In this evening class with Martinus Suijkerbuijk on the structures of sound and music, the records of PharmakonAphex Twin and Kraftwerk will operate as information systems. Their (musical) analysis turns into an investigatory means of phenomenal perception and the structure of reality in order to proclaim music’s capacity for philosophical scrutiny. We will dissect scientific icons like noise, entropy and information, and position them as performing cultural roles such as, bridging art and science with the micro- and macro expressions of music. (Images are linked to sound and lecture excerpts!)


Prelude: A way of perceiving the world


For twenty-five centuries, Western knowledge has tried to look upon the world. It has failed to understand that the world is not for the beholding. It is for hearing. It is not legible, but audible.

Our science has always desired to monitor, measure, abstract, and castrate meaning, forgetting that life is full of noise and that death alone is silent: work noise, noise of man, and noise of beast. Noise bought, sold, or prohibited. Nothing essential happens in the absence of noise.

Today, our sight has dimmed; it no longer sees our future, having constructed a present made of abstraction, nonsense, and silence. Now we must learn to judge a society more by its sounds, by its art, and by its festivals, than by its statistics. By listening to noise, we can better understand where the folly of men and their calculations is leading us, and what hopes it is still possible to have. (Jacques Attali, Noise, The Political Economy of Music, The University of Minnesota Press, 1985, Chapter one: Listening.)  


Intro: Thinking about Sound



Pharmakon: Abandon



No past, no Future exists in noise, only the length of the present. What’s left when messages, from the perspective of its (technical) possibility have no potential for any meaning whatsoever? Immersion. This is a crisis of the intelligible, aesthetics is essential. Noise is the ontogenetic structure of aesthetics.


The World as a perceptive agent

Concrete Things, Abstraction, Irreversibility, Monads



A Complex Song by Aphex Twin 



Perception itself is already a creative act

(And what is the role and the politics of music today? What does it do with society?)

With the brain as Bayesian machine in predictive coding, the uncertainty principle is periodically provoked: musical messages with high information value, when predicted right also deliver Aesthetic Experience.

And an Earworm-Outro with Kraftwerk: The Model (1978)