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Program 616: Sound Art

KALW Broadcast Date: September 4, 2020 | Host: Mark Abramson

In this episode of Music From Other Minds, we’ll take a look at some music that might be described better as “sound art.” This is music made with found sound, synthesizer drones, video game sounds, ambient recordings, custom-made instruments, scientific instruments, accidental and improvised sounds. Featured artists include Akio Suzuki, who often works on one-of-a-kind instruments of his own design, like the Analapos, which creates echoes through a spiral cord stretched between two metal cylinders; Aki Onda, best known for his “Cassette Memories” series, a set of sound diaries made from field recordings taped using a portable cassette recorder; and William Basinski, who employs advanced and obsolete technology with analogue tape loops to make haunting and melancholy soundscapes. We’ll also hear from Ai Yamamoto, a sound escape artist from Japan, now based in Melbourne, Australia, Lawrence English, another Australian who also runs the Room 40 record label which releases work by many of these artists, and DJ Olive, an American turntablist known for pushing the limits of hip hop into, well, sound art. In addition we play a few tracks from the Conet Project. These are recordings of shortwave broadcasts made during the cold war by radio stations of unknown origin, believed to be operated by government agencies from both sides of what was then called “The Iron Curtain” in order to communicate with deployed spies.

Program Audio

30-Second Spot

Track Info & Links

Title: Hapless Gatherer
Composer: Lawrence English
Performers: Lawrence English
Recording Title: Wilderness of Mirrors (2014) 
Record Label: Room 40
Catalog Number: RM460


Title: Something Shimmering Above
Composer: Lawrence English, Ai Yamamoto
Performers: Lawrence English, Ai Yamamoto
Recording Title: Plateau (2007) 
Record Label: Phono-Statique Records
Catalog Number: P-S 007


Title: NNN (Disc 3 Track 11), Magnetic Fields Different Voice (Disc 3 Track 9), NNN German (Disc 2 Track 7)
Composer: Field Recording
Performers: n/a
Recording Title: The Conet Project – Recordings of Shortwave Numbers Stations
Record Label: Irdial Discs
Catalog Number: 59 3rd tcp1


Title: 360 Degrees, Tickling Water, Skyscraper, Make A Wish
Composer: Ai Yamamoto
Performers: Ai Yamamoto
Recording Title: Euphonious (2019)
Record Label: Room 40
Catalog Number: DRM455


Title: Flickering Lights
Composer: Aki Onda
Performers: Aki Onda
Recording Title: Ancient and Modern (Cassette Memories Volume One) (2020)
Record Label: Room 40
Catalog Number: DRM456


Title: Do Ko Ka Ra, Ma Ta Ta Bi
Composer: Akio Suzuki, Aki Onda
Performers: Akio Suzuki, Aki Onda
Recording Title: Ma Ta Ta Bi (2014)
Record Label: Oral Records
Catalog Number: ORAL 61


Title: 1, 3
Composer: Gregor Asch (DJ Olive), Lawrence English, Heinz Reigler, Tam Patton
Performers: Gregor Asch (DJ Olive), Lawrence English, Heinz Reigler, Tam Patton
Recording Title: Powerhouse Session, DJ Olive Meets I/03 (2002)
Record Label: Room 40
Catalog Number: EDRM400


Title: Willow Over Easy
Composer: Gregor Asch (DJ Olive)
Performers: Gregor Asch (DJ Olive)
Recording Title: Polk Street (2016)
Record Label: Record Blanks
Catalog Number:


Title: On Time Out Of Time
Composer: William Basinski
Performers: William Basinski
Recording Title: On Time Out Of Time (2019)
Record Label: Temporary Residence Ltd.
Catalog Number: TRR 311

William Basinski. Photo by Danilo Pellegrinelli.
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