Intermission: The Guru of Alarm Art

A few weeks ago I bumped into Caleb Kelly, Sydney sound maven. I was telling him about What Lies Beneath. He suggested we all check out the work of Max Neuhaus, who made “silent” alarm clocks and timepieces:

Instead of a bell which begins with a sudden clang and gradually dies away, this concept is precisely the opposite. The sound is introduced gradually; beginning inaudibly it grows slowly over a period of minutes and, at its height, suddenly disappears. The long subtle emergence of the sound causes it to go unnoticed. It becomes apparent only at the instant of its disappearance, creating a sense of silence.

In this silent moment, for a few seconds after the sound has gone, a subtle transparent aural afterimage is superimposed on the everyday sounds of the environment, a spontaneous aural memory or reconstruction perhaps, shared by all who notice it, engendered by the sound’s disappearance.

And again:

It’s a device emitting a continuous tone slowly increasing in volume until it suddenly stops at the appointed time, thus awaking the sleeper. It’s not the subtle sound that actually awakes, but its disappearing. (via Continuo)

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