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“Neuro-Transmit Me These Empty Sounds” — Chicks on Speed, An Interview with Janne Vanhanen by Jeremy Turner

(Source: CTheory.net)

12/4/2001

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JANNE VANHANEN: “Neuro-transmit me these empty sounds” — Chicks On Speed: “Panasonic Rip-off”.

The above caption is from a track built on an existing Pan(a)sonic piece. The Chix are probably referring to the “empty” quality of the sounds Pan(a)sonic music consists of: sine waves, test tones, crackles & claps arranged in a strict rhythmic grid. Your question made me think of the possibility of empty sounds, especially as I’ve recently been listening to German composer Ekkehard Ehlers’ “…plays Robert Johnson” and “…plays Albert Ayler” where he tackles the question of reference in digital music. The pieces don’t “play” their referents in the sense of having samples of their recorded work included, but try to refer to them on a more abstract level.

Ehlers states in The Wire (issue 212) that “‘Reference’ is a basic structure in digital music” and it seems he tries to subvert this referentiality. Can non-referential, “empty” sounds be produced in the context of referring machines (turntables, samplers, computers)? Of course this technology makes the concept of acousmatic music possible in the first place, “neuro-transmitting” sounds to listeners without the gesturality of a performer or awareness of the sound source.

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