Friday, April 3, 2009

Rolf Julius - Small Music

Parts of the idea behind German sound artist Rolf Julius' small music borrows from John Cage's notion of small sounds, sonic artifacts subtle enough that the listener cannot distinguish between the sounds and the environment. His installations disguise the source of the sound in various ways, often in a manner where physical aspects of the sounds reveal their source. He has buried small speakers with ash inside flower pots so that sound waves disturb the level soil, thereby visualizing the sounds. Speakers have been used to displace a spread of paint on a canvas. He has even crafted eyeglasses with speakers in place of lenses.

The four volumes of his Small Music series document the sonic aspects of these installations, thin spreads of tones and environmental sounds shifting together. The idea behind each is generally simple and verging on stasis, with the focus generally on the texture or, as Julius likes to put it, the "surface" of the sound. He often incorporates miniature buzzings, pulses, and chirps, sometimes in rapid washes that amass to one solid sound rather than thousands of tiny ones.

Rolf Julius - Small Music, Vol. 1: White-Yellow-Black (Small Music, 1994)

Rolf Julius - Small Music, Vol. 2: Klangbogen (Small Music, 1995)
Vol. 2: Klangboden

Rolf Julius - Small Music, Vol. 3: Music for a Garden (Mattress Factory, 1996)
Three matrices of predominantly electronic sound, created for a permanent outdoor installation with the garden designed by Winifred Lutz. The garden installation is featured at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, PA.
Vol. 3: Music for a Garden

Rolf Julius - Small Music, Vol. 4: Tanz Für Zwei Blaue Rechtecke (Edition RZ, 1996)
Vol. 4: Tanz Für Zwei Blaue Rechtecke


  1. fantastic

    thank's a lot.....
    please find a other one here


  2. Thank you, Rainier! That Early Works disc is a big favorite of mine. Really brings to mind the work of folks like Steve Roden, while also predating them.

  3. Thank you very much for posting these! I have been trying to get hold of these releases in Australia with very little success - lost shipments, etc. I had the pleasure of seeing Julius' work last year during a trip to Berlin as well as meeting him very briefly. I am currently finishing a masters degree on the act of listening and sound art where Julius is featured.

  4. Any chance of getting a re-up of the Early Works disc?

  5. Wonderful! Much appreciated.

  6. Anyone have acces to the "Music for a Distance" album?