SIGNAL PATH: The Present and Future of SOUND and NOISE [or, Fury]


‘Focusing and defocusing of a signal passed through a random turbulent atmospheric medium.’

SIGNAL PATH: The Present and Future of SOUND and NOISE [or, Fury]
Friday, May 30, 9 AM- 5PM
T. Lang Conference room, 55 West 13th Street, second floor, New York City
Free and open to the public

Elliott Sharp, Perry Hall, Joe Ravo, Eldritch Priest, Marc Couroux, Quinn Dougherty,
Brendan Byrne, Joe Saavedra; Danil Nagy, Lisa Ekle, Yuval Borochov;
Punctum Records Artists: Roger Sellers, Topher Sipes, Andrew Stevens
Organized and introduced by  Ed Keller, Director, CTM.

[speaker bios: ]

Excerpts from the event at UStream:

More symposium footage at UStream event channel:

‘What is the signal path- the ‘information flow’ through ‘instruments’? What models and disciplines might be useful to invoke when asking this question?  Looking to computation, the way that memory is articulated is illustrative of the specific challenges faced when we contrast a more static form of storage, such as a flipped bit [or a printed page]- against a more dynamic form, such as delay line memory, a 1950s technology that used sound waves propagating through tubes of mercury. These examples underscore what might be at stake when we translate theories of noise to the sonic disciplines, and musical and sonic concepts to disciplines as diverse as geology, economics, material science, architectural design, and geo-politics.

This symposium offers an invitation to explore the space of research and practice in sound that is keenly attuned to the value of ‘noise’.  The intention is to reveal approaches both pragmatic as well as platforms theoretic,  across the political/arts/sciences spectrum. We ask: what kinds of exchange exist between these domains, and what evidence can be offered to ‘prove’ the existence of those exchanges? How can we re-imagine our concepts and definitions of ‘noise’ to suit the unique geo-bio-political situation we find ourselves in today?’ – Ed Keller

SUGGESTED THEMES [a partial list]
Pragmatics: evidence from designers, builders, software makers, players, composers working with      noise.
Noise and various forms of cryptomorphology situated against the potentially monotonic nature of various forms of temporality/capital [see Pasquinelli’s work on entropy]
• Models of different kinds of noise/time to re-situate sound practice, performance, composition
• Role of noise in cybernetic models of emergent and complex systems
Theoretical component- study of examples [both inside and outside music] who are thinking this through.
Parallels [apophenias] between concepts found in the discipline of cryptography, and sounds and patterns in the resonant world.
How does sound and noise manifest through geologies and geographies- thinking the post human;  large time scales in relation to sound; deep time recording and industrial landscapes [Andy Weir].




“To give the statement life and colour, let me anticipate what will be explained in much more detail later, namely, that the most essential part of a living cell- the chromosome fibre may suitably be called an aperiodic crystal. ” Schrodinger, ‘What is Life?’, 1944

“The principal internal storage in the Univac I system is the 1000-word acoustic delay-line memory, consisting of 100 10-word mercury registers. Twelve additional 10-word registers function as intermediate storage for input and output; six more are spares. With modified circuitry, seven more channels control the temperature of seven mercury tanks, and one more channel is used for the 10-word Y- register. The total of 126 mercury channels is contained in the seven mercury tanks mounted on the backs of sections MT, MV, MX, NT, NV, NX, and GV. Each tank is divided into 18 channels. Physically, each of the 10-word register circuits is made up of three sections:

_ The acoustic delay, consisting of a channel in a column of mercury, with receiving and transmitting crystals mounted at opposite ends.
_ An intermediate-frequency (i-f) chassis, electrically connected to the receiving crystal, and containing amplifiers, a detector, and a compensating delay. The i-f chassies are mounted on the shell of the mercury tank which they serve.
_ A recirculation chassis, containing a cathode follower, a pulse former and retimer, a modulator, which drives the transmitting crystal, and input, clear, and memory-switch gates. These chassies are mounted in the sections adjacent to the mercury tanks.”

On May 30 2014, CTM presents two events engaging sound in both the performative and theoretical dimensions.

_ ‘SIGNAL PATH- The Present and Future of Sound and Noise [or, Fury]’, a one day symposium
_ ‘The Lost Weekend’, an evening of performances with Punctum Records

The SIGNAL PATH symposium is part of a year long CTM series, ’The Future of Guitar and Instrument Design’, that has brought internationally renowned luthiers, designers, builders, materials innovators, composers, performers, theorists, and sound designers together to explore points of connection between the traditions of musical instrument design and sound production. A full day symposium will include scholarly presentations, research papers, and instrument demonstrations; informed by materials science, emergent materials, parametric design, the internet of things, physical computing, networked sound, and ultimately considering the politics of ‘noise’.

‘The Lost Weekend’, an evening event with Punctum Records. will provide an opportunity for performance by symposium participants, and showcase some of Punctum Records’ artists:
Marmalakes, Taft, Battle Bend, Bridges, Roger Sellers, and David Moss; for the full ‘Lost Weekend’ lineup and program/venues:
CTM and Punctum Books/Punctum Records formed an imprint/event partnership in 2013.
For more information on the books and recordings published and forthcoming, and the CTM
Future of Instrument Design lecture/performance series, please visit:


SIGNAL PATH: The New School T. Lang Center, 13th Street: all day event

LOST WEEKEND: Wollman Auditorium, 11th Street, Punctum Records evening event
Lost Weekend is organized by Punctum Records/Books [Eileen Joy, Dan Rudmann]; with
Ed Keller, CTM.