Drawing on Eastern philosophy, her own vocals, and an approach to experimental sound that connects to her experience as a poet, Jelena Glazova's distorted drones have a voice behind them. Photo courtesy the artist.

Drawing on Eastern philosophy, her own vocals, and an approach to experimental sound that connects to her experience as a poet, Jelena Glazova’s distorted drones have a voice behind them. Photo courtesy the artist.

Experimental noise art, drone music, and other forms – whatever you might call them – can unquestionably be an acquired taste. Absent the normal landmarks of harmonic and rhythmic structure, they raise questions about just what makes form – and accordingly, as a listener you can be lost in a unpleasantly-formless mass.

But in the music of Latvian sound artist and poet Jelena Glazova, as in the experimental sound I find most appealing, the experience is not cerebral so much as sensual. There is a conceptual background, but perhaps that’s what sound does so well: it can execute a concept in a way that is visceral. Sound by its very nature connects with the deepest recesses of our instinctual brain, and makes literal physical contact with our bodies, rumbling right into our guts. Here, her ideas about Eastern philosophy and poetry and drone tradition become audible and physical.

Some of this, of course, must be felt live. One of the better examples of Jelena’s music comes from a live show she did while touring, conveniently for me, blocks from my flat. That work crackles and roars as though aliens have intercepted the transmission to the PA. Listening to it in person can be transporting, the rattling bass buzzing beneath you. Her work stretches to the outer boundaries of distortion, digital and dynamic, pushing against the hard-red limit then retreating into rushes of more controlled sound textures.

Here’s a sound sample of that very performance:

Perhaps the reason these works speak in person is that Glazova fits her own voice into the sounds. The very formants may be distorted beyond recognition, but there’s somehow presence behind those abstract sounds. For her part, Glazova onstage is nearly frozen behind her laptop. Rather than resist the stereotype of the laptop artist, face aglow in blue, Glazova seems to embrace it, transfixed like a statue but for slight movements of her hands. There are videos composited and collaged behind her, but I found myself closing my eyes and imagining visual potentials possible only in the sound. Give yourself over to the work, and you can imagine landscapes full of yawning chasms, the surfaces vibrating with electricity.

Following a short tour, Glazova spoke from her home in Riga, Latvia about her work. She walked CDM through what you’ll find online:

On my Bandcamp I have live recordings (long pieces, 25-30min), shorter tracks – agressive short pieces (closer to minimal harsh noise) in “She clones herself”, calmer quiter ambient on “A breathing shadow”, monotonous walls of drone in “Red Material” (processed Sylvia Plath poems), minimalistic “A Man enters a grey cube” etc.

You’ll find those here:
http://jelenaglazova.bandcamp.com/
and there is also Soundcloud with few live recordings http://soundcloud.com/jelenaglazova

She also shares with CDM a bit of her musical technique:

At the moment, I primarily work with filtered recordings – usually of my own voice (as a generator) or other conceptually-justified material, heavily altering it and manipulating it with the help of digital processing. At the moment, I’m working in Ableton Live, but planning to switch to live coding in SuperCollider or Max/MSP.

I consider voice processing to be a kind of deconstruction of vocal elements – a form of expressing unpronounced speech – connecting it with my practice as a poet and the issue of physicality. Formally, that technique is inspired by the sound poetry tradition of using the human voice, having roots in Dadaism and Futurism. Drone/noise form is a metaphor for an eternally-flowing development of “primary” matter versus human body development ([at the] macrocosmic/microcosmic levels).

As you see, I consider myself a conceptual artist and am more interested in the philosophical justification of my work.

Among the other samples, here is a free downloadable set of live performances, plus some video collaborations. Glazova also routinely collaborates with other artists, including most recently musician and electronic instrument builder Derek Holzer, who helped organize the hacklab CDM hosted at CTM Festival earlier this year.

The artist at work, live.

The artist at work, live.

Videos, working with Zane Raudina:

REBORN LIVE @NAUDA/full performance/ from zane Raudiņa on Vimeo.

REBORN from zane Raudiņa on Vimeo.

Desription for the second video:

What is this?
A calendar, map, attractor, portal, tunnel, rift, compass, game, ledger, reflection, space, spiral, sign, movement, gateway, journey, time machine, memory, guide, path, door, year, projection, paradigm, adventure, discovery, creation, act, art, key, myth, legend, universe, quest, bridge, potential, tool, canvas, picture, extension, immortal trace, trip, pulse, breach, amplifier, image, vision, sequence, idea, testimony, language and power are just a few ways to identify this work, it is what you make of it, because symbols speak more than words.

And live selections:

Jelena’s bio doubles as a kind of artist statement, putting this in context:

Jelena Glazova is an artist and a poet from Rīga, Latvia. She is working in the interdisciplinary areas of contemporary art, combining in her works image, poetic text, experimental sound and installation.
Her signature sound might be described as experimental, drone and noise, usually constructed from processed vocals. As a conceptual artist she is primarily using her voice as a generator, heavily altering it and manipulating with a help of digital processing. She considers that type of vocal elements deconstruction as a form of expressing unpronounced speech – connecting it with her practice as a poet. As a visual artist she is often dealing with physicality, which is also a basis of her work as a sound artist.
Jelena started introducing her records to the public in 2011.
Started performing in 2012 – took part in experimental music and sound art festival Sound around Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad, Russia), Vilnius Noise Week (Vilnius, Lithuania), adventurous music festival Skaņu Mežs (Riga, Latvia), video festival Ūdensgabali (Waterpieces) (Riga, Latvia), Art’s Birthday electronic music festival 2013 (Stockholm, Sweden) etc.
Collaborated with artists and poets – Derek Holzer (US/DE), Alexei Borisov (RUS), Ernesto Estrella(ES/DE), Edvins Raups (LV), Constantine Katsiris ( Scant Intone, Canada), Platons Buravickis (LV) etc. Started performing with video artist Zane Raudina (LV) in summer 2012, audiovisual performance REBORN was shown at Ūdensgabali video festival in August 2012 – http://www.zaneraudina.net/reborn/
Jelena has chosen experimental and drone/noise form of expression after disappointment with tonal music, as she did not find it creative enough as a form of expression (she was playing few instruments and had classical vocal training, as adolescent performed parts in children’s operas).
She became interested in philosophical issues of sound self-sustainability (John Cage, La Monte Young etc.), historical origins of drone music (Ancient Eastern musical tradition), minimalism, especially mentioning inspiration from work of Eliane Radigue (an example of combining Eastern philosophy with the Western minimalist practices) and 20th century avant-garde and experimental music tradition. Jelena considers drone as a metaphor for eternal flowing development of “primordial”, “primary” matter on macrocosmic level as opposed to human body development’s physicality. Her sound is also formally inspired by sound poetry tradition of using human voice (dadaism, futurism practices) that is linking her sound work with her work as a poet.
She combines interest in postmodernism with its collage aesthetics and deconstruction practices (obtained BA at Latvian Academy of Culture with work on postmodernism in audiovisual culture) and interest in Eastern philosophy with the concepts of nothingness and eternal development.
Currently studying towards MA in audiovisual arts at Arts Academy of Latvia.

http://www.jelena-glazova.com

There are certainly many other examples of this kind of work, on a surface level, though I think Jelena’s approach philosophically is special and personal. It’s a reminder of the breadth of possibility in laptop music, though, that we can talk about this kind of music and something very different, so it’s nice to offer this small glimpse of one musical world.

  • how to tell a lie

    sorry, but she is absolutely talent free and boring

    • just passing

      Tell me. What exactly does your comment add to the field of human endeavour? Does it make you feel a little less alone, talentless and devoid of any value if you can point to someone else and say “look, they’re talentless and devoid of value too, and at least I’m not expending any effort about it”? Does the world seem somehow smaller and less confusing if, instead of simply shrugging, saying “not my taste” and moving on, you can clamber on someone else’s shoulders and shout your valueless opinion as though it were universal truth – and have it echoed back, as though from several mountain peaks at once? And if the world does owe you a duty to be entertained by all art at all times – which, I am sorry to break it to you, it does not – and if someone creates a performance of which you would disapprove, and someone else notifies you of that performance in the belief that you might find it interesting or diverting or otherwise of some small value – then surely your ire would be better directed at the person who so cruelly misjudged your taste, rather than the person whose performance you would never otherwise have had to endure the torturous disappointment of experiencing?

      Or perhaps school’s just been out a day too long, and you’re bored, and Mom hasn’t heard your most recent demand for milk and cookies. Basement rooms aren’t the best conductors of whining, after all.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Ah, but put yourself in her shoes – or mine. We can only sit, jealously wishing we were producing something worthwhile for society and culture, like anonymously insulting people in Web comments.

  • markLouis

    Think about an audience investing ten minutes in a listening experience. In the past, the audience might have heard something like the prog rock “Roundabout” or the folk-rock “American Pie” or the straight folk “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” Traditionally a long-form performance was about the creation, the song, the story shared by the performer with the audience. This new kind of stuff always seems very different, just narcissism, everything is just the performer making noises or the performer posing or the performer choosing this-or-that loop.

    I don’t think this kind of stuff, now, is about music, it’s about the performer, the posing, the “look at me” and noise is good for such stuff because it doesn’t distract from the performer’s endless demands to be looked at.

    • arvo

      past this particular artist what other artists do you think fall into that look at me make music instead of listen to me make music category? on the flip side. who do you know that makes interesting noise music? do you like noise music? do you consider it valid?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I think that comment is basely unfair. Jelena’s own performance persona, as I said, is really nondescript. She barely moves. She’s not wearing any particular costume or using any sort of prominent performance interface that gives me any indication that you’re supposed to be looking at the artist. She’s the focus of the images here because this is a story about an artist, and in stories about artists I try to show the artists and I choose images where they’re the focus and they look good.

      In fact, as I said, a bunch of these performances involve video collaboration. The idea is then presumably to look at the video.

      I eventually chose to close my eyes because that’s what worked for me – no offense to the video in the particular performance I saw (which was a bit like what you see in the top image), but I wanted to focus on the sound that particular evening.

      I’d love to give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I’m missing something. I’m just at a loss to explain your comments of this being “narcissism” as anything other than a double standard. She’s not posing; she’s sitting behind her laptop staying still. I’m not “posing” or being narcissistic as I write this comment. If I were in a performance, people might look at me. But if I was playing a video behind me that had nothing to do with me, then it’d be hard to describe me as being narcissistic.

    • markLouis

      I’m sorry you judge me to be base, unfair and to engage in double standards. I tried to make a specific point by comparing to specific performances from three other genres.

      “if I was playing a video behind me that had nothing to do with me, then it’d be hard to describe me as being narcissistic” — Just to comment on your example, if “you” choose to play a video behind “you” and you specifically choose something with cognitive dissonance, unrelated to what you’re doing, do you really fail to see why such an activity might reasonably be called narcissistic?

      When, for instance, Neil Peart builds a kind of wall of drums that hides him from the audience, it always seemed obvious to me that was more some kind of psychological issues Peart had with audience issues rather than simply percussion choices. But maybe I project, maybe I see psychology where I want to. I don’t know. Again, I want to say I’m sorry I caused such offense. I really just wanted to contrast this kind of content basically to long-form folk performances. I feel my point was valid. I see a big difference, and I believe the defining difference is the psychology of the performer. But, believe me, I’ve learned my lesson and I won’t do this again.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, really, I’m happy to try to understand what you’re saying. I just don’t know that we have the same definition of narcissism – other than it could conceivably be applied to any performer someone doesn’t like, the act of performance itself being arguably an act of narcissism.

      To be relevant here, it seems that something in the performance would have to say “look at me.” I don’t see how adding video does that. If the video for you isn’t connected with the performance, that’s absolutely a valid criticism, but it’s a big leap to assume somehow — what? The performer is running a video that’s *intentionally* disconnected from the performance hoping you’ll look at him or her instead? I think the video would have to be a lot more explicitly dissonant for that to be an assumption.

  • Psss

    who is the point?…is a beatiful women making boring noise?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That depends on your perspective regarding beauty, noise, and boredom. Again, see all laptop music performance, ever, and adjust for your perspective.

  • Benjamin Royce McLain

    One could call these performances “Art” by applying the understanding of internal turmoil and the revealing of the sub-conscious that came about through Abstract Expressionist painting in the 1940′ and 50′s, and it’s satirical counterpart, DaDaism before that.

    I would not refer to Glazova’s work as “Music”, however, and she carefully avoids the term in her “philosophical justification” of her work. Music is concerned with rhythm and human emotions and spirituality. Droning is fine for this, as are Gregorian Chants, The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka, and even African Tribal drums. But these forms of Music do not have the need to justify themselves. Their impact and emotional transfer is based on their very Humanity. When that Humanity is removed, and replaced by abstract electronic noises, an emotionless coldness emerges, and I would assume that this is Glazova’s intent, and also her statement about contemporary existence: We will all eventually become “nothing”. A bit pessimistic, (maybe), and Atheistic, (likely), but pretentious Philosophical analyses and explanations about the depths of “nothing” will always add up to “nothing”.

    I, for one, would hope that Glazova is trying to issue a warning about our loss of humanity due to digital self obsession, and this coldness is not what is really inside this beautiful young woman.

    She should perform in the nude. Then you would have something.

    • http://twitter.com/ben_carey Benjamin Carey

      I think many people would reject your point of view that music ‘is concerned with rhythm and human emotions and spirituality’ – myself included. Personally, one of my favourite quotes about music comes from the Spanish sound artist/electro-acoustic composer Francisco Lopez, working in the most part with field recordings – ‘Music is listening to any sound with dedication’.

      It’s a shame that you choose to ignore a large part of contemporary music history with statements like this… noise and drone are extremely visceral forms of musical experience, and have much more to do with stillness and human connection with an evolving sonic mass than ‘expressing’ something in particular. The emotional coldness you express is a very subjective reading of her work.. I found some of this extremely warm and enveloping – I can just imagine how it would have felt live.

      It’s also a shame you chose to end on such a misogynist note… it’s fine to have different opinions on someone’s work, but I find that really quite disrespectful on your part.

      Thanks Peter for continuing to share some experimental work once in a while…

    • Blob

      ‘Music is listening to any sound with dedication’. Good one, and thanks for directing us to Francisco Lopez’ work, I wasn’t aware of his existence. Much like Jelena’s stuff, not usually the type of work I’m into, but some of the ambiences he creates are impressive. He has a great grasp of tension and application of almost imperceptible sonic details, while some of Jelena’s tracks seem to be a bit more aggressive and she seems to play more with contrast..

    • http://twitter.com/ben_carey Benjamin Carey

      You’re very welcome – always happy to put people onto Lopez’s works… some great stuff

    • just passing

      If she is cold, I think your last paragraph might offer some hint of why. I wonder how many days she has been alive, and how many times a day she has heard herself reduced to her form.

    • RedSun

      This is fascinating, thanks Peter. I am surprised by the reactionary comments on a site that covers a broad spectrum of musical output . Post modernism converges with Eastern mysticism – speaks to me of an integration of the spiritual and art and I sense that in her textures and references to Nature in the videos. Hardly nihilistic.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Thanks! I’m, unfortunately, not surprised. See my comment above.

    • markLouis

      ” I wonder … how many times a day she has heard herself reduced to her form”

      If her goal is “provoking a viewer to see the image differently (according to the society’s dominating stereotypes) hence the act of perception is being manipulated with the purpose of analytical thinking stimulation” then it is hardly supportive to be critical of people who participate by allowing themselves to be provoked.

    • just passing

      But “differently” only makes sense in the context of differing FROM “society’s dominating stereotypes”, and Mr McLain has clearly failed to be so provoked.

      And I bet you thought you were being terribly clever, too. Poor love.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Hey, at least this is explicitly sexist and not veiled in some way.

      I feel like a human, and I’m not particularly self-obssesed. I’m happy with my body and appearance. I might make the decision to be part of a performance that involved me being nude. But I would rather prefer that someone know me a little before they made that kind of comment.

  • iq_zero

    hardcore narcissism

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Well, maybe playing laptops live is narcissistic; maybe what I do is. I like your iambic minimalist comment without explanation, though.

  • james

    Well i enjoyed this and would love to see her perform these live. I don’t really understand the hate here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004062940771 Robert Delarue

      there’s always going to be people that don’t understand noise, dadaism, automatism,avant garde ideas,etc.. the type of people that say ,regarding let’s say a Jackson Pollock painting: ” my kid could do better, this is what you call art?” . Then they start rambling about the state of art nowadays and calling it narcissism. What? We don’t have the same definition of narcissism.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I mean, it seems people are either uncomfortable with this being experimental, or uncomfortable with her being female, or both. I see some constructive criticism, and then I see some things that are just insults. I might sometimes moderate the latter, but here it’s more fun to wait and see if people shoot them down.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      … but I will say, hey, what we do get on the Web is an indication that some people are made uncomfortable by certain things, and maybe that’s a good thing.

  • anon

    im glad to see some drone here… pitty the fool who don’t like drone

    • anon

      now that I have had a chance listen to it more, its more of the harsh noise variety. good, but not what i’d call drone

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      That’s fair, though I suppose there really aren’t hard rules – “drone” was a term she used which in her descriptions were for me connected to what she was taking from Eastern music traditions that do use drones. Noise drone? ;)

  • the beige channel

    Good stuff. Reminds me of the old days: late 90′s. I like it.

  • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

    Generally, this story has been successful – people are sharing it and responding well. But then we have this little issue in comments below, and I feel moved to say something.

    Some comments repeatedly refer to what Jelena looks like, to narcissism, and image. I had to re-read what she wrote, just to make sure I was giving people the benefit of the doubt: she made absolutely no reference to anything that could be remotely construed that way.

    I actually fully expected many people to decide they didn’t like the music. That’s why I posted it. This isn’t necessarily the sort of sound I normally listen to, even. But I went to this performance with an open mind, and had an experience I felt was worth writing about.

    But some of these comments aren’t about the music; they’re overtly about Jelena and what she looks like, to the point of projecting on her intentions that she never talks about or presents in her performance. So, this isn’t subtle – it’s the very definition of sexism if people are making an issue of what the person looks like as a woman in a way that had no context whatsoever in the story.

    I certainly reserve the right to show images of artists in stories about those artists, and I would always encourage artists to make those images flattering or in some way non-boring, whatever their gender. I don’t think there’s anything in those images, either, that’s out of the ordinary; this is pretty standard stuff. (I sure as hell want press photos of myself that are flattering. That’s not narcissism; that’s the point of a press photo.)

    People are regularly critical of music posts here – part of why I continue writing them; the point isn’t necessarily to please everyone with every post, or it’d be an indication I wasn’t taking any risks or presenting a point of view. And I’m happy to have that happen.

    In this case I’m inclined to leave these comments out there so we can just have it out. I think sometimes these issues need to be visible.

    Well, this time, anyway. Of course, I can’t control what comments appear here. I can moderate them after they’re posted, but they are the random comments of anonymous strangers. I don’t know to what extent they’re representative, though I do know very few readers out of the scores of people who read the site add comments.

    I’m just going to keep posting. If this sort of thing happens each time I cover a female artist, then I will just start deleting comments.

    • http://www.dylandigits.com dylan digits

      This is the reason I visit CDM daily while never touching the other similar sites. Not only is sexism not welcome here, but the creator/moderator can explain in detail why it’s not acceptable. Cheers, Peter.

      (BTW I don’t care for Drone so I have nothing else to say about the article.)

    • error

      dear mr. Kirn drop the gender bullshit please
      mediocrity is gender free (i wonder do you ever mentioned someone like her if it was the man?)
      Maja Ratkje, Kaffe Matthews, Holly Herndon and many other brilliant female artists know something about sound, care about the sound and not just mindlessly jerking off the distortion fx in Ableton+covering it up with random texts without even slightest sense of self critique

      so it seems she is noticed (oh and now i am jealous of course) just because she is a woman, a woman in “male dominated electronic scene” blah blah

      to be good it is not enough to be a woman, i think

      seems many think otherwise
      and “sexing it up” helps
      so good news for someone like J.

      if this is offensive and you want to keep it “nice and clean”
      go ahead, delete it

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I didn’t delete anything.

      Two reflections:

      One, simply being an asshole and not being sexist isn’t exactly progress. (Seriously. Next concert you go to, go tell the artist, to their face, you think they’re “jerking off.” Or try using your real name on comments.)

      Second thought: if you’re trying to prove that any gender component is just in my head, why do you a) accuse me of only covering Jelena because she’s female, and b) claim she or other female artists are “sexing it up”? This … is helping your argument?

      I mean, here’s a thought. If you ** care about sound **, talk about sound. Talk about these artists. Don’t destroy your own argument by being needlessly mean and immature.

    • Blob

      “Error”, your comment actually seemed it had something meaningful underneath all the apparent vitriol, because I am as anti-PC as they come and I agree that an artist should not be showcased simply because she is a woman.

      And then the mask comes off with the infantile “sexing it up” remark.

      How is Jelena “sexing it up”, might I ask? If you feel “sexed up” just by looking at her quietly standing in front of a laptop and presenting her work, that has absolutely fuck-all to do with the music. Grow up.

    • 000

      ” repeatedly refer to what Jelena looks like, to narcissism, and image”
      well, she has apparently chosen to present herself in this way therefor why not judge the imagery. why not reject any visual information at all than?

      and this noise indeed is incredibly boring entry-level drone, weak conceptually and equally bleak sound-wise

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yes, she shows up at gigs looking like herself and sits behind the computer she’s operating, here I would say wearing a nondescript, loose fitting white shirt and, in a departure from cultural norms for women, some makeup.

      Also, in images of her performing, she is there performing in the image.

      She has chosen to present herself in this way, yes, in that she’s not wearing a bag over her head or hiding under a tarp. In that she is physically in the space, it is possible to see her head and face. Radical stuff, this.

  • Strawk

    I still can’t understand why people feel the need to voice there opinion instantly on what is or what is not music or the equivalent what is art. It never leads to interesting conversation just the same old tired argument of ‘I don’t like it – flimsy justification, stop doing it/covering it’ etc. I’m happy to see you covering stuff like this and hope you continue to

    I think the unfortunate thing is that some people haven’t got to experience music like this live, in a venue which allows you to immerse yourself into the sound. It can be an extremely visceral and tactile experience.

    Whether it is devoid of humanity or not is interesting, my own opinion is that that is a very subjective judgement based on current social values. I find music like this can be extremely human orientated, as you say yourself Peter the bass can be likened to the use of Bourdon in Organ music to shake the building or peoples stomach. Use of voice as raw material is especially evocative and its transformation through digital means is a symbolic act hard to ignore. However to base judgement of the piece on that alone is like judging painting on whether it smells good.

    Aesthetically music like this trades rhythm for texture, pointillism versus smoothness Ultimately I think it boils down to contrast and for larger pieces it requires a clever use of Loud and Soft dynamical contrast. That is by its very nature one of the most important of musical devices, something we as humans react to instinctively and requires a good musical talent to work with in an improvised context. Unfortunately live recordings so often lose this aspect and should be considered inferior to actually being there so I couldn’t make a judgement for these pieces.

    Narcissism is an odd argument to make considering that person did not attend the performance, furthermore the piece is improvised and presented live which presumes a certain engagement with space and people. I can’t help but feel that particular criticism has sexists overtones.

    I personally feel that her choice to perform in a nondescript manner and limit movement is the weakest part of this, costume/performance and new means of digital interaction are oft overlooked parts of Drone/noise improvisation often given up with visual projection in place which does not add but detracts from both. This is not a laptop playing music, it is a human being and as such exploration of means to visually reinforce that are important (less we here ‘Sure they are only checking their emails up there’ for the 1000th time) However I wasn’t there so take that criticism with a grain of salt.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Well said.

      I think that is a valid criticism, the way she appeared in performance. That’d be my first criticism, too, but then, I think I am more urgently directing it at myself — thinking about appearance, stage presence, costume.

      We, performers, can truly be objects of desire, imagination, disgust. That’s true of men and women, men attracted to men, women attracted to women, turned on, turned off, bored, whatever. I think one unfortunate part of so much of this kind of discussion being motivated by sexism is, we aren’t free to talk about what it means. I could get up and play and have someone in the audience crushing on me. I could get up and play dressed as an elephant, or as a carrot.

      In some way, even the image of people illuminated by laptops has taken on its own meaning. It can be permission that, hey, they’re doing *something* – feel free to ignore them and get lost in the music. I’ve felt that way at some performances, so I can’t always say that I’m personally offended when someone is motionless behind a laptop. It doesn’t bother me any more, and it’s been true at some of my favorite performances.

      At the same time, there are whole worlds of possibility that people can still explore.

      And we can do all of this in a way that we don’t, anonymous and faceless, in blog comments. So we should enjoy it – and create an environment that’s safe and supportive enough that any other men and women feel free to play around when they play.

    • Blob

      Strawk, in my comment below I mention some of my misgivings regarding this sort of music and performance (or presentation) technique – but you bring up a very important point. “Immersion” in sound is necessary to fully appreciate these musical pieces and sometimes this can only be obtained in a venue with proper surround sound system and conditions.

    • Blob

      PS – you are also spot on regarding the digital interaction issues. As for the sexist overtones, I think the misogynistic trolls probably have had their fill by now.

  • Blob

    I’m not sure how interesting her live performance actually is. Mostly I steer clear from “performances” with laptop-only artists, they are universally boring regardless of the sound coming out of the speakers. I would have to actually see her performance to make a fully informed, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t change my opinion. Music wise it’s also not my cup of tea to begin with. think the problem with noise / drone / etc and its post-modernist
    connections is… precisely the post-modernist connections and the
    production of art, or attempts at art, that always need philosophical
    and obscure conceptual justification.

    In any case, the soundscapes are interesting and pleasently hypnotic, good use of dynamics and contrasts. Again, not my cup of tea as a genre, but well constructed. Her music, or “sonic art” does make sense when joined with video.

    As a final note, I’d like to thank Peter for writing an article that not only exposes us to new music and perspectives (regardless of whether we’ll like it or not) but also gives us a rough idea of how many of CDM’s readers live in their mom’s basement. Some of the comments here are deliciously moronic.

  • shim

    wow gotta love the intertoobs these days, everybody’s so quick to judge, so violently reactionary…the tone here reminds me of why i quit art school; the real scary narcissistic art student loving the sound of its own voice only, of demanding to have its opinion heard and debated at length only to get nowhere and offer nothing of value. deconstruction just to destroy. debate just to conquer.

    personally, i lovelovelove experimental/noise/avant/drone so if you wanna try something spicy laurie anderson’s cannon, lustmord, robert fripp or even noveller/sarah lipstate.

    i would have liked to see more of what she is doing process wise.

    more stuff like this!

  • NewMath

    I like to create drone/experimental music in my free time for those interested: Drone/dream pop/experimental group for your consideration: https://soundcloud.com/newmath-1/sets/epigenesis