Podcast

The Sound Propositions podcast has a unique format. Rather than two people chatting in front of the mic, each episode is an audio-documentary, blending music, field recordings, and sound design with the voice of each  subject. Episodes are released monthly. Please subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and recommend to anyone who may be interested. You can support on Patreon for as little as $1/month, or send a one-time donation via PayPal.


Sound Propositions the podcast has the same mission statement as the written Sound Propositions features: to share in depth discussions with artists whose work we love, to delve into the details of their creative practice.

After 100 mixes as part of the Lost Children net label, I decided it was time to switch things up, and while this new series maintains something of the feeling of a mix, it is also something entirely different, as each episodes foregrounds the voice of the subject.

But this isn’t the kind of series where two people sit in front of some microphones chatting, either.  I’ve tried to mostly downplay my own voice and let my presence be felt instead in the framing, the editing, and the sound design.

I’ve been a big fan of radio, radio art, and podcasts for a long time, and while I’ve produced segments for community radio before, I decided it was time to try to do something on a more regular schedule, something that would allow me to explore sound itself rather than simply write about it. Since writing my dissertation has occupied so much of my time of late, working with sound in this way seemed to be a good diversion.  Sound Propositions the written feature will continue at whatever pace I can manage, but Sound Propositions the podcast should be up with a new episode fortnightly.

Sound Propositions should be available wherever you get your podcasts, so please keep an eye out and subscribe (and rate and review, it helps others who might be interested find us).  New episodes will be published every two weeks. Please follow the show on iTunes, Sticher, RadioPublic, RSSradio, or wherever you get your podcasts.

SP on Anchor

Episode 1: (PRESENCE, or ) A METAPHYSICS OF ABSENCE

The inaugural episode of our new podcast, Sound Propositions, features interviews (with Resina and Lea Bertucci) and field-recordings recorded during the 2018 UNSOUND festival in Krakow, Poland. (You can read my review of the festival here.) The theme of this year’s festival was “Presence,” and so that became the point of departure for my interviews, particularly the ways in which absences can also be felt as a “presence.”
Read more, including a tracklist and additional photos, at A CLOSER LISTEN.

Interviews recorded in Krakow, October 2018.
Produced and mixed in Napoli, February 2019.

Episode 2: DANCING ON THE HYPHEN

This episode features saxophonist and composer Phillip Johnston, known for his work with genre-bending jazz ensemble The Microscopic Septet, the Beefheart tribute Fast ‘N Bulbous, and as the composer of silent film scores. Johnston moved to Australia over a decade ago, but NYC still feels like his home turf. We were both back in town last November for Thanksgiving, and we met to discuss memory, music, media, the (not-so-silent) history of silent film, and his long-association with the various music scenes of NYC.

Interview recorded in Manhattan, November 2018.
Produced and mixed in Napoli, February 2019.

Episode 3: ROBOT, TEACH US TO GROOVE

This episode features Efraín Rozas, Peruvian-born, Brooklyn-based performer/composer and robotics/software developer interested in new paradigms of cognitive technologies and mythologies. He leads the psychedelic salsa group La Mecánica Popular, fusing groove-based Latin music with electronic and experimental explorations. Rozas’ Myth and Prosthesis series utilizes software programming and robotics to produce sound installations and music, utilizing Latin American influences and modern technology to uproot Western concepts and mind/body duality.We discuss all these projects and more, including the role of NYC in the history of Salsa, and the future of electronic Latinx music to come.

 
Interview recorded in Brooklyn, November 2018.
Produced and mixed in Istanbul, March 2019.

Episode 4: GOING HOME AGAIN

This episode features John Daniel, a Chicago-based musician best known for his ambient solo project, Forest Management. I caught up with him from his childhood home in Cleveland over the holidays. We discuss his latest LP Passageways (inspired by his childhood home), his influences, how his approach to music has changed, his new imprint Afterhours, and the importance of place, space, and community.

Interview recorded in Montreal, December 2018.
Produced and mixed in Glasgow, April 2019.

Episode 5: B SIDES

 

This episode features Joe McKay, profiling his label Dinzu Artefacts. We talk about his previous label, Spring Break Tapes!, his own artistic practice (as Monte Burrows), the importance of listening to the quotidian, and the persistence of physical media in an increasingly digitally mediated world.

Interview recorded in Montreal, December 2018.
Produced and mixed in Napoli, May 2019.

Episode 6: MUSIC SELDOM HEARD

This episode features a wide-ranging discussion with Mimmo Napolitano, one of the organizers behind the concert series La Digestion in Napoli. As a musician, he produces challenging and dynamic sounds inspired by musique concrète and noise. Utilizing the Revox B77 reel-to-reel tape player together with no-input feedback and other sounds, SEC_ has cultivated a very singular approach to live performance. This episode brings together his work with music from just a few of the many exciting artists who Mimmo has helped to bring to Napoli over the last decade. Mixed in are live recordings made during Musica Sanae in Napoli, as well as field-recordings recorded around the city earlier in the year (mostly as a part of my [Useless Sounds] series). Headphone listening recommended.

Interview recorded in Napoli, March 2019.
Produced and mixed in Essaouira, May 2019.

 

Episode 7: IN THE SOUTH

This episode features a deep conversation with Toni Cutrone (best known as Mai Mai Mai) delving into all the various facets of his career. On the occasion of the release of his latest LP, Nel Sud, we met to discuss his southern Italian and Mediterranean roots, the rediscovery of Italian music from the 70s, and the difficulties (and joys) of running clubs and a cultural association in Italy’s capital. Cutrone draws an implicit link between the same eclecticism that is on display in the Roma Est neighborhood he calls home with the ancient links of circulation which unite diverse Mediterranean identities.

Interview recorded in Roma, February 2019.
Produced in Calabria, mixed in Roma, June 2019.

Episode 8: GREYFADED

Greyfade is a New York based label founded by Joseph Branciforte, dedicated to releasing high-quality physical and digital album length works of art. Greyfade’s inaugural release is the aptly titled LP1, a collaboration between Branciforte and the acclaimed vocalist Theo Bleckmann. In this episode, Branciforte discusses why Greyfade is emphasizing HQ downloads via their own web store and eschewing streaming services, how he regards launching a label as an extension of composition, collaborating with Theo Bleckmann, and working with max/msp as a performative tool.

Interview recorded in Montreal, June 2019.
Produced and mixed in New York, July 2019.

Episode 9: WHO CARES IF YOU DEEP LISTEN?

Andrew Khedoori talks about his latest series Longform Editions, featuring long form compositions designed to encourage deep listening. Very much organized against the prevailing streaming ecosystem which encourages short tracks and distracted listening, Longform Editions has released 32 works and counting.

Interview recorded in Napoli, February 2019.
Produced and mixed in Montreal, August 2019.

Episode 10: EXPLAINED SOUNDS

Many of our readers at ACL responded enthusiastically to the Anthology of Electroacoustic Lebanese music compiled by the Unexplained Sounds Group in 2018. Earlier this year, I reached out to label founder Raffaele Pezzella (Sonolygyst) to discuss his label, his radio show, his solo work, and why he keeps digging for unheard artists. We had a great chat, discussing his interest in dark ambient, conspiracy theories, and the technical pursuit of sound. I am also really into this playlist, if I don’t say so myself.

Interview recorded in Napoli, March 2019.
Produced and mixed in Montreal, August 2019.

Episode 11: RURAL FUTURISM

The Liminaria festival ran for five editions between 2014 and 2018, culminating with a collateral event in Palermo as part of Manifesta 12.  Based in the rural micro-region of Fortore, the frontier between Campania, Molise, and Puglia, Liminaria offered residencies and public presentations in which visiting artists worked with local residents to apply sound art methodologies to the unique geographies of this territory. Curators Beatrice Ferrara and Leandro Pisano take this period to reflect upon the successes and challenges of working in the rural south of Italy with virtually no budget, the important solidarities between the south of Italy and the Global South, and their recently published “Manifesto of Rural Futurism.

Interview recorded in Monastero di Santa Chiara, Napoli, March 2019
Produced and mixed in Montreal, September 2019.

Episode 12: MAKING YOURSELF DISAPPEAR

And now for the big finale. Alvin Curran has been at the forefront of challenging musical convention for over half a century. His work has pushed back against the institutional stranglehold on culture, encouraging anybody to make music, anywhere and with anybody. A dominant tendency in his oeuvre has been finding new ways to activate spaces and cultivate active listening and music making. His recent sound installation Omnia Flumina Romam Ducunt  serves as an entry point into a wide-ranging discussion encompassing many aspects of his long career.

Interview recorded in Alvin’s Studio, Rome, March 2019
Produced and mixed in Montreal, October 2019.

Episode 13: OUTSIDE THE BOX

After a longer delay than I would have liked, the Sound Propositions podcast is back. I’m very pleased to finally share this conversation with Bruno Stucchi, graphic designer and co-founder of the Die Schachtel label. Stucchi reflects upon the evolution of the label, the suppressed history of Italian experimental music, and the continued importance of big ideas.

Die Schachtel is a partnership between Bruno Stucchi and Fabio Carboni, who met online during the peak of eBay record collecting, before Discogs and social media convinced us that there is nothing new under the sun. They exchanged records and, more importantly, they exchanged ideas, culminating in an ambitious excavation of the lost history of Italian experimentalism. The label debuted in 2003, and has since built a strong reputation for their meticulous editions, unquestionably one of the guiding lights of the current flourishing of experimental music in Milan and Italy more broadly.

Interview recorded in Stucchi’s studio in Milan, May 2019
Produced and mixed in Montreal, October 2020

Episode 14: LISTENING THROUGH MIMAROĞLU + İSTANBUL EKSPRES

We sit down with director Serdar Kökçeoğlu in Istanbul to discuss the 2013 Gezi Park protests, how the sounds of the city have inspired his work as a film maker, and how composer İlhan Mimaroglu was inspired by the activism of his wife, Güngör. Kökçeoğlu has recently completed his first full-length feature film, Mimaroğlu. Going beyond a biography of Turkey’s most famous composer, the film explores İlhan and Güngör’s relationship and the cross-pollination between avant-garde music and radical politics.

Interview recorded in Istanbul, March 2019
Produced and mixed in Montreal, October 2020

This mix accompanies the LISTENING THROUGH MIMAROĞLU episode, featuring director Serdar Kökçeoğlu discussing his work and the Mimaroglu project in particular. I originally had in mind a second episode with interviews with other musicians I met while in Istanbul, but for a variety of reasons not everyone was comfortable speaking for audio, or we were otherwise unable to find an opportunity to record. Of course there are also linguistic barriers. Save polished corporate aesthetics for the professionals, this podcast is more interested in something else. So instead I present İSTANBUL EKSPRES, a bonus mix of music from Istanbul artists old and new.

Episode 15: EIDOLONS

Kassel Jaeger, once little more than a mysterious German moniker producing captivating music for our favorite boutique labels, has since been revealed to be François J. Bonnet, composer, philosopher, and now director Ina-GRM, France’s legendary center for electroacoustic research. No longer shrouded in mystery, his prolific output has lost none of its power. In the last year he’s released some of the best records of his career, including collaborations with Jim O’Rourke and Stephen O’Malley. Having grown accustomed to hearing Bonnet’s voice as host of France Musique’s L’Expérimentale, it was a trip to have the opportunity to sit down with him while he was in Montreal for 2019’s AKOUSMA festival. In this episode, Bonnet speaks with us about the development of his music, various acousmatic diffusion techniques, the privilege of composing for the acousmonium, and balancing the legacy of the GRM with the music to come.

Interview recorded at Usine-C, Montreal, October 2019
Produced and mixed in Montreal, November 2020

Episode 16: FREEDOM TO DESTROY

Esther Bourdages is an art critic, radio journalist, independent curator, and musician based in Montréal. She is an improviser of extraordinary sensitivity, bringing a playfulness to her tactile manipulation of vinyl records, sometimes outright mishandling them. This freedom to destroy is indicative of a resistance to structure and formalism, but Esther’s work can’t be easily dismissed as some sort of exercise in catharsis. Instead her approach to live improvisation is raw and expressive, and cultivated over decades of ongoing exploration. Much of her recent studio work is for radiophonic diffusion, often based on field-recordings and with a politicized context. We discuss her unique approach to vinyl, the history of Canadian artist-run centres, and the intersection of art and sound from multiple perspectives.

Interview recorded in Montreal, October 2020
Produced and mixed in Montreal, January 2021

Episode 17: BEFORE THE INTERNET

It’s been a tough year for New York. This episode we check in with GENG, the man behind one of our favorite labels, Purple Tape Pedigree, and see how these fine “purveyors of weaponized media and information” are handling the pandemic and the uprisings. With live performance no longer an option, the model of mutual support demonstrated by a crew like PTP is all the more important. GENG tells us about the history of PTP, the benefits of peer-support, community activism, and why it’s more important now than ever to understand hip hop as spiritual music.

Interview recorded between Montreal and Queens, May 2020 and January 2021
Produced and mixed in Montreal, February 2021

Episode 18: INTO THE UNCANNY VALLEY

This episode features a wide-ranging conversation with Montreal’s Roger Tellier-Craig, known for his work with Fly Pan Am, Godspeed, Le Révélateur and others. In 2019, Fly Pan Am released C’est ça, their first record in 15 years, but their 2020 tour plans were detailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tellier-Craig discusses his fascination with music as a studio art, the unexpected creative opportunities presented by quarantine, and the hyperreality of our present in which our fragile sense of reality seems poised to collapse at any moment.

Interview recorded in Montreal, May 2020
Produced and mixed in Montreal, March 2021

Episode 19: UNFOLLOW ME

Max Alper is best known for La Meme Young, his popular Instagram account turning niche experimental music jokes into dank memes. But a deep interest in music pedagogy is at the heart of everything Alper does, including his non-profit Sonic Arts For All!, an organization that puts music technology directly into the hands of K-12 and special needs students. We talk about the importance of creativity, memes as pedagogy, the limits of traditional music education, and how to democratize music technology.

Interview recorded between Montreal and San Juan, January 2021
Produced and mixed in Montreal, May 2021

Episode 20: PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY

DeForrest Brown, Jr. is a media-theorist, curator, and self-described rhythm-analyst. He releases digital audio as Speaker Music and under his own name. While he’s been based in NYC for the better part of the last decade, he was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, which also happens to be where Sun Ra first landed on Earth.  Brown’s upcoming book, Assembling a Black Counter Culture, traces the cycles of American history through the Great Migrations from the Deep South to the industrial center of the north and back again. In this episode, he discusses his profound sense of future shock, the meaning of rhythm-analysis, and the making of Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry, his critically acclaimed 2020 album.

Interview recorded between Montreal and Manhattan, January and June 2021
Produced and mixed in Montreal, June 2021

Episode 21: FOOD + MUSIC

RIP Daniel Dumile (July 13, 1971 – October 31, 2020)

GENG PTP aka King Vision Ultra memorializes the legacy of the late MF DOOM, who died on Halloween day 2020. GENG shares some memories about NYC hip hop in the 90s, muses on the similarities between KMD and De La, and praises the enduring influence of one of hip hop’s greatest artists.

Interview recorded between Montreal and Queens, January 2021
Produced and mixed in Montreal, October 2021

Episode 22: SHUT UP AND LISTEN!

We kick off season 3 with an interview with the creators behind The World According To Sound, in honor of their 2022 Winter Listening Series. A streaming concert series designed for our times, each event is dedicated to listening closely together, apart. This episode begins by profiling The World According to Sound and diving into their listening series, as well as their frustrations with the state of public radio in the USA. Despite these critiques, we all still have a deep love of radio, and so the back half of the episode forms an homage to the radiophonic arts.

Interview recorded between California and Montreal, December 2021
Produced and mixed in Montreal, January 2022

Episode 23: HOMEWORK

Patrick Shiroishi is a Japanese-American multi-instrumentalist & composer based in Los Angeles, whose 2021 album Hidemi was one of our favorites of the year. A prolific collaborator, Shiroishi can also be heard in various duos, trios, and larger ensembles, including the quartet Fuubutsushi, another group that has been in steady rotation at ACL. In this episode, we reminisce about elementary school concert band and Third Wave ska, discuss his introduction to various modes of improvisation, and explore his love of black metal. Shiroishi also unpacks the importance of family history and ancestry to his work, particularly against the recent rise in anti-Asian racism. And as live performances pick up again, he looks back on how the pandemic turned him into an unlikely proponent of online collaboration.

Interview recorded between Los Angeles and Montreal, January 2022
Produced and mixed in Montreal, March 2022

Episode 24: KAKAPHONY



Maria Chavez is a pioneer of Abstract Turntablism, a self-described practice she developed under the guidance of Pauline Oliveros‘ Deep Listening. Born in Lima, Peru and raised in Houston, she cut her teeth as a DJ spinning techno and drum & bass, but the male chauvinism of that scene roused her to experiment further with the materiality of vinyl, using broken needles and non-musical sounds. Oliveros inspired her to ditch dance parties for improvisation with a single turntable, an artist practice which evolved to include installations, workshops, visual art, and curation. A true sound artist (she adamantly eschews the label “musician”), until recently, Chavez had released only one recording, 2004’s Those Eyes Of Hers, focusing instead on her career as longform performance. But after beginning a medical sabbatical in 2019, which forced her to cease touring (a year before the rest of the world shut down), Maria began slowly releasing new recordings into the world. In this episode, we discuss recent and upcoming collaborations, her switch to using four turntables (with double needles), and staking out her rightful place in art history contra White supremacist power structures. 

Interview recorded between New York and Montreal, January 2022
Produced and mixed in Montreal, April 2022

Episode 25: IRREGARDS

The longrunning electronic duo Matmos have just released a gorgeous new LP, Regards / Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer. Whereas their previous album, 2020’s The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form, saw the couple collaging contributions from 99 friends recorded at 99 bpm, their latest is dedicated to the work of just one person: Polish polymath Bogusław Schaeffer (1929-2019). In this episode, we discuss how their reputation for conceptualism has often served to obscure the formal characteristics of their work. Can an object be a concept? Is “washing machine” or “plastic” a concept? With their signature blend of serious humor, the pair reflect on touring with a washing machine, the practicalities of licensing music, and the complexities of working with Schaeffer’s archive.

Interview recorded between Baltimore and Montreal, April 2022
Produced and mixed in New York, May 2022

Episode 26: LANE DISCIPLINE

Kranky co-founder Bruce Adams sits down to discuss his new book, You’re With Stupid: kranky, Chicago, and the Reinvention of Indie Music. (UTPress) We discuss the unique conditions that put Chicago at the heart of the ‘90s indie rock scene, the emergence of the kranky aesthetic, and sing the praises of Labradford. Kranky co-founder Bruce Adams sits down to discuss his new book, You’re With Stupid: kranky, Chicago, and the Reinvention of Indie Music. (UTPress) Adams explains the unique conditions that put Chicago at the heart of the ‘90s indie rock scene, the emergence of the kranky aesthetic, and sings the praises of Labradford. Adams’ book is full of personal memories and reflections, including meeting partner Joel Leoschke, kranky’s early roster of bands, and many fascinating recollections from the wider Chicago scene. But Bruce also provides much valuable context that helps us to rethink the history of independent music. Cutting off in 2002, just as the era of file-sharing began to really disrupt the music industry, You’re With Stupid offers an insider’s perspective on the importance of interdependence.

Interview recorded between Urbana and Montreal, August 2022
Produced and mixed in Montreal, October 2022

Episode 27: ATTUNEMENT

Jessica Moss has just released Galaxy Heart, a surprising collection of ten songs that form a companion to last year’s Phosphenes. The Montréal-based composer, violinist, and vocalist recorded the material for both records (and more) during the peak of early pandemic lockdown, allowing her songcraft to take new forms, as well as welcoming collaborators into her solo music for the first time. Moss, of course, is a prolific collaborator, and we have been a fan of her work for over two decades, particularly her 15-year tenure with Silver Mt. Zion. In this episode, Moss dives into the making of her two recent solo albums, the highs and lows of pandemic touring, the return of Black Ox Orkestar,  and her collaborations with Vic Chesnutt and Jem Cohen.

Interview recorded in Montreal, Yom Kippur 2022
Produced and mixed in Montreal, November 2022