idle is a selection of about 75 hours of low-intensity, high-density music to get played continuously in shuffle mode. Each featured project is represented by one track. For Sounds Central Radio, works from artists with the letters A-C got shuffled twice, relying on the sophisticated AI of Apple’s Music app.
Author: Paul Paulun
No Wave Time Warp
When no wave emerged in New York City in the late 1970s, noise musician, art critic and artist Joseph Nechvatal was already there. Drawing on music of the time, he and Paul Paulun discuss aspects of the movement that opposed the commodification of music and art with radical, often multimedia works.
Headroom (3): Whispers
Living skies, a rhyming planet, plus urban and Saharan fantasies. 21st century chill-out music made between 1992 and 2022.
Headroom (2): Instants
Apricots, cocoa, and dancing at the fountain. 21st century chill-out music made between 1971 and 2022.
Headroom (1): Moving On
Join the procession, meet a cosmic shepherd and trace some magic. 21st century chill-out music made between 1974 and 2022.
6. Understood by Music
In conversation with music therapist Prof. Dr. phil. Isabelle Frohne-Hagemann I want to find out how receptive music therapy works and whether there are similarities between my own approach to listening and the established technique. Could guided listening to music possibly be an appropriate form of therapy for misophonia?
5. Sound Tells
Every now and then the world turns into a sound installation, only waiting to get noticed. When reel-to-reels became portable and affordable during the 1960s, field recordists, musicians and artists began to open their ears – on the hunt for special sounds.
4. Reflecting Sound
When composer Pauline Oliveros quoted Tibetan lama Sogyal Rinpoche on putting meditation in an equation with the wisdom of listening and the depth of insight in 1999, she had realized that her own listening skills were still continuing to evolve – forty six years after she started meditating on sound.
3. Activating the Ear
Originally employed as part of a bundle of means for mapping acoustic situations in locations around the world, soundwalks are a good method to understand and internalize the concept of soundscapes by experience. No one, who got initiated to the technique, ever got bored by them.
2. Delving Into Sound
If you don’t like a sound, listen closely! For most people suffering from misophonia, that might come as a paradoxical advice. To be aware of the thoughts behind this idea, however, might change one’s perception of a situation when being triggered.
1. Fascinated by Sound – Deep Listening
How we listen creates our life. Listening is the basis of all culture. An introduction to composer Pauline Oliveros’ ideas about sound. For her, listening is to be aware of one’s self – not just in the current moment.
Listening with Misophonia
Workshop based on conscious listening strategies as propagated by Pauline Oliveros and R. Murray Schafer. In order to cope with the disorder in constructive and active ways, it introduces new perspectives on listening and encourages practising.
Tellus – New York City’s Art Scene on Tape (1983-93)
When sound became portable with the Walkman in the early eighties, the subscription-only Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine begins to feature New York City’s expansive Downtown art scene on tape. 41-minute mix with Gretchen Bender, Jonathan Borofsky, Live Skull, Marjorie Van Halteren, and others.
Vibrant Spaces – Henri Chopin’s Sound Poetry
Being one of the leading protagonists of 20th century experimental art, Henri Chopin was among the first to exploit the true potential of a tape recorder. Many of his audio works are based on radical approaches, such as swallowing microphones. 43-minute documentary with memories and expertise of poet and curator Enzo Minarelli.
Love for Sound – Engineered Reggae (1979-87)
In the eighties, old and new styles alike get developed in Jamaica. Ragga evolves and electronic production tools enter the studios, helping to establish the digital dancehall era. 37 minutes with Bunny Lie Lie, Charlie Chaplin, Don Carlos, Johnny Clarke, and others.
Round World – Twisted Musical Traditions (1967-94)
Traditional instruments and music – twisted by electronic musicians, composers, improvisers, and rockers. 56 minutes with The 13th Tribe, Don Cherry, Harry Hosono and the Yellow Magic Band, Sun City Girls, and others.
Within Sound of the Nile – Tracing the Composer Soliman Gamil
As a boy in the 1930s, Soliman Gamil accompanied researchers into the pyramids to learn about Pharaonic music. After his musical education in Cairo and Paris, he recorded traditional rituals throughout Egypt with a tape recorder. Gamil developed his 20th century compositions together with village musicians playing instruments already in use millennia before.
Tabla Love – Outside of Classical Indian Music (1967-2001)
Tabla drums are a major element in Indian classical music. Since the sixties, they have also appeared outside of that context. 65 minutes with Alejandro Jodorowsky, Catherine Ribeiro + 2 Bis, Geir Jenssen, Robert Ashley, and others.
Spreading Freedom the Rough Way – War (1955-2005)
War is eternal, its accompanying aspects, however, have changed in the 20th century. 45 minutes with artists reflecting war‘s presence in the media, traumatic experiences, the home front, and the utopia of world peace. With Ami Shavit, The Android Sisters, K Foundation, Sun Ra, and others.
Ata Tak – Die neuen Herrn (1980-84)
Equally at home in the art world and the artists’ pub, Ata Tak‘s proprietors manage their label from a nice office in Düsseldorf; in the adjoining music studio, they pursue the idea of a world rebellion with sound – as Der Plan. 32 minutes with Holger Hiller, Minus Delta T, Picky Picnic, Wirtschaftswunder, and others.
Quiet Ambient – In Lilac Heaths (1974-96)
Quiet ambient music may be rooted in cybernetic spirituality or get played in hospitals. It can be cinematic or resemble a landscape; and its production process might utilize huge quantities of graph paper. 61 minutes with Anthony Manning, Henry Kawahara, Joanna Brouk, Laurie Spiegel, and others.
Ambient Channel (4): Sacred
Ideas about the concept of time, music for a skier’s descent from an impressive mountain top, and sounds from a love and peace duo. 49 minutes with “Blue” Gene Tyranny, Phew, Pikacyu★Makoto, Suzanne Ciani, and others – realized between 1962 and 2021.
Sleep – Dark Ambient Textures (1982-2020)
Despite their gentle and surreal nature, these tracks weren’t necessarily made with the idea of sleep in mind; their dark ambient textures, however, are inspired by memories, sounds, or discoveries. 51 minutes with Brian Eno, David Toop, Monolake, Thomas Köner, and others.
Their India – Inspiration From Abroad (1956-99)
During the 20th century, India attracted artists and musicians in pursuit of answers to spiritual needs or wanting to leave something behind. 56 minutes with Alice Coltrane, Coil with Lori Carson, Psycho Baba, Sun Ra, and others.
She Told Me – Experimental Music by Women (1969-2020)
An invented language, imitations of field-recordings, or the idea of a visual work with sound make these tracks express something not yet known. 38 minutes with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gazelle Twin & NYX, Glynis Jones, Valentina Goncharova, and others.
Obscure Music – Paving the Way for Ambient (1975-78)
With his label Obscure, pop star Brian Eno starts a series with experimental listening music in 1975. The artists involved want to leave their previous approaches towards making music behind, work with new technologies or take inspiration from ancient traditions. 71 minutes with Gavin Bryars, Harold Budd, Max Eastley, Michael Nyman, and others.
Relics – Miniatures on Air (1953-2019)
Relics tell stories, take listeners on acoustic journeys, or document situations. They can be poems, studio productions, field recordings, or something completely different. 53-minute mix representing Paul Paulun’s series Fundstück on DLF-Kultur with pieces by Anne Waldman, Helga Goetze, Mark E. Smith, Timothy Leary, and 26 other artists.
The Tiger in Your Tank – Addressing Climate Change (1969-2020)
“The ecological catastrophe begins rehearsing in the sixties”, writes Allen Ginsberg in 1970; and for more than half a century, political systems are unwilling to fight that development. 45 minutes with sounds of protest – uttered by Appleblim, Diane Di Prima, Leslie Winer, Piero Umiliani, and others.
Proper Krauts (1971-78)
The stoic, almost machine like drumming of so many West-German tunes from the early seventies becomes the trademark of a new sound – different from British pop or American rock, and in no way related to the country’s horrible nazi past. 45 minutes with Cluster, Faust, Harmonia 76, La Düsseldorf, and others.
Future Japan – Technopop (1979-86)
Yellow Magic Orchestra’s concept of connecting pop, dance music, and Far Eastern folklore quickly becomes synonymous with technopop in Japan. The band’s members also occur in each others solo recordings and cooperate with other musicians. 49 minutes with Apogee & Perigee, Friends Of Earth, Miharu Koshi, Ryuichi Sakamoto & The Kakutougi Session, and others.
Perplex – Electronic Mood Music (1990-97)
After years of increasing harshness on the dancefloor culminating in Gabber, round 1992 the time has come for more friendly grounds. 55 minutes from the advent of personal computers and internet for everyone – with tracks by Acid Jesus, The Black Dog, Cylob, Like A Tim, and others.
Reggae? – Some Seventies Soul Fire
Fuelled by collaborations between producers, singers, and studio musicians in ever new constellations, the seventies mark the transition from ska and rocksteady into a multitude of styles in Jamaica. 46 minutes with Keith Hudson, Norma White & Brentford Disco Set, Sound Dimension, Susan Cadogan, and others.
Reggae From Scratch – Lee Perry (1968-78)
Known for his innovative studio techniques, unique production style, and weird tunes, Lee “Scratch” Perry combines influences from soul, funk, reggae, and dub in the early and mid seventies. 46-minute mix with 14 tracks from the Perry orbit.
A Dandy From Heaven – Haruomi Hosono (1975-95)
Aware of musical traditions and eager to incorporate the latest technology in his productions, Haruomi Hosono is one of the most versatile and influential figures in Japanese popular culture. 44 minutes with various collaborations and solo works by the co-founder of Yellow Magic Orchestra.
More Poetry of DIY – Using the Means at Hand (1967-2011)
A politician’s elusion becomes poetry, music of the collective subconscious is transferred into a dreamy landscape, and insects’ microtonal sounds get rhythmic. 36 minutes with pieces by Blancmange, Graeme Revell, Gregory Whitehead, Holger Hiller, and others.
Filed Recordings – Miking the World (1958-2018)
“Listen to your world. It may be more interesting than all the things you buy to escape from it.” 46-minute mix that proves Sasha Frere-Jones’ observation from 1999 right – with field recordings by Alejandra & Aeron, Bill Fontana, Chris Watson, Paul Bowles, and others.
Ambient Japan (1981-2004)
Free of artificial ornamentation, well balanced, and designed with love for detail, some eighties Japanese ambient music resembles the concept of the countries’ traditional gardens. 51 minutes of music striving to enhance environments – with works by Haruomi Hosono, Inoyama Land, Masahiro Sugaya, Yasuaki Shimizu, and others.
Ambient Channel (3): Misty
Paying homage to flying machines and next generation’s minimalism, singing in an invented language that’s both mysterious and familiar, and a special kind of rain. 43-minute mix with pieces by Anna Homler and Steve Moshier, Ennio Morricone, Harold Budd, The Human League, and others – made between 1972 and 2011.
Ambient Channel (2): En Route
Re-configuring the past, drifting into a future, connecting different worlds, and shaping the profile of a fictitious ethnic group – 43 minutes with music by Bill Drummond, Dadang Dwi Septiyan, Jon Hassell, Malayeen, and others – recorded between 1971 and 2020.
Ambient Channel (1): Perpetual Drift
Minimal melodies from Japan and Arctic Norway, music for ex army gymnasts bounding about in rubber costumes, and something from New York‘s Downtown. 55 minutes with works by Aqua Regia, The Caretaker, Midori Takada, The Residents, and others – realized between 1969 and 2019.
A Few Things From Japan – Rediscovering Traditions (1969-2000)
During the seventies, musical traditions are being rediscovered in Japan. By blending them with their own preferences, artists create new sound worlds. 46 minutes with Akio Suzuki, Haruomi Hosono, Jun Togawa Unit, Toshi Ichiyanagi, and others.
Flokati – Tunes for a Chill-out Zone (1970-2014)
Reminiscent of a certain time or place, these tunes are for a chill-out zone. 49 minutes with memories and fantasies by Cluster & Eno, Geir Jenssen, Graeme Revell, Muslimgauze, and others.
Sekt oder Karies – West-Germany in the 80s
Owing to a straightness rooted in punk, new things and personalities get invented everywhere and all the time in West-Germany’s music scene of the eighties. 53 minutes with Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle, Holger Hiller, Ingrid Wiener & Chor, Martin Kippenberger, and others.
Shaping Intermedia Art – Avantgarde Women (1968-85)
In the late sixties, women composers start mixing various kinds of sonic material. Often their idea of intermedia art has a link to human life. 88 minutes with Christina Kubisch, Eliane Radigue, Frankie Mann, Ruth Anderson, and others.
Ten pieces about the mysteries, realities, and prospects of airwaves. 30-minute mix with works by The Android Sisters, Dan Lander, Negativland, Phil Harmonic, and others.
Fluxus Is… (1959-2014)
Forming a loose community of interdisciplinary collaborators, Fluxus artists are rethinking the role of art in society during the sixties. 47 minutes with Carolee Schneemann, Henning Christiansen, Terry Riley, Yoko Ono, and others.
Early Electronic Music – Fieldwork and Funny Sounds (1952-68)
The electrification of music during the 1950s led to a multitude of artistic concepts. 50 minutes of fieldwork and funny sounds with Alireza Mashayekhi, Delia Derbyshire, Else Marie Pade, İlhan Mimaroğlu, and others.
We Are the Machine – The Concept of Polypoetry
Only the development of new technologies will mark the progress of sound poetry, states Enzo Minarelli in his manifesto on polipoesia from 1987. On the basis of 11 sound poems, Minarelli talks about the concept of Polipoesia, and where it all started.
Enhanced Poetry (1956-1991)
With reel to reels, poetry reaches the next level in the 1950s – language gets arranged in completely new ways. 37 minutes with Ernst Jandl, Henri Chopin, Neil Mills, Sten Hanson, and others.
Synthesis – Approaching a New Instrument
Synthesizers brought new sounds into the world. 43 minutes of oscillators, filters and envelopes controlled by Conrad Schnitzler, Daphne Oram, Erkki Kurenniemi, Laurie Spiegel, and others – between the early sixties and 1977 (plus an exception).
Ten Magic Pianos (1912-2017)
For some, the piano is the instrument of instruments. Here are ten good reasons why. 40 minutes with works by Charlemagne Palestine, Graeme Revell, Henry Cowell, Johanna Magdalena Beyer, and others.
Hello, USA! – Observations From the Land of the Free (1966-2002)
Snapshots on national pride, cars, country music, and human abysses behind proper facades – 51 minutes with Amiri Baraka, Ann Magnuson, Henry Rollins, Madeline Ridley, and others.
Letters & Numbers – Ingredients for Sound Art (1917-2006)
Letters and numbers as material for expression. 40 minutes with inventions by Brion Gysin, Demetrio Stratos, Henri Chopin, Lawrence Weiner, and others.
Big Egos – Sound Works by Visual Artists (1981-2006)
Artists see things differently. 45 minutes with sound works by Carole Caroompas, Dieter Roth, Jess Holzworth and Jutta Koether, Magazzini Criminali, and others.
New York in the Sixties – A Hotbed for Experiments
Whether conceptual or performance art, electronic music, counterculture, minimalism, drone sounds, or Fluxus – New York City is a hotbed for all sorts of experiments during the sixties. 62 minutes with Angus MacLise, Henry Flynt, La Monte Young & Marian Zazeela, Richard Maxfield, and others.
The Poetry of DIY – Ideas Expressed With Sound (1956-2016)
39 minutes of ideas being expressed with sound: made up trains, works with found sounds, or a collective approach in making music – realized by Amy Taubin, Angus & Hetty MacLise, Tom Recchion, Tuli Kupferberg, and others.