Glitch (music)

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Glitch (music)
Stylistic origins
Cultural origins
1990s Germany
Typical instruments
Mainstream popularity Low with underground followings in U.S. and Europe, especially Germany[1]
Microhouse, Glitchcore

Glitch is a term used to describe a genre of experimental electronic music that emerged in the mid to late 1990s. The origins of the glitch aesthetic can be traced back to Luigi Russolo's Futurist manifesto The Art of Noises, the basis of noise music. In a Computer Music Journal article published in 2000, composer and writer Kim Cascone used the term post-digital to describe various experimentations associated with the glitch aesthetic. Glitch is characterized by a preoccupation with the sonic artifacts that can result from malfunctioning digital technology, such as those produced by bugs, crashes, system errors, hardware noise, CD skipping, and digital distortion.[2] Cascone considers glitch to be a sub-genre of electronica. [3]


[edit] History

Glitch originated in Germany with the musical work and labels of Achim Szepanski[4], who later gained popularity through the collaboration with Sebastian Meissner under the moniker "Random Inc."[5]. While the movement initially slowly gained members (including bands like Oval)[6], the techniques of Glitch later quickly spread around the world as many artists — including bands such as Kid 606, Team Doyobi and Autechre — followed suit. Yasunao Tone used damaged CDs in his Techno Eden performance in 1985. Trumpeter Jon Hassell's 1994 album Dressing For Pleasure — a dense mesh of funky trip hop and jazz — features several songs with the sound of skipping CDs layered into the mix.

Oval's Wohnton, produced in 1993, helped define the genre by adding ambient aesthetics to it[7]. Though the music of Markus Popp's band (Oval) may be the first in which the techniques of Musique Concrete were applied to the subtleties of Ambient, glitch is also informed by techno and industrial music. Turntablist Christian Marclay had been incorporating the use of scratched or otherwise damaged vinyl records into his sets since the 1970s; it is the rapid advance in technology and expansion of thought behind music that has allowed glitch to adopt this "broken" sound and use it as a stylistic marker.

[edit] Production techniques

Glitch is often produced on computers using modern digital production software to splice together small "cuts" (samples) of music from previously recorded works. These cuts are then integrated with the signature of glitch music: beats made up of glitches, clicks, scratches, and otherwise "erroneously" produced or sounding noise. These glitches are often very short, and are typically used in place of traditional percussion or instrumentation. Skipping CDs, scratched vinyl records, circuit bending, and other noise-like distortions figure prominently into the creation of rhythm and feeling in glitch; it is from the use of these digital artifacts that the genre derives its name. However, not all artists of the genre are working with erroneously produced sounds or are even using digital sounds.

Popular software for creating glitch includes trackers, Reaktor, Ableton Live, Reason, AudioMulch, Bidule, Super Collider, Usine, FLStudio, MAX/MSP, Pure Data, and ChucK. Circuit bending -- the intentional short-circuiting of low power electronic devices to create new musical devices -- also plays a significant role on the hardware end of glitch music and its creation.

[edit] Sub-genres

[edit] Glitch Hop

Glitch hop is a relatively new sub variant of the glitch form, and shares the name click hop, blip hop, downbreaks and break hop. Aside from the obvious lineage of hip hop and glitch this genre tends to borrow from the IDM and minimalist genres as well. The music is marked by the DSP laden sonic tapestry and twitchiness of glitch with a more hip hop style framework. The beat tends to follow hip-hop's break-derived conventions, falling into a range between 85-100 bpm. Instead of using just traditional drum kits, glitch hop's "nerdified drums" are augmented with clicks, bent circuits, and sometimes the cut up vocals of the MC. Swedish producer Andreas Tilliander's landmark Cliphop and Plee albums (released as Mokira by German labels Raster Noton in 2000 and Mille Plateaux in 2002) are considered by some as the blueprints of the genre.

Notable groups of this genre include the L.A.-based production group The Glitch Mob, other artists include Prefuse 73[8], Machinedrum, Dabrye, Kid 606, Jahcoozi, BreakBeatBuddha and edIT, who published glitch hop tracks as part of larger glitch albums. Cex and MC Lars also sometimes perform glitch hop material. is a well-known collaborative project that mixes jungle and glitch hop together into podcast form.

Popular Electronica act Autechre also experimented in a more instrumental style of Glitch hop, notably in more recent years.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Glitch", "Allmusic"
  2. ^ Cox, Christoph and Warner, Daniel, eds. (2004). Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. Continuum Books. pp. 393. 
  3. ^ "The glitch genre arrived on the back of the electronica movement, an umbrella term for alternative, largely dance-based electronic music (including house, techno, electro, drum'n'bass, ambient) that has come into vogue in the past five years. Most of the work in this area is released on labels peripherally associated with the dance music market, and is therefore removed from the contexts of academic consideration and acceptability that it might otherwise earn. Still, in spite of this odd pairing of fashion and art music, the composers of glitch often draw their inspiration from the masters of 20th century music who they feel best describe its lineage." THE AESTHETICS OF FAILURE: 'Post-Digital' Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music, Kim Cascone, Computer Music Journal 24:4 Winter 2000 (MIT Press)
  4. ^ "First championed by the ideological German techno figure Achim Szepanski and his stable of record labels -- Force Inc, Mille Plateaux, Force Tracks, Ritornell -- this tight-knit scene of experimental artists creating cerebral hybrids of experimental techno, minimalism, digital collage, and noise glitches soon found themselves being assembled into a community." Allmusic
  5. ^ "Random Inc.", "Allmusic"
  6. ^ "Glitch", "Allmusic"
  7. ^ "Although Oval are perhaps more well-known for how they make their music than for the music they actually make, the German experimental electronic trio have provided an intriguing update of some elements of avant-garde composition in combination with techniques of digital sound design, [...]" Allmusic
  8. ^ Sobolewski, John: Prefuse 73 Prophesizes, BC Heights, April 15, 2003;

[edit] Further reading

  • Andrews, Ian, Post-digital Aesthetics and the return to Modernism, MAP-uts lecture, 2000, available at authors website.
  • Bijsterveld, Karin and Trevor J. Pinch. "'Should One Applaud?': Breaches and Boundaries in the Reception of New Technology in Music." Technology and Culture. Ed. 44.3, pg 536-559. 2003.
  • Byrne, David. "What is Blip Hop?" Lukabop, 2002. Available here.
  • Collins, Adam, "Sounds of the system: the emancipation of noise in the music of Carsten Nicolai", Organised Sound, 13(1): 31-39. 2008. Cambridge University Press.
  • Collins, Nicolas. Editor. "Composers inside Electronics: Music after David Tudor." Leonardo Music Journal. Vol. 14, pgs 1-3. 2004.
  • Prior, Nick, "Putting a Glitch in the Field: Bourdieu, Actor Network Theory and Contemporary Music", Cultural Sociology, 2: 3, 2008: pp 301-319.
  • Thomson, Phil, "Atoms and errors: towards a history and aesthetics of microsound", Organised Sound, 9(2): 207-218. 2004. Cambridge University Press.
  • Sangild, Torben: "Glitch — The Beauty of Malfunction" in Bad Music. Routledge (2004, ISBN 0-415-94365-5) [1]
  • Young, Rob: "Worship the Glitch", The Wire 190/191 (2000)
  • Noah Zimmerman, "Dusted Reviews, 2002"

[edit] External links

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