Listeners on Listening


“Can one make a listening listened to? Can I transmit my listening, unique as it is?”  -Peter Szendy, Listen

Over the summer, I read Peter Szendy’s book Listen. I heard about it through an interview with Lawrence English discussing his ideas on field recording and “relational listening.” Being a fan of his work, I did what I usually do when I’m really into an artist, or a band – I started digging into their influences to get a better idea of where their sound/style comes from. And hopefully, getting turned onto some great music in the process.

Bitten by the field recording bug, I began recording my walks to work, around town, outside my apartment, and noticed a big difference in what I heard at the time versus what was recorded. Remembering each step, but hearing my breath and surroundings differently. (The cicadas were loud this summer.)

Being that life is so visually oriented in our digital age, I’ve noticed on several occasions that as soon as a piece of music starts playing, say Mozart, Bach, what have you, the audiences’ attention drifts back to their phones, or some other distraction.  For all intents and purposes, making the music essentially white noise.

So I thought maybe getting perspectives on listening from members of the music community would be useful. With a handful of perspectives from people in different realms of the music industry, we might be able to find a common thread that opens up new avenues of what it means to listen to music, and the world around us.

Bryan Walthall

Bryan Walthall is recording and mastering engineer based in Richmond, VA. You can also catch him running sound at Gallery 5, Sound of Music Studios, and other venues around town. I’m producing the next Murphy Kids record and I’m boning up on my new school ska. so we’ll be doing Mighty Mighty Bosstones – […]

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David Lowery

David Lowery is the singer, and songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. Over his thirty year career in the music business, he also has many production credits to his name including albums by Counting Crows, Lucero, Sons of Bill, and Sparklehorse. In the last few years, Lowery has also become a strong […]

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Joel Burleson

Joel Burleson is a Richmond, VA based musician, producer, and remix artist working under the Ki:Theory moniker. To date he has released three albums, as well as several movie and TV placements, including his cover of the classic “Stand By Me” on the FOX series “The Following”. In addition, Burleson has had remixes of Daft […]

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Joo Won Park

Joo Won Park is a composer of computer and electro-acoustic music combining orchestral instruments with interactive computer programming, field recordings, modular synthesis, and sometimes outright noise. Each piece incorporates sonic elements meant to push the listener’s ear into new, unfamiliar territories, as his bio says “to make everyday sound beautiful and strange so that everyday […]

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Kate Carr

Kate Carr is internationally known sound artist, based in Belfast, who focuses her creative efforts on “articulating the relationship between people and place through sound.” Her most recent recording environments include Iceland, and Mexico. She is also the founder and curator of her own record label, Flaming Pines. You buy a new album, […]

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Keeley Davis

Keeley Davis is a musician playing for bands such as Engine Down, Sparta, and Denali. He is also the co-founder of Mondial Creative, a production company focused on video, animation, and other visual experiences. “Stuff-makers” as their website says. You buy a new album, or hear a new piece for the first time, describe […]

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Kenneth Kirchner

Kenneth Kirschner is an avant-garde, experimental composer whose works mesh together electronic processes with acoustic instrumentation to build on the minimalistic, and aleatoric styles John Cage, and Morton Feldman set in place. Many of his works linger in the quiet folds of sound that must be listened to attentively or not at all. One of his most […]

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Lawrence English

Lawrence English is a composer, sound artist, and curator based in Australia. As an avid field recordist, English explores the sounds of environments he finds himself in, exploring the way we aurally perceive the world. By mingling the worlds of acoustic and electronic sounds, he challenges his audiences to experience the physical nature of sounds […]

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Marc Weidenbaum

Marc Weidenbaum is a music journalist, and author of the 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin‘s Selected Ambient Works Volume II, publisher of webzine, and curator of the Disquiet Junto. You buy a new album. Describe your routine and experience of its first listening. I’m not sure I have a routine, aside from listening to it as soon as possible. […]

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Nick Photinos

Nick Photinos is the cellist for Eighth Blackbird. Since its origination, Eighth Blackbird has been exploring and performing new compositions in the realm of classical music. For twenty years now, Nick and company have been pushing the boundaries their repertoire working composers such as Steve Reich, David Lang, Steve Mackey, Nico Muhly, and Bryce Dessner […]

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Olivia Block

Olivia Block is a composer and sound artist based in Chicago, IL. Her work centers on electroacoustic composition focused on the use of field recordings, site specific sounds, and other concrete elements to create evolving textures that often have a vague narrative quality that invite into a specific sonic environment. A couple of her most recent […]

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Rafael Anton Irisarri

Rafael Anton Irisarri is a composer/sound artist, and mixing/mastering engineer based in rural New York, by way of the Pacific Northwest. His creative output consists of two personas – works under his own name focusing on subtly shifting soundscapes, which he refers to as “maximal minimalism’, and his more techno bent works under The Sight […]

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Rich Stine

Rich Stine is a musician, recording engineer, and producer based in Richmond, VA. 1. You buy a new album, describe your routine/experience of its first listening. I would say first off, that buying a new album is a rare occurrence for me. There are few true current albums that I really want to listen […]

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Stephan Mathieu

Stephan Mathieu is a mastering engineer, self taught composer and performer of my own music, working in the fields of electroacoustics and abstract digitala. In his own words, his sound “is largely based on early instruments, environmental sound and obsolete media, which are recorded and transformed by means of experimental microphony, re-editing techniques and software […]

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Stephen Vitiello

Stephen Vitiello is an internationally known electronic musician and sound artist, and professor here at VCU’s Department of Kinetic Imaging. 1. You buy a new album, describe your routine and experience of its first listening. In all honesty, the moment you describe is less precious now than it would have been when I was younger. […]

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Taylor Deupree

Taylor Deupree is an electronic musician, mastering engineer, and founder of the 12k record label. Deupree has been recording and producing electro-acoustic music for over 25 years, with his most recent efforts in the realms of modular synthesis, and tape loop manipulation. His 12k label builds on the aesthetic heard in his own music, focusing […]

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Ted Laderas

Ted Laderas is an experimental cellist, composer, and photographer who incorporates shoegaze music with classical orchestration. Working under the moniker The OO-Ray, his music is a combination of electroacoustic, ambient loops and drones to create soundscapes extending the sonic possibilities of his instrument.  He recently published a set of essays called “Survival Skills for Artists,” that is […]

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