UDC 78.02:004.083.44

Sean Russel-Hallowell

Stanford University
San Francisco, United States

Author’s contact information:

INSAM Journal of Contemporary Music, Art and Technology, Issue 3, 2019

Main Theme of the Issue: Retro Tendencies in Music, Art and Theory

Publisher: INSAM Institute for Contemporary Artistic Music, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina


Abstract: This essay explores the practical and theoretical dimensions of composing with analog tape in a post-digital age. Its point of departure is the belief that, instead of dismissing them as outmoded and impractical, we ought to embrace analog devices as invaluable tools for exploring the liminal realm in which encounters between concrete reality and abstract form take place. By working on sound as continuously varying electrical voltage as opposed to binary units of discrete value, a variety of compositional possibilities disclose themselves, particularly in relation to techniques of permutational variation. By reflecting on such techniques as implemented with analog rather than digital tools, crucial aesthetic insights emerge. The question of analog timbre is likewise explored, specifically in terms of aesthetic properties that testify to the unique physical origins of any given sound. Phenomenology as conceived and practiced by Husserl serves as a framework for these investigations. Its distinctive tools and methods enable exploration of the metaphysical dimensions of perceptual facts uncovered during encounters with analog and digital audio devices.

Keywords: analog and digital signal processing, permutational techniques
of composition, timbre in electronic and electroacoustic music, the
phenomenology of sound, musical temporality


ISSN 2637 – 1898
COBISS.BH-ID 26698502
On the cover: Milan Milojković, Kim-1 klon
 Design and layout: Milan Šuput, Bojana Radovanović

The Journal is indexed in:
CEEOL – Central and Eastern European Online Library
RILM – Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale

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