Christoph Cox

  • Christoph Cox


    1. Various Artists, Radio Java (Sublime Frequencies) From the teeming airwaves of Indonesia’s largest island comes this frantic and mind-blowing collage of gamelan-driven pop, saccharine jingles, muezzin calls, histrionic film dialogue, DJ banter, Javanese punk rock, and other gems, compiled by Sun City Girls’ Alan Bishop.

    2. Sachiko M/Toshimaru Nakamura/Otomo Yoshihide, Good Morning Good Night (Erstwhile) The reigning triumvirate of Japanese experimental improvisation presents its sublimely understated aesthetic of emptiness by way of no-record turntable, no-input mixing board, and

  • “Treble”

    In 2000, sound-art pioneer Max Neuhaus responded to the tremendous resurgence of interest in his field by calling for a dissolution of the term that he himself had helped to coin. “Sound art,” Neuhaus contended, had become a sloppy catchphrase encompassing a slew of disparate practices whose only common denominator was that they bore some relationship to sound. “Sound Art,” he concluded, “has been consumed.”

    Neuhaus’s declaration provided the springboard for “Treble,” a group show at SculptureCenter organized by independent curator Regine Basha. Though sound remained the thread that tied the

  • Joseph Grigely,You, 2001-02.


    Despite an explosion of interest in the art form over the past few years, New York hasn’t hosted a major sound-art exhibition since P.S. 1’s “Volume: Bed of Sound” extravaganza in 2000.

    Despite an explosion of interest in the art form over the past few years, New York hasn’t hosted a major sound-art exhibition since P.S. 1’s “Volume: Bed of Sound” extravaganza in 2000. “Treble,” organized by Regine Basha, a curator at Arthouse in Austin, Texas, brings sound-art practice up-to-date, featuring nineteen works by an intriguing selection of international artists—from pioneer Max Neuhaus and reigning audio stars Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello to lesser-known sonic explorers such as Grady Gerbracht, Brad Tucker, and Andrea Ray—working in a variety of media:

  • Christoph Cox


    1. David Sylvian, Blemish (Samadhi Sound) The former pop icon reemerges as a convincing experimentalist, wrapping his sumptuous baritone around Derek Bailey’s angular guitar and Christian Fennesz’s electronic mulch.

    2. Cul de Sac, Death of the Sun (Strange Attractors Audio House) Boston’s psychedelic quintet slows it down, clears space for turntables and electronics, and offers a gorgeous meditation on loss and memory.

    3. Yasunao Tone, Yasunao Tone (Asphodel) Fluxus veteran Tone brings turntablism into the digital realm, producing noisy bursts and spastic stutters that teeter between

  • neo-modernist sound art

    “WHATEVER HAPPENED to postmodernism?” asked the critic Hal Foster in 1993, reflecting on the apparent exhaustion of the postmodernist project in art and theory. Rather than declare the end of postmodernism, however, Foster went on to sketch a complex historical picture in which modernism and postmodernism are engaged in a kind of temporal dance, where one or the other comes to the fore at different moments.

    Foster’s suggestive analysis helps account for the steady reemergence of modernist commitments and strategies over the past decade and particularly in the past several years. In critical

  • David Toop

    “ARCHITECTURE IS FROZEN MUSIC,” Friedrich Schelling remarked at the beginning of the nineteenth century, signaling both the distance between these two arts and their proximity. In some respects, they lie at opposite ends of the aesthetic spectrum: Music is the most ethereal, immaterial, and temporal of arts, architecture the most earthbound and palpable. Yet they have always shared a secret affinity. With rare exception, Western music is played and heard indoors and has always had to respond to the shape and stuff of its constructed environment. It’s no accident that the Gregorian chant—with

  • Steve Reich

    NO FORM OF CLASSICAL MUSIC has exerted so enduring and pervasive an influence on pop culture as minimalism. Kellogg’s commercials and John Carpenter movie sound tracks, New Age schlock and abstract hip-hop all overtly cop such minimalist trademarks as repetitive keyboard vamps and hallucinatory vocal cut-ups. Indeed, from its inception in the early ’60s, musical minimalism actively blurred the boundaries between “high” and “mass” art, “classical” and “popular” music. Breaking with the confines of academic serialism and the decorum of the concert hall, the minimalists forged connections with the

  • Mego

    As the First World arms itself with fax machines, cell phones, and modems, the secret soundtrack of everyday life—the hiss and whine of digital circuitry—has become a source of inspiration for musicians. The core artists of Vienna’s MEGO label—Peter Rehberg, Ramon Bauer, and Christian Fennesz—are among the most intriguing practitioners of the new electronic minimalism. On the label’s first release, Fridge Trax EP, Pita (Rehberg) and General Magic (Bauer and Andi Pieper) manage to find the funk in the hum of kitchen appliances. Pita’s solo outing, “Seven Tons for Free,” follows suit, exploring

  • Mouse on Mars

    For more than forty years, Germany’s industrial heartland has been the center of electronic musical innovation. The first studio for the production of purely electronic music was set up at Cologne’s Northwest German Radio station in 1952, hosting such avant-garde heavyweights as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Gyorgy Ligeti, Ernst Krenek, Mauricio Kagel, and Henri Pousseur. Two decades later, the Dusseldorf-based quartet Kraftwerk fabricated a novel pop/dance synthesis of electronic pulses, cheesy keyboard melodies, and deadpan vocal phrases. Such is the illustrious pedigree of the most recent practitioners

  • Panasonic

    What is currently being marketed as “electronica” represents the music industry’s belated attempt to capitalize on a moribund rave culture and its techno-hippie aesthetic. The hype over Prodigy, The Chemical Brothers, et al. ignores more significant efforts to extend and outstrip rave’s musical resources: on the one hand, vanguard junglists like Plug and Squarepusher stutter and fracture techno’s relentless 4/4 throb to create music of dizzying rhythmic complexity. On the other hand, electronica outfits (e.g., Oval, Autechre, Microstoria) abstract techno’s melodic and harmonic material with an

  • Sub Rosa

    “We are not, strictly speaking, a music label,” says Guy Marc Hinant of SUB ROSA, the Belgian record company he heads with Frédéric Walheer. Though, over the past decade, Sub Rosa has given us some of the most extraordinary music of the late twentieth century, the label embraces what John Cage called “the entire field of sound”—tones, voices, and noises in all their multiplicity and heterogeneity. It has put out collections of Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish songs, anticolonialist hip hop from Greenland, and field recordings of Venezuelan shamans. One series presents work by classical composers such

  • Gilles Deleuze

    GILLES DELEUZE wrote about music only in passing, yet he counted as friends and influences some of Europe’s leading composers. So it was not altogether surprising when, a few months after the French philosopher’s suicide in November 1995, Pierre Boulez held a series of concerts in his honor at the Cite de la musique in Paris. More remarkable and intriguing, though, was the appearance last spring of Deleuze tributes by two record labels on the fringe of European club culture, Sub Rosa and Mille Plateaux (the latter named after what many consider Deleuze’s magnum opus, cowritten with Felix Guattari).