re-emerges with increasing 57 Ibid.

These fairly substantial changes, taking up the final third of the recording, introduce a subtle dramatic narrative arc into the composition, open-ended enough to be experienced and interpreted by the listener in their own way. Part 3 of this chapter traces these ideas. American scientific researchers in the years following the Second World War.

Through this scientific paradigm, organic and inorganic materials alike were understood equivalently as mechanisms or systems, both in themselves and through their interactions with one another. On the most basic level, cyberneticians early on defined a system as an entity that behaves, or displays behavior. Behavior, as W. Ross Ashby defines it, is a regular, determinate, and reproducible sequence of states. Ross Ashby, An Introduction to Cybernetics, 2nd ed.

Systems may modify their behavior in response to the information they gather from the environment. Thermostats, for instance, are programmed to anticipate changes in environmental temperature, and modify their readings in response to such information.

Wiener shows human nervous systems as communicating with a materially diverse world in a similar manner to such mechanisms. Like thermostats and steam engines, which respond behaviorally to their external environments in a predictable fashion, the human nervous system receives inputs from its environment and discharges responses into the muscles in a regular, mostly predictable manner.

The nervous system, Wiener argued, cannot be wholly predictable due to the often contingent nature of personal memory; see Wiener, Cybernetics, However, an early problem that arose in cybernetics was how one could identify a system, prior to observing its behavior. A related problem arose in regarding systems as somehow open to their environments, and yet unaffected by the fact of their being observed. For this reason, cyberneticians around began incorporating the perception and activity of the observer into the models of behavior they theorized.

Edward A. Shanken has observed how modernist avant-garde artists—from the impressionists, cubists, and situationists up through the work of Rauschenberg, Cage, and Fluxus—likewise reflexively anticipated the perception of the observer in the conception and formal composition of the artwork itself. Roy Ascott served as headmaster of the Fine Art program at Ipswich, where he put his cybernetic theory into pedagogical practice while Eno attended.

In the essay, Ascott proposes that works of art should be understood not as objects, but rather as systems of behavior with the potential to respond to the actions of the audience. Eno remembers that his first Groundcourse directive was to invent a game that would generate some sort of evaluation of its players.

Placed in groups, the students ended up taking on group roles according to these new mind maps for the remainder of the semester. He would be the dogsbody; that was my job, actually…. There were some funny things that happened. There was one girl who was very timid, so part of her Mind Map stipulated that she had to walk this tightrope in front of the whole group every morning. American art theorist Morse Peckham proposed that society organizes artistic behavior into the performance of two conventional roles: artist and perceiver.

The role of the perceiver, he goes on, is governed by cultural norms that allow people to recognize particular perceptual fields as art. Cultural norms sanction and designate situations for the activity of art perception i. Truly successful art, Peckham goes on, exposes the perceiver to disorienting situations within the insulation it provides them There we can endure uncertainty— not only endure it but be thrilled by it, and become able to use it as a creative basis for perception and action.

Both Peckham and Ascott conceived art as systems that are open and responsive to the presence of observers. Ascott also echoed McLuhan and Leary in proposing that technologized environments could extend perception and enable play for the artist-participant. As Eno developed the Ambient concept and sound into the mids, he continued to ingest new ideas from the world of cybernetics, while applying these ideas in his engagements with music.

Geared towards a readership of other artists and composers, the essay explicates the methods and aims of experimental music using the terms and concepts of cybernetics. Treating the business as a system, Beer wrote that the variety of the business, or the number of its possible distinguishable states, is simply too large to comprehend from the point of the view of a manager. For this reason, the manager cannot plan for all possible states of affairs, but rather must organize the business in such a way that its components behave in a predictable and self-regulating fashion.

The role of the manager is simply to decide whether or not the organization is producing desirable results, and adjust accordingly According to the essay, classical compositions differ from experimental ones because classical scores provide instructions for generating highly specific musical results. New York: Oxford University Press, Whereas non-experimental compositions constrain variety, allowing only a narrow range of possible outcomes in performance, experimental compositions aim to generate and exploit variety.

Each of these environments encourages certain outputs or behaviors, while discouraging or subduing others. At the same time, as the piece is performed, the environment generates variety through such factors as performer error, octave transposition, and beat frequencies. For Eno, then, experimental music is behaviorist art, and behaviorist art, experimental music.

This sharing of intent, purpose, or responsibility with the environmental technological, cultural, acoustic situations in which sound gets generated defines, for Eno, the activity of the experimental music performer. At the same time, as the planner of this piece, Eno also organized its variety by delimiting the processes and materials he could use.

To escape into the unknown. It offers a space for the experimentalist to flexibly consort with all sorts of entities living and non-living, tangible and intangible: acoustic and electronic instruments, recording technologies, other performers, already recorded sounds. Moreover, because the studio composer directly works with the sound, they may be compared with the experimental music performer, albeit less concerned with notational interpretation, instrumental ability, or accuracy.

Indeed, in the studio, Eno found that his amateur musicianship fortuitously generated a variety of unplanned sounds while recording. The notion of the happy accident inspired Eno to devise procedures that would expose in-studio composition to variety. Like accidental sounds, other performers, or unfamiliar instruments, the Oblique Strategies cards dictated shifting environmental conditions to which Eno could adapt in the otherwise controlled studio environment.

Thanks to its mutability and editability, tape recording gave Eno the freedom to improvise with different materials and methods throughout the compositional process. John Morthland New York: Anchor, , The advantage of testing them in an art [recording] context is that it doesn't really matter if you fail.

You can afford to take risks that you wouldn't allow yourself in normal life. Having taken those risks and seen what freedoms they allow or what restrictions they impose, you are then free to extrapolate them into normal-life situation. What seemed like an almost arbitrary collision of events comes to seem very meaningful on re-listening. Tape, for Eno, universally anonymized and naturalized any sounds in play during performance as the variety of this compositional system.

Yet this characterization also reveals how Eno took personal interest in sonic events that may have been unintended or contingent in the first place. His compositional process in the studio aimed at producing such contingencies.

Yet while Eno in his earlier essay reminds the reader that the cultural environment plays a role in filtering the results of experimental activity, he did not initially interpret his own biases toward sound in the same manner. Eno became progressively more outspoken about the cultural and political ramifications of his preferences, as I will discuss shortly, but his reflections on these ramifications for some time remained unincorporated into his own theorizations of studio composition.

Instead of articulating social agreement or difference through collective musical memory in real time, Eno relies on the memory of the tape to deal individually and extemporaneously with improvised material. In his solo work, the studio provided Eno an autonomous musical territory, giving him, alone, ultimate authority over the final musical realization. Recordings might for this reason seem even less experimental than the traditional orchestral performance.

However, this intuition relies on several interlocking assumptions: 1 that the relevant outcomes of an experimental performance or playback of an experimental recording are purely acoustic, rather than experiential or perceptual; 2 that the sounds of a single recording would produce similar experiential or perceptual outcomes across playbacks; and 3 that the experiential or perceptual field of the listener would remain limited to the sounds of the recording.

So pop musicians were way ahead of the avant-garde in terms of thinking how do you make a successful work of art on a piece of vinyl. Pop producers, in other words, created recordings that might generate variety from playback to playback. The effect of this on the composer is that he can think in terms of supplying material that would actually be too subtle for a first listening.

Eno likewise conceived his rejection of attentional hierarchy as anti- authoritarian. As his interest in creating recordings with melodic vocals declined throughout the s, Eno began describing his solo releases through reference to visual art, particularly painting.

Painters are not insulted by lack of attention, why should composers be? Vertical music, Kramer explains, replaces the temporal articulation of gestures or events such as musical phrases with totally consistent, multi-layered sound. We can listen to it or ignore it. Through techniques such as the tape delay system, or the use of loops of different lengths, Eno programmed and recorded an event in which technological playback generated unpredictability rather than just repetition.

I compare these narratives to other similar genesis narratives in minimalist tape music, before undertaking a cultural critique of their authorial constructions. The ideas of cybernetics and experimentalism explored earlier in this chapter run through these sections as undercurrents, rather than explicit themes. Eno starts by introducing his use of systems in composition as a personal preference.

Since I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part. That is to say, I tend towards the roles of the planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results. Later, he describes a procedure he devised that allowed him to maintain this desired role.

Having set up [the tape delay echo system], my degree of participation in what it subsequently did was limited to a providing an input in this case, two simple and mutually compatible melodic lines of different duration stored on a digital recall system and b occasionally altering the timbre of the synthesizer's output by means of a graphic equalizer. Here, we see Eno refraining from altering the playback of recorded sound once that playback is set in motion.

It is a point of discipline to accept this passive role, and for once, to ignore the tendency to play the artist by dabbling and interfering. Cage wanted composers to ignore the tendency to control the actions of performers, a sort of control that could produce highly specified musical results. Eno similarly ignores here a tendency to interfere with an automated, loop-based technological system. Yet perhaps because the musical result of such a system could conceivably have been fully known in advance by an uninvolved planner, Eno here emphasizes his passiveness in the act of recording, rather than the openness of his plan.

He does not reveal this fact here, however. Distractions ensued. Once I got it going the phone started ringing, people started knocking on the door, and I was answering the phone and adjusting all this stuff as it ran. I almost made that without listening to it. It was really automatic music. Interference in the listening and creative process, it turned out, was precisely what Eno needed to compose a track for ignoring.

I was not seriously hurt, but I was confined to bed in a stiff and static position. My friend Judy Nylon visited me and brought me a record of 18th century harp music. After she had gone, and with some considerable difficulty, I put on the record. Having laid down, I realized that the amplifier was set at an extremely low level, and that one channel of the stereo had failed completely.

Since I hadn't the energy to get up and improve matters, the record played on almost inaudibly. This presented what was for me a new way of hearing music—as part of the ambience of the environment just as the colour of the light and the sound of the rain were parts of that ambience. It is for this reason that I suggest listening to the piece at comparatively low levels, even to the extent that it frequently falls below the threshold of audibility.

As discussed in Chapter 3, the controllability of these technologies symbolically ensured, for middle-class adults, the ontological security of their bodies otherwise dispersed by and through automated musical environments. Together, these framing narratives set up a circuit of identification between the consumer i. In both these narratives, Eno announces, then disavows his identity as a planner and programmer of the sounds, placing agency in the automated mechanisms of playback as he switches over to the role of non-interfering listener.

These narratives encourage the reader to act similarly. Once you program Discreet Music, these narratives tell the consumer, take advantage of its automation, and treat it passively as though the music were part of the place in which you listen. Though recounted with varying details, the story nearly always represents Eno-the-thinker as a passive conduit in the circuitry between a harp record, broken speakers, and his own busted body.

Judy Nylon, however, recalls events differently: I put the harp music on and balanced it as best as I could from where I stood; he caught on immediately to what I was doing and helped me balance the softness of the rain patter with the faint string sound for where he lay in the room.

The narrative behind its creation, Nylon suggests, made for good promotional fodder—a way of selling the idea to label Editions E. So what did he have to gain from representing himself as a passive agent in the compositional process? Partly, as I have proposed, such narratives would have had instructional merit for potential listeners. However, their similarities to some other genesis narratives in minimalist tape music give reason for further investigation.

Like Eno, several of these composers forwarded narratives of automated electronics displacing their intentions as executors or performers of recorded sound, putting them in the position of the unsuspecting listener. Robert Schwarz, Minimalists London: Phaidon, , Ironically, this very scenario would be repeated four years later when Reich felt snubbed after Philip Glass removed the dedication from his Two Pages for Steve Reich , shortening it to simply Two Pages.

By giving the errancy of technological reproduction a creative hand in the process, composers like Reich could also both disavow and shore up such open claims to authorship. In contrast with Eno and Reich, who framed their tape music as arising out of contingent environmental conditions through supplemental narratives, Alvin Lucier made the environmental contingency of tape composition the overt content of his I Am Sitting in a Room I am recording the sound of my speaking voice and I am going to play it back into the room again and again until the resonant frequencies of the room reinforce themselves so that any semblance of my speech, with perhaps the exception of rhythm, is destroyed.

What you will hear, then, are the natural resonant frequencies of the room articulated by speech. I regard this activity not so much as a demonstration of a physical fact, but, more as a way to smooth out any irregularities my speech might have. Lucier then does just what he says, and plays back the recording of his speech.

Following this, Lucier plays back the segment of tape that he had just re-recorded. He repeats this process of recording and playback multiple times 10 total iterations appear on the recording; 32 in the release. Most critics have interpreted LucierA to be referring to his stutter, a facet of his speech most notable on his original recording.

Stephen Heath London: Fontana, , LucierS, it seems, can be planned and programmed, but not fully controlled, by LucierA. On the other hand, one might interpret the piece as wanted unwanted exposure. As a listener, am I witnessing a bit of catharsis for Lucier? Dissertation, University of Louisiana at LaFayette, At the same time, these framings of playback technology deliver a tacit instruction to listeners who might feel impatient at the slowness of the sonic development, or the seeming inactivity of the music.

As with Discreet Music, lengthy automated repetitions can translate for listeners as a message to sit with the sound of the recording, and give time for interest to bloom. In the cases of both Reich and Eno, these narratives further allowed them to assert authorship of their techniques and ideas in light of similarly made music. These composers, by showing themselves as uniquely witnessing technologies independently at play, rewrite their plans as emergent from personal circumstance, rather than from considered engagement with pre-existing and contemporaneous musical practices.

We wanted to operate primarily in the rock music context—that is, we wanted this music to be available through extended channels open to rock music which are not open to the more esoteric musics. As regards our musical backgrounds we split equally between the two areas. And I really thought that my mission was to get these two separate bodies of knowledge melded together in some way.

Well, in fact I'm actually more interested in doing the opposite. I'm more interested in relegating the Fine Arts from their sanctified position into something that people enjoy doing and seeing, something which forms a part of their social behaviour and social discourse. Bringing the ideas of experimental music into this market, for Eno, meant translating it into something that could produce pleasure, and thereby carry social agency or power.

How do we do that? They let it in. And to stop it being monotonous— and, I suppose, completely ignorable—I did make changes during the piece. But I think that borderline area is a very interesting one. I don't see the point, really.

I've always abandoned pieces which succeeded theoretically but not sensually. Nevertheless, Eno has explained how his interest in minimalism arises as much out of personal taste as it does from conceptual intrigue. Objects are at a minimum. Records and books are assigned three shelves…. Everything else is pallid, unobtrusive, and mutable.

By then, Eno had taken some flack from rock musicians and journalists who found the pacifying nature of his Ambient records unnerving. He explained how Ambient music, and the compositional strategies of making it, resulted from a principled anti-individualism, a concerted effort to see himself less as a self-contained author, and more as a product of his environment.

I like that feeling. Gregory Battcock New York: Dutton, , It might be less obvious, however, why one would like this feeling. Impersonality implies objectivity, and objectivity carries authority; as an ideal of human feeling, impersonality is the legacy of the Enlightenment, the modus operandi of the experimental scientist, and historically the dominion of educated white men.

Through its classicism, such work draws upon an artistic history promoted by European intellectuals, and upon their existing institutional support in both fine and commercial art. Dissertation, University of Washington, , — In the industrialized West, these people overwhelmingly tend to be educated, white, and male. It is not surprising that Ambient fans commonly carry two, and very often all three of these traits see Appendix, — I return to this idea in Chapter 7.

These observations should not indict Eno, nor his fans, nor Discreet Music; nor should they reaffirm the historical associations between the subject position of the educated white man and authority. Rather, they emphasize the significance of subjective identification and pleasure in the experience of artworks that assume neutrality, impersonality, objectivity, and universality. As Hazel V.

Such an understanding can illuminate how the desire to abdicate authorship might be related to the inheritance of social authority. It also shows how the urge to suspend taste might come from personal preference, and how austere art may be enjoyed, desirously and sensuously, as self disappearing into the objective.

As these technologies became more and more affordable and versatile, recordings of immersive drone- and repetition-based electronic music proliferated, a growth that still shows no signs of slowing down. On April 23, , Nichols released his first new single in three years titled "Home Run". The song impacted country radio on May 10 under Quartz Hill.

On January 8, , Nichols returned to Nashville to see a therapist after causing a scene in Steamboat Springs, Colorado , while intoxicated on amphetamines and alcohol. He had been battling an addiction since after the death of his father.

He had known Singleton since they were both 19 years old. In , the couple had their first child, a daughter named Dylan River. Nichols is a lifelong fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Country Music Artist. For the American sports journalist, see Joe Nichols journalist. For similarly named people, see Joe Nicholls disambiguation. Musical artist.

Main article: Joe Nichols discography. Retrieved Retrieved January 4, Hot Country Songs to Record Research, Inc. ISBN Music Row. The Boot. Retrieved August 26, Archived from the original on People Magazine. Joe Nichols. A Traditional Christmas. Greatest Hits. Authority control. Germany United States Czech Republic. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file.

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