A History of Sound Collage

PART ONE Sound collages until 1969 – 41min[audio http://www.newtoy.org/mp3s/MIXES/AHoSC1.mp3]

PART TWO Sound collages from 1970 – 65min[audio http://www.newtoy.org/mp3s/MIXES/AHoSC2.mp3]

Podcasts surveying the history of sound collage since the begining.

The program mentions three types of sound collages.

[] Sequential sound collage that uses an editing technique that is not dissimilar to film editing technique which later developed to Electroacoustic and Acousmatic music. (most Musique Concréte, cut ups, Negativland, Cassetteboy etc)

[] Sound collage that augments a particular rhythm, musical and narrative theme (some hip hop, bastard pop, 2manyDJs, dancefloor mash ups, most music that has elements of sound collage)

[] Simultaneous sound collage which superimposes layers of different musical sources over each other.

The last category is the one this podcast focuses on for the latter half of the 20th Century until today.
Warning:: PART ONE is a bit more of a difficult listen due to the experimental and conceptual nature of the sound collages in the early days.

Music by: Spax, François Bayle, Mozart, Pierre Schaefer, Pierre Henry, Walter Ruttmann, Edgar Varese, Arthur Lyman, Charles Ives, Tristan Tzara, John Cage, , Nam June Paik, Stockhausen, Bernard Parmegianni, The Beatles, Timothy Leary and Ash Ra, Pink Floyd, The Residents, Christian Marclay, Wim Wenders, Hirsche Nicht Aufs Sofa, John Oswald, Marilyn Manson, Lionel Marchetti, Calibri Necrophile, Joseph Hammer and Joel Cahen.


Wrote an article about Destructivist activities on a social, personal and artistic level

Download PDF

Here is the first section:

Joel Cahen (2012)


With our present day awareness, the arts as we have known them up to now appear to us in general to be fakes fitted out with a tremendous affectation. Let us take leave of these piles of counterfeit objects on the altars, in the palaces, in the salons and the antique shops. They are an illusion with which, by human hand and by way of fraud, materials such as print, pieces of cloth, metals, clay or marble are loaded with false significance, so that, instead of just presenting their own material self, they take on the appearance of something else. Under the cloak of intellectual aim, the materials have been completely murdered and can no longer speak to us.
Jiro Yoshihara – Expropriated from The Gutai Manifesto (1956)

Love the fact that we humans begin our attack with such ferocity only to be worn down 2mins later. Very un-ape like. Then with our limp limbs and unable to singlehandedly destroy we form teams to increase the damage caused. It was great to at long last depreciate our attachment to stuff and learn just how difficult it is to destroy them…. Initially it felt gladiatorial but consumed by so much lack of brawn, the bashing does become emotional, sometimes I was sad for some objects, but in truth it was probably the most passion I ever gave to them – wonderful.
– Stephen (text message following Scrap Club 11Sep11)

 For myself, the burning of the harpsichord didn’t so much symbolise a jettisoning of the past, as it did a release of the incessant clinging to tradition (any tradition) to the degree that it stems creativity and responsiveness in the present. To be honest, the burning of the harpsichord was perhaps the most creative (and honest) act that I could contribute with the instrument at that point in my practice. – Bill Thompson (on his Harpiscord Burning piece 2006)

It was orgasmic! I felt totally empowered!’ – Miklos (text message following Scrap Club 11Sep11)

It is the denaturing and abstraction of the actual experience of destruction that is the triumph of the technology of that destruction. In this situation, great care must be exercised to prevent theoretical abstractions from becoming part of the suppression of actual experience that culminates in the denial of identity altogether. Such denials conspire in the destruction of bodies and are the unforgivable consequence of mistaking the map for the territory
Kristine Stiles Ph.D. ‘Selected Comments on Destruction Art’ – Book for Unstable Media (1992)


The following text presents questions, possible answers, and tangential thoughts that have surfaced to mind throughout the last five years (since April 2007) of staging the public Destructivist activity that is Scrap Club. It began as an idea shared with Wajid Yaseen as a response to a re-enactment of an Einstürzende Neubauten performance at the ICA in which we both participated in Feb 2007. On stage we were using heavy tools such as a banyorammer, drills, angle grinders and hammers to play a scored sonic action. The destructive element of the action was appealing in itself, in fact it was exhilarating. We resolved that everyone should experience that, and a sober view of the extensive surplus of defunct objects on the streets proved that there was no lack of stuff to smash.

Over the next five years we have set up 15 public Scrap Club events, in warehouses, open spaces, clubs, galleries, festivals and on the street, in London, Amsterdam and Newcastle. The response was impressive in the way it touched the participants across ages, genders and characters. There was more to it than mindless aggressive expression. Participants revealed a core value in their expression of focussed and intentional destruction. Intentional destruction, hereafter referred to as Destructivist, is such a powerful dynamic in society, yet often debatable in its true motive. It is associated with offensive violence, vandalism and chaos, yet also with constructive and creative processes, it is how the destructive forces in nature express themselves through human action. By framing the direct experience of destruction in such an explicit manner and without any pretence other than its physical expression, can the human destructive dynamic be interrogated before it accumulates prescribed meaning? Will this process clarify the motives for destructive actions in culture, society and between people?

Sicily iXEM Festival

I am taking part since Thu the 8th Dec (birthday!) at IXEM Festival taking place in Favignana and Palermo in Sicily. The festival started off at an old Tuna factory – the largest in Europe – with performances, workshops and discussions. I am involved through Modus who are participating in the pan-European Open Sound Network meetings in 2011-2013.

I will be playing with J Milo Taylor and Wajid Yaseen on Sunday night in a quadrophonic performance at a church in Palermo.


Three events exploring simultaneous playback.
At the Library (01Dec).
At the Apiary(25Nov).
On the Radio(18Nov).

Sound is perceived simultaneously, it is omni-directional. Its easier to recognise patterns in a sound collage than in a visual collage, although the peephole of attention can remain similarly wide/narrow.

The occurrence of a simultaneous sound collage is constantly being perceived. There is a constant state of Gestalt Listening, whereby sound content is heard and regarded as a whole, informing of the cultural or environmental context and space it is perceived in. The coherence of the context the sounds occur in, slots them into distinct coherent patterns. When there is a discordance between the context, and its expected patterns, and the sound heard, then it can sound like Cacophony.

In the context of a sound event called Cacophony, the invited artists are at liberty to design sound collages with little reference to any familiar patterns and regard subjective cultural or contextual association in sound as a valid element in composition. It expands its use beyond the casual sequenced and sampled to create a meta-composition that encourages Gestalt listening – expanding the listeners’ attention to include the omniphonic and synchronous attributes of sound perception.

From Iakov Chernikhov’s – The Elements of Form (1927)
The fundamentals of Constructivism consist of all the various possible kinds of unions by which elements can be combined into a structure.

Each kind of union is in essence simple, but especially when supplemented by dynamics, they can create complex combinations which amaze us with the refinement and richness of their form.




Scrap Club is coming up, on 11th Sept of all dates, the 10th anniversary of the most destructivist event of the 21st century… natural disasters are destructive in that they happen as a matter of fact and not willed to happen. Destructivist events are willed to happen, intentional and premeditated destruction, such as 911 such as the Lea Valley towards the Olympic project.

So Scrap Club takes place in the right time (unless it horribly rains) and the right place for it, at the penumbra of the Olympic Stadium on 11th Sept…
Check ‘Next Event’ on the Scrap Club website

See Newtoy website for more details mailing list etc