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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Esther Venrooy Controls the Chaos

"Slam Your Doors in a Golden Silence," she says.

This track by Esther Venrooy does crazy things to my fingers. My fingers rest on my laptop keyboard. My laptop keyboard is where the speakers are located. As the intense bell-like tones of “Slam Your Doors in a Golden Silence” rise, as their energy collects amid wisps of rougher sounds, the laptop’s surface vibrates in kind. Sonic Tesla coils send charges up my arms. There’s a luxurious chaos at work here, a chaos kept in line, and only just barely. Much as the live-wire noises and arcing tones hint at dangerous apexes, they remain held in check. There’s a famous maxim about music being “organized sound,” courtesy of composer Edgard Varèse. What Venrooy exposes here is that organization needn’t mean corralling sound into something familiar. There’s a lot of room before something is even remotely domesticated. It can mean yoking noise just tight enough to give it shape, but to still let it move under its own strange power.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/esther-venrooy-1. More from Venrooy, who is based in Breda, Netherlands, at esthervenrooy.net.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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