Transcendental Psychedelia: Hearing hearing in the work of Maryanne Amacher


    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Listening, understood as an active or synthetic production of auditory experience rather than a passive reception of external events, was a central concern for the composer Maryanne Amacher, whose work this chapter focuses on. Her work had a distinctly transcendental orientation indicating not a movement beyond but rather, in a Kantian sense, a movement towards the conditions of experience. Amacher’s work has been described as containing “psychedelic sonorities,” so this chapter details the way Amacher’s work might be understood to construct a transcendental psychedelia that explores the limits and conditions of auditory experience. To do so, a dialogue is established between Amacher’s compositional thought and methods and Gilles Deleuze’s transcendental empiricism. It is also argued that Amacher’s methods and processes have a wider significance for contemporary scholarship on sound in the arts and experimental music. Despite the distinctly affective and embodied orientation of much or her work, Amacher’s research and compositional methods presents a challenge to some forms of materialism active within this field of study through her use of methodological abstraction, representation, modelling and formalisation. It is argued that by attending to not only the sensations produced by Amacher’s work but her wider artistic practice, compositional thought and methods of production, we might enhance the scope and subtlety of the materialist and realist orientations in contemporary scholarship.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMusic Psychedelia
    Subtitle of host publicationResearch at the Intersection of Music and Psychedelic Experience
    EditorsGemma L Farrell
    ISBN (Print)9781032047133
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023


    • Psychedelia
    • Psychoacoustics
    • Transcendental Empiricism
    • Maryanne Amacher
    • Gilles Deleuze
    • Experimental Music
    • Electronic Music


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