» archive: writings


After many years of work, Sound Unseen is published! The editors at Oxford University Press did a wonderful job and I couldn’t be happier with the final result. You can preview and purchase the book here.

This is a short contribution to a colloquy on Alain Badiou’s Five Lessons on Wagner, edited by Stephen Decatur Smith, and published in Opera Quarterly 29(3/4) (Summer-Fall 2013), 349-354. Link to article

A review of John Dack and Christine North’s translation of Pierre Schaeffer’s In Search of a Concrete Music.

An essay on the relation of music and sound art in the contemporary sound art discourse. First published in Nonsite.org, Issue #8 (“The Music Issue”), Winter 2012/13.

An introduction to Jean-Luc Nancy’s writing on listening, published in a special issue of Contemporary Music Review on music and philosophy.

This is an interview with Jim Fleming about my work on Kafka and acousmatic sound. It originally aired on To The Best of Our Knowledge, June 19, 2011.

This is a video of talk presented at “Xenakis: Past, Present, Future,” NYU Polytechnic, January 29-31, 2010. A slightly amended  also be included in a forthcoming collection of essays on Xenakis, entitled “Exploring Xenakis” on Pendragon press. Here is a quick précis: the talk attempts to challenges certain aspects of Xenakis’ work (mathematics, order and […]

Acousmate: history and de-visualised sound in the Schaefferian tradition. Published in Organised Sound 17:2 (Fall 2012): 179–188. Abstract: The word ‘acousmatic’ has a strange and complicated history. Recent Schaefferian accounts have replicated François Bayle’s sketch of the ‘histoire du mot’ from his Musique acousmatique, in particular, the assumed synonymy between ‘acousmatique’ and ‘acousmate’. However, this synonymy is […]

Acousmatic Fabrications: Les Paul and the Les Paulverizer. Journal of Visual Culture 10:2 (August 2011): 212-231. Abstract: Acousmatic sound—a sound that one hears without seeing the causes behind it—creates situations where visual contributions to auditory experience are diminished. I theorize that acousmatic separation unsettles the relationship of the source, cause and effect of sound. To draw […]

Music, Image Schemata and the “Hidden Art.” Nonsite 2 (Summer 2011), available online: http://nonsite.org/issue-2/music-image-schemata-and-the-hidden-art.

Published in Music Theory Spectrum 33:1 (2011): 27-36. Abstract: David Lewin’s “Music Theory, Phenomenology, and Modes of Perception” is a touchstone for phenomenologically influenced music theory, yet something puzzling remains about the role of perception in Lewin’s phenomenology. On the one hand, Lewin emphasizes the embodied nature of perception by arguing that perception is itself a type […]

I edited and wrote the introduction for a special issue of The Journal of Music Theory on Stanley Cavell’s “Music Discomposed at 40.” Journal of Music Theory, 54:1, Spring 2010. This issue emerged out of position papers and a panel organized by the Society for Music Theory’s Music and Philosophy Interest Group. We wanted to […]

Den mystiska akusmatiken Published in Nutida Musik, 3 (2008): 36-42, ©2008 International Society for Contemporary Music This is a Swedish translation of a talk entitled, “L’acousmatique mythique: reconsidering the acousmatic reduction and the Pythagorean veil,” delivered at the EMS08 conference in Paris, commemorating the 60th anniversary of musique concréte. It is availble in the EMS08 proceedings. In it, I […]

Review of Peter Szendy, Listen: a history of our ears Forthcoming in Current Musicology, Number 86, Winter 2009. Link to article

Published in Contemporary Music Review 27(6): 595-610, ©2008 Taylor & Francis. This article is part of a large issue dedicated to the music of Mathias Spahlinger and Nicolaus A. Huber, guest edited by Philipp Blume. It is the first substantial English-language publication on the work of these fine composers. Abstract: This paper employs a Wittgensteinian framework to describe […]

French translation published in Pierre Schaeffer: Portraits Polychromes No. 13 and English version published in Pierre Schaeffer: Portraits Polychromes No. 14, ed. Evelyne Gayou, ©2008 Institut national de l’audiovisuel. This is a short essay on the state of Pierre Schaeffer’s current reception in America. It addresses some of the interdisciplinary aspects of Schaeffer’s thinking and argues that, if there […]

Published in Current Musicology, Number 85, Spring 2008, 137-145. A review of Andy Hamilton, Aesthetics and Music. Link to article

Published in Organised Sound 12(1): 15-24, ©2007 Cambridge University Press. Abstract: The work of Pierre Schaeffer (theorist, composer and inventor of musique concrète) bears a complex relationship to the philosophical school of phenomenology. Although often seen as working at the periphery of this movement, this paper argues that Schaeffer’s effort to ground musical works in a ‘hybrid discipline’ […]

A paper read at Spark 2007, University of Minnesota, in Feb 2007. Abstract: This paper addresses issues involved in the formation of an aesthetics of Net music. The main factors considered are: 1) the affordances of networked communications, 2) digital ontology and de-differentiation, and 3) the lack of an essential relationship between digital ontology and […]

The Music Of Skepticism: Materiality, Intentionality, Forms of Life This, along with Anaphora, constitutes my doctoral dissertation. Here is a link to it, and here is the abstract: This dissertation addresses the role of skepticism in the theory, practice and philosophy of New Music. My aim is twofold: 1) to expose the anti-skeptical background behind the acousmatic […]

Talk delivered at Spark 2006: festival of electronic music and art, University of Minnesota, Friday, Feb. 24, 2006. The attached version is reproduced from the conference proceedings. Abstract: The development and refinement of real-time sound processing has important consequences for the aesthetic relevance of improvisation in the creation of “tape music.” While Andy Hamilton’s essay […]

Published in Array, Winter 2006, pp. 46-50. Published by the International Computer Music Association. A brief review of the Spark 2005 Festival of Electronic Music and Art, held at the University of Minnesota.     Link to article

Published in Qui Parle, Volume 14, Number 2, Spring/Summer 2004, pp. 117-143. In diagnosing the current state of music, composer Tristan Murail argues that “sound has been confused with its representations.” What would a music without representation sound like? Is it even possible to separate sound from representation? In what way is representation necessary in experiencing […]

Published in Qui Parle, Volume 15, Number 1, Fall/Winter 2004-5, pp. 169-174. A brief review of After Adorno by Tia DeNora. By plucking the methodological kernel from Adorno’s sociological works, while abandoning his systematic negation, DeNora tries to rethink the questions of music sociology. But at what price?     Link to Article

When is Art Research? Talk delivered at the conference When is art Research? at the Townsend Center, UCB, on Friday, Feb. 6, 2004. First, a brief diatribe about contemporary music and grant money, within the confines of the university. Then, I try to give an expanded definition of technique as a corrective to the one-sidedness […]