Noise & Capitalism


Noise & Capitalism

Publisher: Arteleku Audiolab (Kritika series), Donostia-San Sebastián (Gipuzkoa)

Publication date: September 2009.

ISBN: 978-84-7908-622-1

Contributors: Ray Brassier, Emma Hedditch, Matthew Hyland, Anthony Iles, Sara Kaaman, Mattin, Nina Power, Edwin Prévost, Bruce Russell, Matthieu Saladin, Howard Slater, Csaba Toth, Ben Watson.

Editors: Mattin & Anthony Iles

‘Noise’ not only designates the no-man’s-land between electro-acoustic investigation, free improvisation, avant-garde experiment, and sound art; more interestingly, it refers to anomalous zones of interference between genres: between post-punk and free jazz; between musique concrète and folk; between stochastic composition and art brut. – Ray Brassier

This book, Noise & Capitalism, is a tool for understanding the situation we are living through, the way our practices and our subjectivities are determined by capitalism. It explores contemporary alienation in order to discover whether the practices of improvisation and noise contain or can produce emancipatory moments and how these practices point towards social relations which can extend these moments.

If the conditions in which we produce our music affects our playing then let’s try to feel through them, understand them as much as possible and, then, change these conditions.

If our senses are appropriated by capitalism and put to work in an ‘attention economy’, let’s, then, reappropriate our senses, our capacity to feel, our receptive powers; let’s start the war at the membrane!

Alienated language is noise, but noise contains possibilities that may, who knows, be more affective than discursive, more enigmatic than dogmatic.

Noise and improvisation are practices of risk, a ‘going fragile’. Yet these risks imply a social responsibility that could take us beyond ‘phoney freedom’ and into unities of differing.

We find ourselves poised between vicariously florid academic criticism, overspecialised niche markets and basements full of anti-intellectual escapists. There is, afterall, ‘a Franco, Churchill, Roosevelt, inside all of us…’ yet this book is written neither by chiefs nor generals.
Here non-appointed practitioners, who are not yet disinterested, autotheorise ways of thinking through the contemporary conditions for making difficult music and opening up to the willfully perverse satisfactions of the auricular drives.

The distribution of this book is going to be done by trading:

If you are an artist, musician, writer or engage in any creative activity, we would very much appreciate that you send a sample of your work as a form of exchange for the book. Otherwise you can write a critical response to the book and send it to Arteleku.

If you are a distributor or a label or a publisher and you want to get copies of the book for distribution, you can send single copies of different books, zines or records in exchange and Arteleku will send you copies of the book in return.

Any material sent to Arteleku will become part of Arteleku’s library and people will have free access to this material.

Post: Arteleku, Kristobaldegi 14 (o nuevo P. Ainzieta), Loiola Auzoa, 20014 Donostia – San Sebastián (Spain).

Arteleku might take some time to reply and to send the books but they will do it as soon as they can.

This book can be downloaded as a PDF file:

Spanish and Basque editions of this book will be published in early 2010.

Upcoming presentations:

20 November
Noise & Capitalism at Piksel Festival Bergen
15:30-16:15 Bergen Kunstmuseum/Stenersen
Room Audiotoriet
Piksel Festival

24 & 25 November
Noise & Capitalism reading group at CalArts
4pm – 8pm
1st day:
Genre is Obsolete by Ray Brassier
Towards a Social Ontology of Improvised Sound Work by Bruce Russell
2th day:
Prisoners of the Earth Come Out! Notes Towards ‘War at the Membrane’ by Howard Slater
Anti-Copyright: Why Improvisation and Noise Run Against the Idea of Intellectual Property by Mattin
Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts
(california institute of the arts)
All welcome

27 November
Noise & Capitalism presentation and discussion
7pm,16 Beaver
16 Beaver Street
4th & 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004


11 January
Noise & Capitalism discussion Alan Courtis & Mattin
Instituto Cervantes
Bryggarg. 12 A
11121 Stockholm, Sweden

24-25 February
Noise & Capitalism: Undoing, Understanding and Sharing Time Together
(Emma Hedditch, Anthony Iles, Howard Slater & Mattin)
26 February
Performance/experiment Emma Hedditch, Anthony Iles, Howard Slater & Mattin
Kill Your Timid Notion Festival
Dundee, Scotland

Desetxea net-label
w.m.o/record label
Free Software Series

News & Gigs
Billy Bao
La Grieta
Josetxo Grieta
Arto Artian
Debian gnu/linux


Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia

SR265 digipack(2)



from Mainland China
(Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guilin, Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Shanxi, Harbin)
Hong Kong – Taiwan – Singapore – Malaysia
This anthology features 48 artists from within the Chinese area of influence. It is designed
as a journey through what is currently happening underground, under extremely diverse forms.
It also looks at the recent past and the key role of pioneers like Wang Fan, Dajuin Yao,
and also Hong Kong-based Li Chin Sung aka Dickson Dee who, for almost two decades, has been
spreading the word about Experimental music in Mainland China. This album was curated by
Dickson Dee on Guy Marc Hinant’s invitation. It includes an enlightening presentation on the
short yet intense advent and history of the Chinese noise explosion,co-written by Zbigniew
Karkowski and Yan Jun.

The Sound of the Underground
An Overview of Experimental and Non-Academic Music in China

The Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-76) in one way or another eradicated most of the
existing culture in China. At the same time as intellectuals were sent to rural labor camps,
countless ancient buildings, antiques, books, paintings and various artifacts were just
destroyed. This period created an enormous intellectual, cultural and artistic vacuum in
China – destruction that in a sense, time is still healing.
So tradition of music culture and especially non-academic, purely experimental music,
started from ‘point blank’ scratch sometime in the 80ies. With the market economy
introduced in that decade and further media developments in the 90ies, there was a kind
of an explosion in youth culture that had been held back for decades. Movements and music
scenes that previously never reached China – like for instance psychedelic music, punk
or neo-dada started to appear and expanded at astonishing pace.
The birth of these alternative rock and punk music scenes that later developed into even
more experimental trends is a direct result of global capitalism and profound change in
China’s position within the World Order. It however did not develop the same way as it
usually does in the West – with one eye looking forward and the other one always glancing
at history. It started with ‘dakou’ and with piracy.

4 x CD

01. Li Chin Sung aka Dickson Dee (Hong Kong) / Somewhere (1994) / 10’33
02. Zenlu (Shenzhen) / Zen (2007) / 9’19
03. Bai Tian (Chengdu) / Wet (2007) / 4’05
04. Cheewei (Singapore) / Evening has arrived (2006) / 8’02
05. Lim Giang (Taipei) / “???” (2006) / 8’41
06. Ang Song Ming aka Circadian (Singapore) / Book radio mixer (2007) / 3’02
07. Chung-Han Yao (Taipei) / Untitled (2005) / 5’02
08. Goh Lee Kwang (Malaysia) / Frong spraying (2007) / 3’42
09. Wu Quan (Beijing) / Weather forest (2006) / 5’04
10. Me:Mo (Beijing) / pro.a (2007) / 4’30
11. Wang Jong-Kuen (Taipei) / Leaving (2006) / 5’40
12. Dajuin Yao (Zuoying) / Psycho Realm (2006) / 5’29

01. Sun Dawei (Beijing) / Crawing state (2007) / 4’14
02. Nara (Beijing) / Dream a little dream (2007) / 6’54
03. WFDD / Wang Fan + Dickson Dee (Beijing/Hong Kong) / Sin (2007) / 8’36
04. Stingrays (Singapore) / 061020 (2006) / 5’18
05. Dennis Wong aka Wong Chung-Fai (Hong Kong) / para_dot (2006) / 5’12
06. Fathmount aka Wilson Lee (Hong Kong) / A yoke of oxen (2007) / 4’56
07. PNF (Hong Kong) / Chi (1994) / 3’11
08. Li Wen Tai aka Vince Li (Hong Kong) / Eat (2007) / 4’57
09. Shenggy (Beijing) / Junggy ‘s decay (2007) / 3’05
10. Ronez aka Zhou Pei (Guilin) / Kikusui Back (2006) / 4’57
11. Zhou Ri Sheng (Shanxi) / Noise God (2006) / 7’22
12. Fish (Taipei) / Rusty Crane Keelong (2007) / 4’46

01.Torturing Nurse (Shanghai) / Fugitive (2006) / 14’46
02. Wang Fan (Beijing) / Zero (2006) / 6’28
03. Wuwei + Ulrich Morits (Shanghai/Berlin) / Toy Ships (2003) / 2’48
04. Xper. Xr. & The Orphic Orchestra (Hong Kong) Hickory Dickory Dock (1992) / 1’01
05. Hong Qile (Fuzhou) / j gmc (2007) / 8’00
06. Ying Fan (Taipei) / L2255 mix (2007) / 3’58
07. Dead J aka Shao Yanpeng (Beijing) / untitled (2007) / 3’49
08. Z.S.L.O (Taipei) / 422189 (1997) / 3’09
09. Jedung Kying / Edging + Junky (Guangzhou/Shanghai) Dabao (2007) / 3’01
10. Tats Lau (Hong Kong) / Face The Antagonish (1992) / 2’53
11. Li Jianhong (Hangzhou) / Sod (2007) / 5’32
12. Dino (Taipei) / untitled (2005) / 6’45

01. Wang Changcun (Harbin) Through the tide of faces (2007) / 4’59
02. D!O!D!O!D! / Li Jianhong + Huangjin (Hangzhou) A dark knife (2006) / 5’36
03. Yan Jun (Beijing) / Its more than enough (2006) / 5’35
04. Loga (Fuzhou) / 620 (2007) / 9’22
05. Pei aka Liu Pei-Wen (Taipei) / Bird lady (2007) / 7’43
06. Eric Lin aka Lin Chi-Wei (Taipei) / untitled (2007) / 3’10
07. Alice Hui-Sheng Chang (Taiwan) There she is, standing and walking on her own (2007) / 3’59
08. Ching Shen Ching (Taiwan) / V-zone (1997) / Fuji Wang + Anes: electronics / 7’25
09. Dancing Stone (Hong Kong) / Two (1995) / Nelson Hui: flute + Ling Lee: voice / 2’13
10. Illuminated 6.6.6. (Hong Kong) / Enjoy the silence (1992) / 6’06
11. Juno aka Timmy Lok (Hong Kong) / Possiblilities (1995) / 3’18
12. Simon Ho (Hong Kong) / 5 (2005) / 6’53

CCA Substantials #03 – book+cd


Dickson Dee
William Bennett
Russell Haswell

thanks  for the CCA crew of production and their hard work particularly for design/translation!


i just found that one of my cca workshop introduction not included in the book, so that i put it here to complete it.

"First, I’d like to say that I’m a musician with no formal musical training, meaning I can’t read or write music scores.  I’m saying this so it’d be easier for everybody to understand what I’m going to say.

My obsession with sound can be traced back to the early 80’s when I first contacted British new music.  Actually, it happened quite by accident.  My dad gave me a hi-fi component which came with a LP of New Order.  Since then, I started listening to different kinds of music including post punk, electronic and so on.  Those listening experience have some great influences on my music creativity later on.  My music creativity also happened by accident.  It all began when my company set up a recording system, multi-track recording system.  While I was learning to use the system, I developed some kind of interest in music creativity that grew deeper as time went by.  And when I got familiar with it, I started making some demos. Those demos were considered as my early works and were released as my debut solo album “PAST” under Tzadik label in 1996. 

Since 1985, I have got into the habit of field recording.  At first, I was just recording the sound around me, for instance, the sound that I heard on my way to my grandparents’ house, in the bus, on the road, at home, during meals, or even people talking.  I used walkman, dat, md, and now dv.  These recordings are all very important to me, just like a sound diary.  I never thought that they would become the main sources of my musical works, but in fact they are.  If not for these recordings, I think I wouldn’t have started my music creation.  Well, definitely not.  Every sound of these brings some good memory from the past, so it’s a very pleasant process working on my musical works.  This is also the motive that drives me to the studio to create a new work.

I composed some musical works with the use of sampling method.  One of those is classical composition, which was sampling out of around 100 pieces of classical music.  I spent one day on sampling, and another day on synthesizing.  The piece was composed especially for my workshop in Krakow Academy School in Poland.  My purpose is to bring out a message to the professors and students that even without formal musical training, one can also compose music.  I hoped the students could have a more open-minded attitude towards musical creation.  One of the keys in creating music is the self-training on sound listening, and not just limited to music score.  Some of the important steps are the analysis of sound, re-organizing of structures and combination of elements.  Sometimes, we can put aside the formal musical knowledge, enjoy some moments of free creation, and take our brain and ears to a new journey of music appreciation.

Now, let’s improvise a new piece together.  If you have brought CD with you, you can take it out.  If not, we can use mine.  I would like you to choose the part that impresses you the most.  We will then cut them down and put into the computer for reconstruction and see how it will turn out.  I’m sure this process will give you an interesting new experience.  However, I’m not trying to get everybody to learn sampling and creation, but this process can help you to do immediate judgment on music, which is very significant in the reconstruction of sound or music.  When you know the characteristic of sound, you will have a better picture of sound art.

Today, I’d like to talk about “Sound and Composition”, and make an introduction of the present situation of sound-art artists in China.

The development of Chinese sound art didn’t start until 2000, with only one or two artists.  Up to the present, it has increased to around ten artists but only a few pieces of works.  The main reason behind this was due to inadequate resources, and lack of interchange and communication between artists.  When the ADSL (internet) came into existence, the artists finally had the chance to approach the sound art productions from international artists.  P2P was also the main source, as well as CD. However, CD was kind of expensive at RMB 150 each, which was not affordable to most fans.  This contributed to the slow and late development of non-academic sound art.  I remembered when I brought John Zorn and Eye to China back in 1996, none of the young people knew who they were.  The audience was mainly foreigners or jazz fans.  Of course, they were disappointed because that was a very experimental performance. 

In Between 1994 to 2000, I invited different kinds of avant-garde artists to perform in China, mostly in cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taipei.  Visiting artists included Otomo Yoshihide, Sachiko M, Peril, Zbigniew Karkowski, Mike Patton, Ikue Mori, Ruins, Keiji Haino, Masada and so on.  The recent visits of Zbigniew have push forward the development of sound art in China.

Up to the present, the sound art artists can be found in different cities in China including: Ronez @ Guilin, Wang Zhang Cun @ Haerbin, Wang Fan @ Beijing, Zafka and Justin Zhong @ Guangzhou, Zenlu and Lin Zhi Ying @ Shenzhen, Xu Cheng and Torturing Nurse @ Shanghai, Li Jian Hong and Jin Yao @ Hangzhou.

Speaking of Sound Art in China, I have to mention about the situation in Hong Kong and Taiwan.  Actually, Hong Kong is the earliest city to have experimental artists and CD releases.  The activities can be traced back to late 80’s including self-financed cassettes and fanzines.  In 1992, Sound Factory released the first CD by Chinese experimental artist Xper Xr which was also the first experimental album I produced.  Later on followed by I.666 and PNF.  Basically, they were all noise and avantgarde.  Nonetheless, it’s very hard to organize shows in Hong Kong due to lack of appropriate venues.  In addition, there weren’t many new artists, so the experimental scene kind of faded out gradually.  Until now, I should be among those who remain active, the rest I don’
t know.

With Taiwan, I came across an experimental group called Zero and Sound Liberation Organization in 1993.  The group was formed by 3 college students and disbanded after their graduation.  In 1994, I co-organized with the group the first underground music show.  There were around 2000 audience, and 20 medias, including tv, radio, magazines, came to make live-interview.  That was a very successful event.  After that, the event was held continuously for 2 years.  Eric Lin, one of the members of the group remains active until now.  Other sound art artists in Taiwan are Dino, Pei, and Fuiji Wang and some more i forget the name in this moment." 

Zenlu – the future/CD


The Future
Zen Lu
Label:We Play! Records(
Release:4th December 2007
1.When You Grow Up
2. Hammering in My Head
4.The Slow End of Nothing
5.At My Most Beautiful
6.Night Bird
All tracks composed by Zen Lu
Recorded in Sweden,Poland,China,June-October 2007
Mastered by Dickson Dee@Dicksonia Studio
Designed by Hei Lee@Altscape Creative(
P+C 2007 We Play! Records

Zbigniew Karkowski & Atsuko Nojiri – Continuity DVD+CD


Zbigniew Karkowski & Atsuko Nojiri – Continuity – Asphodel

If any recording constitutes the sum total of an artist’s career to date, it is Continuity. Both a career overview and a glimpse into renown polish sound artist Zbigniew Karkowski’s promising future, the compositions on this hybrid release sample and re-interpret the entirety of the Tokyo resident’s rich catalogue of work. A master sound manipulator, Karkowski employs a variety of tools to process and rework original acoustic instrument recordings. The pieces presented on Continuity demonstrate Karkowski’s relentless attention to detail, and provide more than ample explanation for repeated invitations to perform at prestigious galleries, museums, and venues around the globe. The Continuity DVD contains visual interpretations of Karkowski’s compositions by Japanese video artist Atsuko Nojiri. Rather than simply functioning as graphic replications of the original musical works, all three of Nojiri’s pieces seamlessly wrap themselves around Karkowski’s sounds as though they were integral parts of their own larger multimedia compositions. In the process, Nojiri’s videos become independent of the original musical works that they purport to document. An argument for the indivisibility of sound and vision, or the emergence of a new aesthetic medium? Quite evidently, the answer is both. *The included CD contains over an hour of unreleased material by Karkowski:

CD:1. Mass-Flow-Rate – 26:10 2. Perceptor – 41:37

DVD:1. Float – 16:22 2. Tritonal Rapture – 10:53 3. Membrane – 14:18

NOIShanghai I & NOIShanghai II CD released

NOIShanghai I
OO + Torturing Nurse + Xu Cheng + Wang-Changcun(45’05”)

live at 36mm cds & books shop


mastered by Junky

shasha cd-007

NOIShanghai II
01 – BSOD(03’11”)

02 – AMVK+DDV(23’32”)

03 – Li-Jianhong(07’12”)

04 – Dennis Tyfus+Li-Jianhong(05’58”)

05 – Torturing Nurse(21’59”)

live at no.001,undergound,1643 alley,huashan rd,shanghai,china


mastered by Junky

shasha cd-008