A Liberated Sonic Sublime: Perspectives On The Aesthetics & Phenomenology Of Sound Synthesis

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


Proceedings of the Sound and Music Computing Conference 2016, SMC 2016, Hamburg, Germany (2016) (2016)






In this paper I will investigate the aesthetics of electronic sound synthesis, materiality and the contemporary sublime in an analysis and discussion of interrelated phenomenological, philosophical and cultural considerations through chosen sound and music examples. I argue that the aesthetic experience of sonic timbres that seem unearthly to us resembles that of a transcendental sublime in the uncanny experience of the synthesis of both known and unknown sounds. Both experimental music and “switched-on” reinterpretations are addressed through explorations of sound in time, space and technology and I discuss if we as listeners are able to differentiate materiality from its superficial cognates when challenged by sonic doppelgängers. Concepts of sonorous perception are taken into account from a phenomenological point-ofreference with the purpose of discussing a Varèsian liberation of sound synthesis, arguing the transcendence of the boundaries in the physical world being possible through the aesthetics surrounding an unfathomable technological sublime in the art and infinite sea of possibilities of synthesizing electricity.

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