Sam Kidel spars with our surveilling tech overlords, preps new album Silicon Ear on Latency

Sam Kidel spars with our surveilling tech overlords, preps new album Silicon Ear on Latency
Photo: Giulia Sarno

All albums are arguably “conceptual” when you consider their necessary derivation from a certain mental state, but Sam Kidel deserves some special attention for releasing music based on ideas that are actually both interesting AND explicit. Take his Disruptive Muzak, which came out two years ago: it’s a fascinating commentary on the simultaneous sadness/annoyance of call centers as a business facilitator.

But if prank-calling those call centers didn’t satisfy your desire for an enjoyable musical critique of 21st century capitalism, the Bristol-born artist has something new prepped for release December 14, via the Paris-based Latency label (which recently sponsored Laurel Halo’s Raw Silk Uncut Wood).

As the label description notes, Kidel’s new release Silicon Ear didn’t require airfare or the typical uniform of a cat burglar; instead, Kidel used the architectural plans to remotely and acoustically model the interior of Google’s data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. For the album’s first track, he used that acoustical rendering to “simulate the notes, rhythms and melodies reverberating through the maximum security location.” (Take that, intimidating tech monolith masquerading as the harmless search engine of our hearts!)

The second track, meanwhile, revolves around an audio patch created by Kidel that kicks in and obfuscates whenever you try to speak. (More people do need to be creeped out by those smart home devices, after all.)

Pre-order BOTH of those tracks (which together comprise the entirety of Silicon Ear) here and listen to a piece of that Google-related one below:


Silicon Ear tracklisting:

01. Live @ Google Data Center
02. Voice Recognition Dos Attack

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