April 18, 2017

noise and the mind

Filed under: african noise foundation,philosophy — ABRAXAS @ 2:55 pm

But the body knows the score, recognizes the crisis before the mind. It not only gets the steel ball rolling onto the intestines, but also activates the senses, setting them to the frequencies, at which the signals of new dangers can be received. Those signals appear as noise to the previous – pre-war – mind, as a breakdown in communication. The new mind, which the body floods with adrenaline, begins, like a rabbit in a forest of foxes – to decode all the signals, even if it’s not capable of fitting them into any narrative. The unified, ontologically comfortable mind splits: on the one hand, the pre-war mind refuses the possibility of catastrophe; on the other the war mind perceives everything as the signal that the end is nigh.

Aleksandar Hemon
Stop Making Sense: What is noise now will be music later

August 26, 2016


Filed under: african noise foundation,kaganof — ABRAXAS @ 9:33 pm


April 21, 2016

“the panic of sounds”

Filed under: african noise foundation,literature — ABRAXAS @ 12:27 pm

Now there followed in succession various sentences in a strange chaos, because they were mixed up with the conversations of the 12th and 13th march companies, which went on at the same time, and the telegram got completely lost in the panic of sounds.

The Good Soldier Svejk
Jaroslav Hašek
translated by Cecil Parrott

May 28, 2015

junichiro tanizaki on the problem of sound recording technology

Filed under: african noise foundation,music,noisewomb — ABRAXAS @ 4:05 pm

Had we invented the phonograph and the radio, how much more faithfully they would reproduce the special character of our voices and our music. Japanese music is above all a music of reticence, of atmosphere. When recorded, or amplified by a loudspeaker, the greater part of its charm is lost. In conversation, too, we prefer the soft voice, the understatement. Most important of all are the pauses. Yet the phonograph and radio render these moments of silence utterly lifeless.
Junichiro Tanizaki
In Praise of Shadows

March 6, 2015

on the harp

Filed under: african noise foundation,music — ABRAXAS @ 8:10 pm

Our life is bound with the forest. Every initiation is related to the forest. The relationship between the people and the forest is seen in the ritual. The harp, or what we call the gombi, is crucial. In the strings of the harp are the intestines of our first ancestor, the first men who lived in the forest. It is the main instrument in the initiation ceremony, and it was the first religion of the forest.
Ernest of Gabon
quoted in The Masque of Africa

noise war

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 8:35 am

war was noise, to frighten the enemy. mutesa had fifty drummers, as many flute players, and any number of men ready to shake gourds with pebbles.
v.s. naipaul
the masque of africa

February 26, 2015

african noise foundation now broadcasting over 150 films 24/7 on vimeo

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 11:19 pm


watch them all here: https://vimeo.com/user33124224

November 6, 2014

good art is beautiful detritus

October 8, 2014

we promise nothing. we bring the noise.

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 5:44 pm


February 26, 2014

Sohlala Siphila (Staying Alive) – African Noise Foundation

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 3:16 pm

October 4, 2013

sounds of silence

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 10:15 pm

Screen shot 2013-10-01 at 10.45.45 AM

September 28, 2013

sounds of silence

Filed under: african noise foundation,hearing landscape critically,music — ABRAXAS @ 9:47 pm

Screen shot 2013-09-27 at 10.22.57 PM

September 18, 2013

some forms of noise sensitivity

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 11:30 am

Auditory Defensiveness

Extreme sensitivity/over sensitivity to sound

Many different sounds can trigger irritation, anxiety and aggression

A tendency to react negatively or with alarm to sensory input which is generally considered harmless or non-irritating to others

Impacts day-to-day life

Intolerance of chewing sounds & overhead lights, especially fluorescent lighting

Distracted by sounds not normally noticed by others; i.e. humming of lights or refrigerators, fans, heaters or clocks ticking

Bothered/distracted by background environmental sounds, e.g. lawn mowing or outside construction

Frequently asks people to be quiet: stop making noise, talking, humming, singing

Runs away, cries, and/or covers ears with loud or unexpected sounds

Avoids movie theatres, musical concerts, etc.

May decide whether they like certain people by the sound of their voice


Overly sensitive to sound

When you complain about noise, people often ask you, what noise?

Trouble tolerating everyday sounds, some of which seem unpleasantly loud to that person but not to others standing right next to them

Annoyance and general intolerance to any sounds that most people don’t notice or consider unpleasant

Sounds and vibrations from a neighbour’s stereo or noise from cars half way down the block can be torture

Use of earplugs fails to bring relief

Tries to avoid stressful sound situations

Seeks isolation / controlled sound environments

Interprets all daily events in terms of the noise that might potentially be produced

Quality of life compromised


Annoyed, or even enraged, by the sound of other people eating, chewing, breathing, coughing or other ordinary sounds

Annoyed by other people’s repetitive movements, such as leg-tapping, nail-biting and typing

Sensitivity to the offending sounds are often far more severe when the origin of the sound comes from a person that is emotionally connected to the sufferer

Can make life unbearable

Some people even feel boiling rage whenever they hear ‘that sound’

Certain sounds trigger emotional responses of irritation and anger to an everyday sound that would seem insignificant to most people

Exacerbated by stress or feeling tired/run-down

An adverse response to sound no matter what volume the sound is

Sometimes is further triggered by seeing the source of the offending sound


Adverse emotional response to sound

Not only fear the sound of the environment they are experiencing in real time (right now), they worry about the sound that future events of the day or in the near future will produce

Can take over one’s life and make one feel they need to isolate themselves to survive

September 14, 2013

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 9:03 am


December 18, 2012

Jacques Rancière on noise vs. speech

Filed under: african noise foundation,politics — ABRAXAS @ 4:23 am

We mustn’t think in terms of instances of noise that are growing louder, ready to be heard by us; or of new subjects that are about to emerge. You don’t have noise biding its time, speech in gestation and awaiting the moment when it will finally be heard. Instead, there is a combination of two relationships: there is the permanence of a conflictual relationship over what is noise, speech or silence; but there are also changes in the form of this division. On the one hand, throughout our society there is speech that is heard merely as noise. Thus, the speech of refusal uttered by people who are made unemployed because of relocation and restructuring is conceived simply as the noise made by a victim. However well-argued, it is always interpreted by the rulers and their experts as the noise of suffering. For them the world moves on and, in so doing, creates wounds and suffering that are to be construed as such. If we take the case of immigration, the people who negotiate with illegal immigrants [sans-papiers] on hunger strike know full well that they are talking not with suffering bodies, but with people who argue, who have learnt in Africa the art of discussion, and for whom speech is an important element of social life. This does not prevent the situation of the sans-papiers from generally being regarded as a phenomenon of suffering and treated as such. So you don’t have noise which is going to become speech, but speech which is always an issue of interpretation. Will it or won’t it be heard as speech? Where is it going to be heard as noise or as speech?


November 21, 2012


Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 12:06 pm

November 20, 2012


Filed under: african noise foundation,signs of the times — ABRAXAS @ 7:04 pm

October 11, 2012

my lord bargain

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joel assaizky – music and all instruments
kaganof – vocal and lyrics
recorded in parkhurst at the a nul dubh studio, 2005

August 22, 2012

black slavery days – skulls (clappers)

August 5, 2012

the rules of noise

Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 4:29 pm


noise is post-music
noise is the phoenix of music moving beyond music
noise iterates what music never can, because noise is unruled
ergo: noise rules!

May 4, 2012


Filed under: african noise foundation — ABRAXAS @ 7:39 pm

May 3, 2012

you are nothing unless awake

unga dada live, friday 27 april 2012, the lounge, observatory cape town

only that which is bad is truly good for you

unga dada live, observatory friday 27 april 2012

October 12, 2011


Filed under: african noise foundation,jean-pierre de la porte,music — ABRAXAS @ 10:18 am

a concept by Aryan Kaganof for a collaboration between Michael Blake, Jean-Pierre De La Porte and Aryan Kaganof.

FU, the return, is the 24th symbol of the ancient Chinese divination system, the I Ching.

FU is also the title of a medium specific collaborative project that utilizes the SHUFFLE button of the dvd or mp3 player as an organizing feature of the compositions (or should it be disorganizing in this case?).

The 64 symbols of the I Ching will provide the inspiration for a set of exquisite miniatures; no composition over 1 minute in duration. The materials for each composition need not necessarily be conventional instruments; and if they are conventional instruments they need not be played conventionally. A good example of a conventional instrument being played non-conventionally would be Scelsi’s Ko-Tha for guitar.

Michael will not compose these 64 miniatures in the order that they appear in the I Ching. ie not from 1 through to 64.

The first composition to be composed will be 24. The Return. Thereafter Jean-Pierre will provide the next number. He will arrive at this number by means of an aleatoric process that is DIFFERENT each time. Each time a composition is completed its numeral will be removed from the set of possibilities thereby removing the chance of a number repeating.

Each miniature composition will be given to Aryan to create a filmic response to. The filmic miniatures will all be shot on site. This composite work of 64 chapters will in fact be a portrait of the exquisite natural environment of the area.

The pressure cooker nature of this collaboration will demand that at least one composition is written and filmed each day for 64 days. At the end of 2 months all 64 works will be collated by Jean-Pierre and presented as a composed for CD medium specific work that cannot play the sequence 1 through to 64. Furthermore it can never play the same sequence twice. Each time the CD is played through from beginning to end, it erases that possibility from its SHUFFLE mode architecture. In this way FU can never return!



July 20, 2011

helgé janssen on the bow project cd

Filed under: african noise foundation,helgé janssen,music,reviews — ABRAXAS @ 3:53 am


Reimagining Nofinishi Dywili’s traditional uhadi bow song performances.

I am not a traditionalist. Not by a long shot. This does not mean that I do not like tradition, it means that I feel tradition needs to transform if it is to survive. In fact tradition, as I see it, is about constantly updating the threads that link back to whatever gave rise to the original format. It is the way in which tradition transforms that creates culture. The way I see it, tradition is a springboard not a framework.

In this sense the Bow Project investigates the traditional process through which these Xhosa songs have survived and discovers that, purely on interest where these songs have been picked up by the youth within the immediate surrounds, they rely on a verbal transmission only. In so doing, the BOW PROJECT breathes new life into both an appraisal and an awareness of the uhadi bow and to Nofinishi’s songs, and to the ongoing development and experimentation in the classical music domain.

It is a well known fact that apartheid stifled growth and held the modern world at bay through the draconian laws of separate development and suppression. Spiritually whites suffered most. Yet most whites never ever realised it. However, this stagnation allowed traditional norms to also freeze, while seemingly giving them strength to consolidate their grounding. With the relatively sudden collapse of apartheid, tradition has been challenged precipitously to get its act together, or face extinction. This has created enormous tensions within the largely rural sectors of this country creating fear and foreboding. Cells phones, internet and modern technology are now available to everyone. Two years ago there was a huge furore over the traditional hand slaying of a bull (Ukushwama ritual) where Animal Rights Africa (ARA) failed in a court procedure to have this tradition transformed or scrapped. The shutters simply came crashing down and the white man was seen to be meddling in the internal affairs of tribesmen. “It is a very sad day for dignity, respect and compassion,” said Ms Pikover representative for ARA somewhat forlornly. The fact that this tradition had already been transformed from the killing of the king to the killing of a bull as a symbolic gesture, rather than kill the king himself, seemed to escape the ‘traditionalists’.

It is fortuitous then that The Bow Project began at a very crucial time in the transformation and focus on cultural diversity in South Africa – around 2002. Most critical to this is the fact that the performances of Nofinishi Dywili were originally recorded in the field by professor Dave Dargie during his research in the 1980s and 1990s. Thus these recordings form the authentic springboard for the reimaginings for string quartet.

It appears, somewhat synchronistically, as if this Bow Project has given rise to an historical investigation into the roots of the violin. A Bow Project (2004) was launched specifically with this agenda in mind by the SA born violinist Daniel Hope. Hope, who currently lives in Vienna, has been described as the “most exciting British string player since Jacqueline du Pré”. Through this research with Madosini and the uhadi bow as source, it has been suggested that the uhadi bow may even have been the originator of the bow and arrow! Hopes investigations have taken him across the globe and the project has become a multi-platform search for the roots of the ‘most human of instruments’.

CD TWO is devoted entirely to the recordings of Dywili which correspond sequentially to the reimaginings of these performances on CD ONE. There is a distinguished array of composers represented: Mokale Koapeng – Komeng; Martin Scherzinger – My Friend the Ugly One; Robert Fokkens – Libalel’ilanga (The Sun is Scorching the Earth); Julia Raynham – latshon’ilanga to mention but a few. The CD ends with Kaganof’s Anahat – a 7:37 minute remixing of Michael Blake’s String Quartet No. 3.

One can therefore listen to Dywili’s songs uninterruptedly and allow oneself the savour of journeying through the expansive rural Eastern Cape landscape so beautifully captured on the CD cover. To my Western/African ears I feel that Inxembuli (2002 version) is the more instantly accessible track of the Nofinishi recordings, all of which undoubtedly represent the heart and soul of the Eastern Cape. On this track however Nofinishi’s yearning vocal tone becomes an instrument of mesmerisingly tantric proportions in unison with the mantra of the uhadi bow.

It will sink into your bones.

It will colour your skin.

One could also download the CD onto one’s computer and then open a new window in the music programme (mine is iTunes) and then juxtapose the imagined version with the inspirational version and click on repeat. This forms, with recurrent listening, a fascinating format from which to appreciate the Bow Project’s deeper intentions! And, having witnessed the Bow Project performance at Howard College Theatre in 2009, I carry with me a delightful visual of Mantombi Matotiyana’s own renditions and her enthusiastic response to these composers’ reimaginings.

It is thus that Michael Blake String Quartet No. 3 (Nofinishi) verves the air immediately with the pluck of the viola and cello, cut through with the ‘string’ of the violins. Blake thus extracts (deconstructs) and then leaps with his inspiration flying through and interfacing with the Nofinishi arrhythymic rhythm. This resonates with my earlier musings that culture is a springboard, rather than a framework. This immediate statement clears the air for the rightful ideating of the Bow Project mandate. What Blake has achieved in my intuitive sense, is a relationship between the structure of the uhadi bow and the ‘evolved’ configuration of the classical quartet instruments. Each instrument is therefore enhanced in its individuality as well as it’s collective function.

With Anahat (a primordial sound within the body, signifying spiritual growth, especially associated with awakening of Kundalini – a sound that is created without collision or impact) – Kaganof has eliminated the orbit and crossflow of Blake’s imagining, and transformed his String Quartet No.3 into an earthy/earthly cello of a grounding turf resonance with strings of mood and essence. He thus explores the silence and space that sound creates and its imbued correspondence with spiritual growth.

The Bow Project has succeeded in creating a win win situation for diverse cultures across the Eastern Cape to the shores of Norway.

Get the CD, support this endeavour, and reap the rewards.

The project has been dedicated to the memory of Nofinishi Dywili (d.2002)

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