Free improvisation is hardly a new subject on Heavy Blog; Scott and I have written extensively on the subject. However, we haven’t touched on some of the more interesting modes inherent in the genre—namely, EAI, or electroacoustic improvisation.

The definition of EAI, along with most avant-garde “genres”, is murky at best, but I found that Rate Your Music put a pretty accurate spin on it:

EAI (Electroacoustic Improvisation) is a difficult to define style of Free Improvisation characterized by a very slow moving, physical, textured aesthetic, often created using unconventional instruments (like prepared guitars and turntables) processed through a laptop computer. It takes influence from a wide range of improvised music – such as Noise, Drone and experimental Jazz – although the sheer uniqueness of the genre makes it difficult to precisely pin down its development.

Essentially, EAI is a blend of free improvisation and sound art. The finished product isn’t necessarily regarded, analyzed, or enjoyed like other music; it’s more about the sonic properties and aesthetics of the created sound (similar to musique concrete) as opposed to melodies and conventional song structure.

AMM‘s Keith Rowe is frequently tagged as a pioneer in EAI, and for good reason, considering his insane use of prepared guitars. Unfortunately for us, though, his music isn’t easily available online. We settled with Before Driving To The Chapel… because we could (1) find it on YouTube, and (2) it perhaps best represents the sonic textures of EAI than anything else we could find.

Recommended Listening:

  • MudderstenKarpatklokke
  • Keith Rowe & John TilburyDuos For Doris
  • Supersilent6

This Week’s Episode:

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This Week’s Album:


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