Not signed in (Sign In)
  1.  (2375.1)
    Have any of you been following this whole hauntology thing over the last 18 months or so? I went to a seminar about it a couple of weeks ago that felt a bit like people putting a capstone over it. An extract from Wikipedia's stub:

    The idea suggests that the present exists only with respect to the past, and that society after the end of history will begin to orient itself towards ideas and aesthetics that are thought of as rustic, bizarre or "old-timey"; that is, towards the "ghost" of the past.

    As applied to musics, hauntology is an attempt to define that particular sonic which is the sound of the present being audibly haunted by the past. Songs heard as if from three rooms away, in the middle of the night. The ghostly music-boxes heard in Philip Jeck pieces. Crackle. There's a connection with Electronic Voice Phenomenon in there, and a tenuous connection is at least passively inferred with Paul Devereux's experiments in archaeoacoustics. (he's got his tongue in his cheek when he calls it "deep hauntology" -- but he does say it.)

    So, before I get any further into this -- am I talking to myself here?

    -- W
  2.  (2375.2)
    I'm listening.
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008 edited
    It's interesting to note that, from a music maker's standpoint, there are a lot of digital plugins popping up that are designed specifically to "distress" audio -- to add crackles and pops, to lower the fidelity, etc.

    A lot of Burial's stuff sounds like that (I have no idea whether it's intentional or not): that vibe that you're listening to music made of ancient sounds. Or maybe I'm just a wanker.

    (Edit) That reminds me, obscurely, of the film Angel Heart: the scene at the end with Rourke and DeNiro where they use the old Johnny Favorite song as a sort of creepy counterpoint to the action. Which proves that you can take any music made before, say, 1967, add a lot of reverb to it, and scare the shit out of people.
    • CommentAuthorhank
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    Warren, I'm interested but still not up to speed. Sounds interesting though.
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    Also, weren't a lot of the late 70s / early 80s industrial people into this sort of thing? The SPK people; and I think Brian Lustmord was (probably still is)...and wasn't there a band called Dead Voices on Air?
  3.  (2375.6)
    A lot of Burial's stuff sounds like that (I have no idea whether it's intentional or not):

    In some cases, it definitely is -- "Raver" is clearly intended to be heard as the ghost of the rave scene, standing in an Essex field and hearing it bleed back from twenty years ago.
  4.  (2375.7)
    Also, weren't a lot of the late 70s / early 80s industrial people into this sort of thing? The SPK people; and I think Brian Lustmord was (probably still is)...and wasn't there a band called Dead Voices on Air?

    I don't remember SPK specifically invoking historicity, which Burial, Jeck and the likes of the Mordant Music and Ghost Box labels absolutely do.
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    I've been fascinated recently by Paul Horn's "Inside the Great Pyramid", where he goes into various rooms of said pyramid and allows the acoustics of each room to play into the recording of what he's playing on his flute. I'll have to do some research but I wonder if this sort of thing does/should fall under the purview of hauntology in music. It seems to be that it parallels what there is to archaeoacoustics quite well, since it is possible to engineer a room in such a way as to lend a sound to it (letting the sounds be created by natural vibrations, intentional vibrations, or even just the wind).

    For consideration, this site has some of "Inside the Great Pyramid":
    • CommentAuthorburket
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    Pretty much what Hank said.

    it sounds interesting, just this is the first I'm hearing of it.
  5.  (2375.10)
    First thing I thought of upon reading this was "The Stone Tape' which is an eerie as fuck BBC movie from back in 72 or so.

    A bit from my field. We had a client a couple years back who wanted to create seasonal audio presence for an exhibition. Over the course of a year we had a sound engineer go out to the site and make long form recordings, usually 2-4 hours in length. Mostly just wind, insects and bird. At the end she had nearly 60 hours of tape of this site from every month of the year. Again, mostly just background noise that we cut into the exhibition as presence and there was an interactive panel where you could "hear the sounds of summer" that was kind of fun.

    The sound engineer also made layered recordings of the presence set to beats. It was a lot like Burial, a haunted audio landscape. You'd catch the odd car horn or human noises bubbling up. Straining to hear things that had occured at a very specific place at a very specific time. I wish it was online but the client is governmental and twitchy.
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    I'm fascinated, but to be honest, my australopithecine brain starts shrieking and throwing rocks. I'm far too goddamn superstitious.

    Does that "To Repel Ghosts" outfit belong in this movement? Their "Partisan Songs" disc reminded me to listening to echoes from another time, a weird time.
  6.  (2375.12)
    I'm really interested in this kind of stuff; I used to be interested in victorian mediums & how their hoaxes were put together, ghost stories, etc. Older, distressed sounds intrigue me. EVP strikes me alternately as hillarious, and darn eerie (I suspect some EVPs are merely somehow picking up radio or older wireless phones, but sometimes I can't figure it out)...

    In anycase, I'm interested in hearing a bit more about this- I don't know enough to shake a stick at, but I'm up to learning more.
    • CommentAuthoracacia
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008 edited
    It's been 'redefined' in my opinion to suit a certain artistic pattern in a kind of chic way--my interpretation of that 'What is ideology?' text by Derrida was that it says clearly the opposite of this past haunting the present stuff:

    This quote sums it up for me! "But if the commodity-form is not, presently, use-value, and even if it is not actually present, it affects in advance the use-value of the wooden table. It affects and bereaves it in advance, like the ghost it will become, but this is precisely where haunting begins. And its time, and the untimeliness of its present, of its being “out of joint.” To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a hauntology. Ontology opposes it only in a movement of exorcism. Ontology is a conjuration." (via: spectres of marx)
    • CommentAuthorjzellis
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    I was so jealous when I saw that band To Repel Ghosts. I was gonna name my album that. (It's a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting title.)

    I see a lot of this hauntology idea in William Gibson's work, once you get past the future-forward flash stuff.

    Also, see Gavin Bryars' "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet". A field recording of an English tramp singing a sort of folk hymn, set to orchestral music, with Tom Waits singing along.
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008 edited
    fascinating. it's the first I've heard this term, but haunting is a subject close to my heart. as far as the music side of it goes... I immediately think of the scene in the movie Legion (retitled Exorcist III by the studio). there's a dream of murdered ghosts playing cards with the angels in Heaven's waystation, while an old recording of Song of India plays somewhere. Akira Yamaoka's fond of that same kind of thing in the Silent Hill video games. a lot of his music goes for an old-timey, big-band sound, but with melancholy minor tones that achieve a haunting effect. he also uses "skip and crackle" effects, either in his songs, or by themselves in the background of a scene for the sake of creepiness. along a similar line, I started listening to Climax Golden Twins after hearing the Session 9 soundtrack.
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    I'm all ears and elbows for this stuff. I've been looking to combine that with the idea of infrasound for the past couple of weeks. Interesting applications I would think.

    First I heard of it was your blog entry about a gig in London you took in and i've been into Philip Jeck ever since and devouring all the Paul Devereux I can find. I've been into the Ghost Box stuff (how could someone not want to listen to an artist named Eric Zann?) but just now looked up Mordant Music. Cheers for that.
    • CommentAuthorPersonman
    • CommentTimeMay 26th 2008
    I have no idea if this is anything like what you are talking about, but the TMBG song I Can Hear You, recorded on a wax cylinder at the Edison lab, was the first thing that sprung to mind. It's currently the first song on
  7.  (2375.18)
    This is fascinating, I'd never heard of the term before now, but I would definitely describe Poe's album 'Haunted' as hauntological.
    The album also featured samples of audio recordings made by Poe's late father, film director Tad Danielewski. The cassettes were found by Poe and Mark after their father had died and were literally audio-letters to the two of them that spanned back as far as their birth. Thus, the album is usually interpreted as a real woman (Poe) singing tributes to her deceased father (who sings back) even while telling the story of a group of fictional characters (from House of Leaves).
    A very creepy album in places...
    • CommentAuthordrug opera
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008 edited
    Hi folks, this is my first post here - been lurking long enough I think.

    I remember seeing the hauntology tag coined by k-punk a couple of years back (if that) during his championing of the Ghost Box label. It did seem to be a bit of a artificial genre, in the sense that it didn't come out of any real scene that existed at the time, but as term to unify a certain musical approach or atmosphere I'm a big fan. I think I'm in agreement with k-punk in that my favourite hauntological artist of recent years is The Caretaker. Everyone should go and download at least one of his albums right now (they're free), it's beautiful stuff

    Other than that - yeah Philip Jeck is the man. Anything on the Touch label in general is pretty essential - Chris Watson's field recordings, Rosie Parlane, Mika Vanio....
    Also great is a guy called Chris Herbert who released an album called Mezzotint on the Kranky label a couple of years ago and I still throw it on every week or so. He made alot of it with field recordings of Birminghams waterways and disused bathhouses and so on - I've never been to Birmingham, but this does evoke a real sense of industrial decay and overgrown canals etc. Fantastic.

    I'll have to go and think of some more...
    • CommentAuthorradian
    • CommentTimeMay 27th 2008
    Listening at full force!
    First heard the term "hauntology" via your blog though, had no idea what you were on abut to be honest. Still catching up...

    Burial told the Wire he added the hiss, clicks and noise at first because he was shy about the beats and wanted to drown them out a little. Dunno how much I buy that though.

    Anyway, that "Inside the Great Pyramid" sounds interesting. I've started using a similar thing in my own music, without the travel though... using impulse responses to capture how the reverb behaves in a room and then applying that reverb to recordings. It lets you play around with the sense of space by using IR recordings of spaces the instrument couldn't fit or using two places signature sound in combination, or trying any recording in place of an IR to give a weird effect. Not sure if I'm wondering of topic here?

    Has anyone thrown up a muxtape in another thread with the kind of music we are talking about here? I'd be interested to hear more examples.