Sleeping Dogs Lie 04dec09: Term

pe lang, born 1974, switzerland

Steve Roden is a visual and sound artist from Los Angeles. His work includes painting, drawing, sculpture, film/video, sound installation, and performance. Roden’s working process uses various forms of specific notation (words, musical scores, maps, etc.) and translates them through self invented systems into scores; which then influence the process of painting, drawing, sculpture, and sound composition. These scores, rigid in terms of their parameters and rules, are also full of holes for intuitive decisions and left turns. The inspirational source material becomes a kind of formal skeleton that the abstract finished works are built upon.

The way that Los Angeles-based musician and sound artist Steve Roden presents his music is a perfect match for the music itself. He has long been a proponent for what he terms “lowercase” sound: music constructed from some of the quietest raw materials available, the sonic equivalent of sculptures made from dust.

And he announced his latest release as follows: “to be honest, I don’t remember making this recording at all”. He isn’t joking. The comment comes from the brief liner note he penned to accompany the track, which is titled “Amnesia (Live in Berlin, 2004), based on his deduction, long after the fact, that the piece was recorded during a gig there. The piece was released this week as a free half-hour download from the Term netlabel, a spinoff of the 12k record label. The casually funereal track moves from a creaky rhythm to a light whir of noise. In the process, Roden continues to redefine “headphone music” — what once meant a dense psychedelia best experienced in the sonic equivalent of a private arena now refers to music so fragile that it should be experienced in the anechoic chamber of one’s own noggin. More info at and at Roden’s website,

Sleeping Dogs Lie 121 03_04dec09