Two years after Disruptive Muzak, British Bristol-based producer Sam Kidel announced the release of a new album. Silicon Ear is out digitally and on 12″ vinyl via Paris-based label Latency on December 14th. As the press release reports, the sound is the album is like “Chamber music meets free-party-scene warehouse-invasion”. An excerpt is available below.
Following his compelling comment on the modern-day culture of call centres, Disruptive Muzak – awarded Album of the Year 2016 by Boomkat – Sam Kidel turns his analytical artistry towards the ominous gatekeepers of online communication with a rave-inspired rebel spirit to match his scientific methodology.
First exhibited at EBM(T) in Tokyo, Live @ Google Data Center trespasses in Google’s data centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa to perform electronic music amongst the humming banks of servers and endless cable runs, without actually breaking in. In a process he describes as “mimetic hacking,” Kidel used architectural plans based on photos of the data centre to acoustically model the sonic qualities of the space.
The resulting acoustics on Live @ Google Data Center simulate the sound of Kidel’s algorithmically-generated notes, rhythms and melodies reverberating through the space, as though a bold illegal party was being held in the maximum security location. Kidel’s manipulation of his generative direction of the music, all inspired by images of the data centre.
“Music that deafens the silicon ear”
The generative audio patch Kidel used to make Voice Recognition DoS Attack seeks to disable the functionality of voice recognition software by triggering phonemes (the smallest units of language).
The project, first developed for the Eavesdropping series of events in Melbourne, exploits a weakness in voice recognition that cannot distinguish between individual voices. When you speak while the patch is playing, the cascading shards of human expression mask your speech and thus protect you from automated surveillance, questioning our vulnerability in the face of global data giants. In amongst these displaced sounds, Kidel fed additional musical elements into his patch to create the version of the project heard on this release.