Friday, March 11, 2011


[...]A digital sampler executes its task several thousand times a second. Nowadays about 48,000 is quite standardSample too infrequently and you get aliasing—the sound becomes jagged in various ways.[...] — Timothy Morton
Digital music is perforated. Made of bytes suspended in a void of silence.

Actress — Maze (Long Version) — Splazsh (2010) Werk Discs

Or, as a Sierpensky's sponge:

A surface, without volume.

All music, any sound, after becoming digital, is broken into a hollowed fiction. Not an unreal fiction. But a fiction that is true. A pointillist virtuality, when in it's analog state it was continuous. A sine wave was a curve. But digitally it is a relationship between an on-state and an off-state. No longer curved, stripped of it's dimension, the sum of binary differences in the interminable void.

As Ecology Without Nature says,

[...]Digital sound technology has given rise to confusion. My uncle, for instance, got into an argument with me about CDs. Now he's a very smart guy who just retired as as biochemistry professor at the University of London. But for the life of him he couldn't figure out how a CD player, or even a CD, could tell in advance whether the sample was an oboe sound or a cello sound. “How does it know?”[...]
Of course, the CD player doesn't know because it is mindless. The delusion of the music is arranged in perception. The falsehood of a conspiracy of clicks.

If this is true of digital music, what other digital media is it true of? Video? Images? A film from a projector is 50% darkness, the space between the flicker. The off-state related to the on-state: the arrangement of colored grain burnt into the film.

Is this true of our digital identities (c.f. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs)? Aren't we similarly perforated into bytes? And as such, aren't all relations broken and atomized: the on-state suspended in the ether of the off? What happens if and when, at the logical conclusion of the digital identity, identity becomes only virtual? Where is the mind when the person is a surface without volume?

Or might the situation be different?

[...]This is one reason why some people still swear by vinyl that's been recorded using analog techniques. They prefer the sound of the analog medium to the non-sound of the perforations. Many of us however have grown accustomed to what is in effect a kind of sonic pointillism in which each bit of sound is precisely regular.[...]
Perhaps the difference between the analog and the virtual is not so drastic? Not because the digital isn't hollow, but because the analog is also hollow. Is the real without volume, just as the virtual? Zooming in, as in JLIAT's videos, to the level of the atomic, we find this is indeed the case. Density is also the arrangement of distance between an on-state (matter, particles) and an off-state (space, void, nothing). And not just density, but also heat. In fact, these distances are all essential in atomic energy.

Most things, just like digital music, are also mostly nothing. Most things are mostly no thing, but instead a kind of hyperdynamic oscillation. Phasing between being (on) and nothing (off).

Mostly silence.