Hierarchies of Incompleteness

The tracks for this project can be heard here:


I am currently developing a work, exploring aspects of text; particularly, the sonic extracts from Paul Nataraj’s You Sound Like A Broken Record project. Nataraj had recorded statements, taken from a variety of vinyl record owners. These interviews revealed the owners’ views on the significance, or influence a given recording had on their life.  Some of the tracks in Hierarchies of Incompleteness rely solely on those extracts. Other tracks have been formed through an arrangement of processed sound. Sometimes those processed elements were created using software instruments which I had built (shown below).


Sometimes, the tracks mix Nataraj’s fragments and other contrasting material, which is then processed further – I encountered the fragments when Paul and I had performed Dialogic Transparencies (2017) in Glasgow. 

My initial interests in sonic text, can be found in the works of Charles Dodge; specifically, his Speech Songs (1976). Dodge’s work demonstrates earlier musical uses of synthesized speech. Other forms which have been influential, are the prose poems by Charles Simic. In an older instrumental work of mine, I had set some of his poems for voice, vibraphone, and clarinet. More recently, I found an older digital recording of that work, and chose to abstract parts of it for use in Hierarchies. Other tracks were built around my own recordings of outdoor environments in Tokyo and Sao Paulo.     

The title of my project refers to a phrase which David Zicarelli (2002) has used to describe the design structure of the Max software program. He goes on to mention, ‘Max creates an ecology within which combinations of elements can form a solution….it pays a great deal of attention to supporting the development of basic elements and how these elements form arbitrary relationships.’ For me, this design concept mentioned, seems to maintain a spirit of openness and unlimited possibility. Perhaps, it is this spirit, which has motivated me to explore sonic text. More to come..




Amirkhanian, Charles., 1980-81. Church Car, Version 2. [Ubuweb:sound]. Available at:<http://www.ubu.com/sound/amir.html[Accessed 2017]

Amirkhanian, Charles., 1982. Dog of Stravinsky. [Ubuweb:sound]. Available at:<http://www.ubu.com/sound/amir.html[Accessed 2017]

kaesebarenick, 2014. Dodge, Charles Speech Songs: The Days are Ahead 1976. Computer synthesized sound. Available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfPkhBYtVfY> [Accessed 2017]

kaesebarenick, 2014. Dodge, Charles Speech Songs: When I Am With You 1976. Computer synthesized sound. Available at: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WRvmZ1GVfac> [Accessed 2017]

Zicarelli, David., 2002. How I learned to Love a Program that Does Nothing. Computer Music Journal, 26 (4). pp.4451.