About Sounds for Spawning

‘Sounds for Spawning’ is a cassette tape and digital streaming label I helped found with my friend Hudson.
Here’s the ‘about’/ mission statement I wrote for it.

‘Philosophy does not serve the Church or the State, who have other concerns. It serves no established powers…Philosophy is at its most positive as critique, as an enterprise of demystification’- Gilles Deleuze, Nietzsche and Philosophy

‘The future is queerness’ domain’- Jose Muñoz, Cruising Utopia

To experiment is to instantiate a process whose outcome cannot be foreseen in advance. An experimental music, then, begins with the premise that we do not yet know what ‘music’ is: of what kinds of sounds are and are not musical, of how sound ‘ought’ to be organized, of whether or not ‘music’ is even purely the realm of the sonic.

Sounds for Spawning releases organized blocks of sound that puncture holes within conventional understandings of the uses, politics and nature of music. Over and against those who cling solely to the Western classical harmonic system of equal temperament, we affirm the necessity of pluralizing the tonality of music; over and against those who assert that music is purely aesthetic, we affirm the necessity of thinking through the ways in which class, gender, race, sexuality and ability inform both the content, reception and distribution of music; over and against those who endlessly re-create the sounds of the past, we affirm the necessity of imagining another future and another world.

Sounds for Spawning releases organized blocks of sound that work to imagine and generate alternative modes of sociality. To spawn is to bring forth or generate. Over and against the model of reproduction that seeks to duplicate and make copies of pre-existing forms, spawning connotes the beginning of the process of something new emerging. As scholar Jose Munoz notes, the ‘aesthetic, especially the queer aesthetic, frequently contains blueprints and schemata of a forward-dawning futurity,’ (Muñoz, 2009). This world is not set in stone; it is most certainly not the best of all possible worlds. Another world is not only possible, but fully realizable. What these alternative forms of life will be is precisely the question these sonic blocks seek to provoke.

Sounds for Spawning thus seeks to fuse social critique with artistic practice, a tactic queer theorist Lauren Berlant describes as a ‘committed critical art.’ This commitment ‘to incite the sense that it could be otherwise,’ (Berlant 2011) within the realm of the sonic unfolds through the adoption of alternative sonic techniques (micro-tonal scales, field recording, electronic modulation) that push us to think beyond the narrow confines of received notions of what composition and social life can be. Contemporary popular music seeks to bind our desires into the regressive forms of heterosexual monogamy, equal temperament, individualized hedonism, harmonic order and phantasies of economic security; to bind, that is, our desire within the narrow confines of what neoliberal capitalism deems possible. To organize sound within, outside of and against these reactionary formations is to incite us to imagine alternative life-worlds, ones that might be a little less violent and more conducive to our collective flourishing. A critical art, then, simultaneously works to criticize the oppressive conditions that shape our lives and affirm the potential for other kinds of life,

To experiment is to instantiate a process whose outcome cannot be foreseen in advance. An experimental music, then, begins with the premise that we do not yet know what the world could be. Over and against those who assert that capitalism is the only practical way society can be organized, we affirm the necessity of imagining alternative organizations of economic and political life; over and against those who seek to bind queer utopian dreams to inclusion within neoliberalism, we affirm the necessity of enacting other modes of desiring and belonging; over and against those mourn the disintegration of the nuclear family, we affirm the necessity of queer kinship and solidarity in shared struggle.

We seek submissions from sound artists, social theorists, field recordists, composers, culture jammers, radio programmers, non-musicians and instrument makers whose work lies in the interstices between sound, politics and philosophy.


Bourgeois Speedball’s “Abolish the Police” Single and B-Side Out Now

Sounds for Spawning

Bourgeois Speedball’s new free single, “Abolish the Police” is out now and can be found over at their Bandcamp. The single comes with an instructional score and artwork by Kristian Talley.  Merging queer house, IDM, field recordings culled from their work around the soundscapes of struggle at UC Santa Cruz and lectures discussing gender, race, class and the prison-industrial-complex, the single and b-side work to connect revolutionary struggles, radical desire and embodied rhythms.


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Soundscapes from the Recent Anti-Police Brutality Protests in Oakland

Here are some field recordings taken during the first night of a long wave of demonstrations against police brutality in Oakland. I, along with other members of the Field Recording Working Group, worked on recording, mixing and mastering these soundscape recordings. Members of the group were present and recorded the vast majority of the weeks of demonstrations that followed the non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. We are currently working on mixing and mastering the recordings from the following nights and hope to post them publicly soon.


Quote of the Day

‘Those who give way to the demand for sense (which by itself already seems to make sense and to provide some reassurance…) demand of the world that it signify itself as dwelling, haven, habitation, safeguard, intimacy, community, subjectivity: as the signifier of a proper and present signified, the signifier of the proper and the present as such. (Those who signify the world still as the sense of an infinite quest, or of a passage toward another world, do not change anything fundamental: the final signified remains essentially the same.)’ –Jean-Luc Nancy, The Sense of the World 

Quote of the Day

‘The problem with the dominant models in cultural and literary theory is not that they are too abstract to grasp the concreteness of the real. The problem is that they are not abstract enough to grasp the real incorporeality of the concrete.’-Brian Massumi, Parables for the Virtual