DAVID TOOP HAUNTED WEATHER PDF

This two-CD compilation album came out in conjunction with David Toop 's book of the same title. Compiled by Toop , it is designed as a companion to or "audio version of" his book his choice of words. But since it is sold separately, this review will focus on the album as a stand-alone artifact. The title is a metaphor for a period of uncertainty and profound change. Toop links it to the development of computer technology in music-making both in the act of making music and the performance of music and furthermore to a certain awareness of silence and history. All these elements have been factored in his selection, and a wide selection it is.

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The swellings of traffic noise outside the window sound like waves beating against the shore. A ventilator fan reveals layers of funky rhythms, like a Steve Reich composition. A domestic soundscape of fridge hum, fly buzz and fluorescent-light whine is dizzyingly complex in its shifting harmonic relationships. It is this attitude of listening that informs contemporary experimental electronic music and sound art.

Anything can be a site of aesthetic interest if the listener pays attention. Haunted Weather - a brilliant title, implicitly offering a poetically generous definition of what music is - pursues experimental sound art into the 21st century, interviewing its weird and wonderful practitioners, musing on its implications and weaving it all into a globetrotting travelogue.

In Tokyo, he watches people doing something like free jazz with laptops. We learn about CDs of "music" that contain spans of silence punctuated by a few clicks, meet a man who loves to listen to jet engines, and discover the sounds made by western North Atlantic fish. Toop recalls his experiences playing in improv bands in the s, worrying about the reduced physical involvement and the troubled relationship with expectations of "performance" experienced by electronic musicians who operate computer mice.

He has a nice line in irony: "Just as you're about to go on stage to perform your improvisation for damp leaves, aerated confetti and contrabass bed socks Toop discusses the work of film composer Toru Takemitsu, the "background free oscillations of the Earth", and the idea of silence itself: a condition that never really exists but is defined by the quality of the sounds that make it impossible.

He coins a useful word, "soundmark", on the pattern of landmark, to think about the way sounds, once-familiar and heard again, can transport us into the past, and about the way sounds are wedded to places. The "atmosphere" of a favourite place, Toop convincingly argues, usually has a larger aural component than we consciously realise.

Haunted Weather is not just a deeply thoughtful and richly populated survey of modern experimental music, it's a meditation on hearing itself.

Toop has the rare gift of being able to evoke sound in words, and makes you want to hear the works he describes.

Only occasionally does a kind of reflex snobbery lower the tone: traditional instrumental virtuosity is assumed to lead to "flashy emptiness", and the book is mysteriously unwilling to acknowledge that mainstream popular music can be innovative and exciting too. In fact, the best modern pop is exactly where avant-garde sound design coexists with melody-led composition: here there is no rift between experimental technicians and the masses.

If anything, one is likely to be frustrated by the fact that Toop refuses to make value judgments. In this book he plays the role of omnivorous collector rather than critic. You feel like asking: OK, this CD of amplified beetles, is it actually any good?

I made that one up, but I wouldn't be surprised if it exists. Is it better than that CD of a generator's hum? Are there any criteria at all for judging this sort of thing? One possible response would be to say that desires to analyse and judge are a hangover from the old hierarchical days of composer, conductor and audience.

The new sound art is about experience for its own sake, about taking marvellous imaginary journeys with the ears, about empowering the listener as much as the practitioner. This is true to some extent, yet some theorists of this stuff are still operating under certain moral suppositions that should be questioned.

By the end of this book, you might even be tempted to say that John Cage and his acolytes behaved as they did because they hated music. Certainly that inference is forgivable on reading what Tokyo-based artist Yoshio Machida tells Toop: "John Cage said he can enjoy listening to all sounds, except the sound with someone's intention.

I feel so too. Machida works with a computer program that produces an endless stream of music according to algorithmic rules. This is "generative music", heir to Mozart's dice games and Cage's experiments with chance.

The problem with most generative music is that, listening to it, you begin to fear that you might be trapped for ever inside an elevator. It's terminally boring. The vogue for it is tied into a techno-hippy line of reasoning that favours evolution "bottom-up" over design "top-down". As Eno puts it to Toop, generative music is like gardening - you plant the seed and watch it grow. One wants to say: what's wrong with engineering? The Forth Bridge, aeroplanes and Mozart's 40th Symphony are pretty startling achievements.

The kind of new-age inverted snobbery that derides some of history's most sublime artistic work in order to worship the mechanisms of Gaia is profoundly anti-humanist. The closer to nature we get, the more we jettison what separates us from the other animals. As Toop rightly points out, birdsong is not music. Music is human, and a million singing robots aren't worth a single Kurt Cobain.

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Haunted Weather : Music, Silence, and Memory

The swellings of traffic noise outside the window sound like waves beating against the shore. A ventilator fan reveals layers of funky rhythms, like a Steve Reich composition. A domestic soundscape of fridge hum, fly buzz and fluorescent-light whine is dizzyingly complex in its shifting harmonic relationships. It is this attitude of listening that informs contemporary experimental electronic music and sound art.

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Haunted Weather Music Silence Memory by David Toop

Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Digital technology has changed the ways in which music is perceived, stored, distributed, mediated and created. The world of music is now a vast and complex jungle, teeming with CDs, MP3s, concerts, clubs, festivals, conferences, exhibitions, installations, websites, software programmes, scenes, ideas and competing theories. In the eye of the storm stands David Toop, shedding light on the most interesting music now being made? Haunted Weather is part personal memoir and part travel journal, as well as an intensive survey of recent developments in digital technology, sonic theory and musical practice.

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Haunted Weather

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