Mason, William, 'Expression and Technologies of Perception in Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk’s Phonobellow', in Amy Bauer, Liam Cagney, and William Mason (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music (online edn, Oxford Academic, 8 Dec. 2021)


This chapter considers the legacy of the spectral school regarding their uses of and attitude towards technology. Spectralism is a musical practice fundamentally mediated by technology, and the ways in which this mediation is manifest are highly diverse, exposing the heterogeneous assemblage that constitutes “technology.” The chapter considers excerpts from pieces by Grisey and Murail against Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk’s 2015 piece Phonobellow, an evening-length music theatre work for five performers and electronics which centers around a massive wooden bellows. That structure, the phonobellow, is part musical instrument, part spectacle; it transforms repeatedly through the piece, from a comically large evocation of early cameras to a monstrous structure with viscera comprised of musical instruments. Though familiar pitch-centric hallmarks of spectralism are not central to the piece, the author argues that it emerges from a tradition of musical inquiry into technology and expression that characterizes the particular strand of modernism that included the spectralists.

Keywords: technology, expression, spectralism, modernism, Zosha Di Castri, David Adamcyk

Subject: Musicology and Music HistoryMusic Theory and AnalysisSound StudiesMusic