RESEARCH: papers, conference presentations, books, residencies

Atoms and Digital Audio: Epicurus Meets Mika Vainio


ISSTA 2017, Dundalk IT, Ireland. 7-8 September 2017.


Though we commonly describe sound as a wave, a minority viewpoint holds that sound is more properly corpuscular. This concept can be traced back to the atomists, who held that all of nature could be construed as two elements: atom and void. Foremost among these thinkers is Epicurus, who proposed that an infinitesimal "swerve" in the otherwise regular movement of atoms is responsible for all interactions and hence all nature. This paper will illustrate the contemporary relevance of this theory, in light of corpuscular theories of sound, granular synthesis, and the minimal techno of Mika Vainio and Panasonic.

You can read the section on Mika Vainio recontextualised for my blog series on Desktop Electronic Music (DEM).