Atomisation of Sound

Steve Davismoon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The following paper seeks to draw attention to the significant and increasing amount of creative enquiry—over the last two decades or so—converging about the fulcrum of microsound. This is as true for electroacoustic, acousmatic, or soundscape composers, as it is for minimal techno, glitch, noise, ambient, and other Intelligent Dance Music or Electronic Dance Music sub-genres. Initially, in the discussions that follow, I will outline the cultural and scientific origins of microsound, and then offer a cross-genre survey of its creative appearances since the 1950s. I will then embark upon discussions that explore the possibilities and consequences of microsound upon our aesthetic landscape. For example, I suggest ways in which certain microsound techniques might be seen to resonate with, or even parallel, the historically ‘tried-and-tested’ compositional strategy of consonance and dissonance, as well as offering for consideration the profound ways in which such techniques can blur one’s notion of object and subject, promoting an active, multiplicitous state of listening—thereby directly interfacing with the philosophical ideas of phenomenology. My dialogues will come to a close by way of an aesthetic discussion of some of my recent soundscape/acousmatic works that have employed microsound techniques and sensibilities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-274
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number2
Early online date19 Sep 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Sep 2016


  • Microsound
  • Sonic Granularisation
  • Phenomenology
  • Cognition
  • Listening Subject and Sound-Object
  • Sonic Blurring
  • Multiplicitous Listening
  • Monism


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