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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.

I was going through some old recordings and found this gem. Hal Stein was a jazz giant with a wonderful sense of humor and ferocious approach to the tenor saxophone. He passed away a few years ago after living a beautiful jazz life. What an honor it was for me to get to work with […]

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

This is a recording of El Muco at the Subtropics Festival in Miami, March 20th, 2011. For this recording Scott and I both used the same SuperCollider patch, known as the “Flooper.” It is a large feedback network, where every unit is patchable into every other unit. It builds complex and slowly-evolving layers of sound […]

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.

A piece for flute and electronics, commissioned for the Moving Sounds festival 2010.

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.

Documentation of a student’s independent study project on analog synths, undertaken in the 2012-13 academic year.

A room recording of El Muco (Scott Petersen and Brian Kane) at the IBeam, Brooklyn, Feb 12, 2010. For this set we improvised with hacked electronics routed through various signal processing units written in SuperCollider. More documentation here.

A playlist to accompany the exhibition, “Instructions Not Included,” ArtSpace, NewHaven, November 9, 2012 — January 26, 2013.

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 […]

  A short article on Ecuatorial and its connections to Varèse’s modernism. The text set by Varèse is based on the Popul Vuh, and has a long and unusual history. I trace this history in some detail, in order to show the multiple levels of mediation between the text’s “origin” and its reception by Varèse. […]

This article analyzes Morton Feldman’s last piece, entitled Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello. The first part identifies the various types of musical material appearing in the piece, and characterizes some features of Feldman’s late style. The second part looks at timbre, rhythm and organization in order to glean Feldman’s larger formal concerns. I argue that Feldman […]

There is much evidence that Cézanne was an avid reader of Lucretius. But just how far did his commitment to classical atomism go? This article speculates upon the question: what if Cézanne was an Epicurean? How does this change the way we look at his paintings? Limiting myself to the portraits, I try to interpret […]

For old times sake, here are some recording of the Brian Kane Trio. These were recorded before 2006, in my days in Berkeley. This trio used to play every week at place called the Townhouse in Emeryville, CA. This was a great place to hear jazz, with good acoustics, a nice bar–but a terrible piano! […]

A fabulous swing band. Here are a few tracks that feature the guitarist! Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? – a real tear-jerker. I’m Still in Love with You – man, get down with your bad self. The Man From the South – quite possibly the dumbest song ever!

A sophisticated trio with an unusual instrumentation: piano, guitar and bass. This trio worked for many years at Houston’s in San Francisco’s Embarcado, often multiple times a week. It allowed for the group to develop huge repertoire of songs, some quite obscure, each with a unique arrangement. Jason and I were insipired by many of […]

Victoria Williams is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard, with an absolutely unique style and voice. She also has recorded, over the years, many jazz standards. These two tracks come from Victoria Williams Sings Some Ol’ Songs, a record she and I co-produced over the course of a few years. Learn more about […]

Here is a track from almost a decade ago. I’m playing alto saxophone in an Ornette Coleman cover band name And/Ornette. Yes, you heard right — an Ornette cover band! Blues Connotation Jonas Mueller, Trumpet George Cremasci, Bass Andy Borger, Drums

This is a unusual piece for piano and electronics, written for Sebastian Berweck. The electronics are based on recordings of shovelling mud and the piano part involves a variety of transcriptions. Sebastian Berweck, piano. Recorded live on November 5, 2007 at Payne Hall, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Program Note: “Distance, no matter how close the […]

A large composition for string orchestra, harp and piano, approx. 25 minutes. It is included as the final part of my doctoral dissertation. The recording presented here comprises excerpts from the entire piece, read by the Berkeley Symphony as part of their Under Construction series, December 10, 2006. The Berkeley Symphony, cond. George Thompson Program […]

This is an semi-improvised piece for piano, guitar, accordion, violin, cello and live electronics, conducted by stopwatch. The players follow a score which determines playing technique, general duration, and manner of entering/exiting. The electronics are mixed live, and were programmed in Max/MSP. Two versions of this piece are available (and quite dramatically different): 1) The […]

An ongoing cycle of electro-acoustic pieces and sound installations of various lengths, characters, and formats. Much of the source material is borrowed, derived, or based on animal and human sounds. This archive of material is then re-configured and transformed into various projects. Three such projects are: 1. A series of short electronic studies. First public […]

This is a piece for solo piano, approx. 10 minutes in length. Three kinds of musical material are developing simultaneously, and begin to interact in surprising ways. It is my first foray into computer aided composition; much of the material was generated with OpenMusic, and developed intuitively afterwards. Michael Seth Orland, Piano Recorded live at […]

This work for solo violin was inspired by the work of artist David Rabinowitch and is fondly dedicated to him. David Ryther, Violin Recorded live at the Berkeley Arts Center, Nov. 9th, 2003 Program Note: ”Measure is the Heaven of Desire” was written as a response to my encounter with the sculptor David Rabinowitch and his […]

Winner, De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition. This is a three movement work for clarinet and string quartet, approx. 22 minutes in length. The piece is based on the writings of three Greek philosophers: Heraclitus, Parmenides, and Epicurus. The Berkeley Contemporary Chamber Players Peter Josheff, clarinet Karen Shinozaki, Cary Koh, violins Darcy Rindt, viola Leighton […]

This is an electronic work based on Beethoven’s Melodram for Glass Harmonica and Reciter. The piece uses a wide variety of electronic music techniques to create an unusual musical narrative. The piece was realized in Berkeley, using MAX/MSP, Audio Sculpt, Open Music and ProTools. Beethoven’s Melodram, for glass harmonica with recitation, was composed in 1814 […]

Winner, De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition A short song cycle for soprano, piano, clarinet and cello. The songs are composed on three ecphrastic sonnets: the first a description of a tapestry, the second a cathedral, and the third a statue of Achilles. The settings attempt to embody Santayana’s startling naturalism. Karen Hall, soprano Marika […]

This is a short piece for woodwind quintet, approx. 3 minutes in length. The basic material comes from a recording of woodpeckers, which was found on an old 45 rpm record called Akustische Kuriosa, distributed by the Experimentalstudio Gravesano. No recording available

This is an electronic work in which all the sounds are computer generated. It is tightly constructed using a limited repertoire of sounds, all of which are modeled on inharmonic spectra. This piece was realized on my home computer in Berkeley, using MAX/MSP, AudioSculpt and ProTools.

A short rhythm study, approx. 5 min. An early version of this piece was performed at Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, in 2001. No recording available

A three movement sonata for piano. The piece integrates a series of compositional techniques into a large multi-movement work. Hadley McCarroll, piano Recorded live at Hertz Hall, UC Berkeley, Dec. 6th, 2000. 1st movement: 2nd movement: 3rd movement: Program Note: The “Sonata for Piano” was composed as an attempt to consolidate various compositional techniques used […]

A chamber piece for clarinet, bassoon, french horn, violin, viola, and cello. The piece is constructed in five short movements, which surround a series of polyrhythmic duos and trios, exploiting the unusual instrumentation. Duration: approx. 15 minutes. No recording available

An integrated set of pieces for solo clarinet, based on a five note motive. Matt Ingalls, clarinet Recorded live at The Capp Street Community Music Center, San Francisco, Jan. 27th, 2001.

A short work for clarinet, viola and contrabass. Each piece utilizes a different compositional technique. Duration: approx. 20 minutes. First performed by: Peter Josheff, clarinet Ellen Ruth Rose, viola Michael Taddei, bass No recording available

Commissioned by the Snooty Chamber Orchestra. The instrumentation is violin, viola, cello, bass, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and bassoon, plus conductor. Between movements the conductor directs the ensemble in partially notated improvisations. Duration: variable, 10-20 minutes. Premiered by the Snooty Chamber Orchestra, at Bruno’s, San Francisco. No recording is available.

This is a short piece that explores extended techniques on the viola. Duration: approx. 8 minutes. No recording available

For two string quartets, bass, and three percussionists. This piece integrates notation and improvisation to create broad, monolithic textures. The ensemble is co-ordinated by stopwatch, rather than conductor. Duration: 32 minutes. Premiered at the Crucible Steel Gallery, San Francisco, 1996. No recording available

Here is an improvisation by Matt Ingalls (clarinet) and myself (on alto saxophone) performed live at KZSU on March 28, 1996, for the Day of Noise. Sorry for the poor sound quality of this recording — it came right off the board and onto a cassette tape.