Professor of Audio Culture and Improvisation Member of CRISAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice)
London College of Communication
London College of Communication
David Toop is a composer/musician, author and curator based in London, working in many fields of sound art and music since the late 1960s. He has recorded Yanomami shamanism in Amazonas, appeared on Top of the Pops with the Flying Lizards and worked with artists ranging from John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Bob Cobbing and Ivor Cutler to Akio Suzuki, Tania Chen, Camille Norment and Thurston Moore. Exhibitions he has curated included Sonic Boom at the Hayward Gallery, Playing John Cage at Arnolfini, Bristol, and Blow Up at Flat Time House.
He has published seven books, translated into ten languages, including Ocean of Sound, Sinister Resonance, Into the Maelstrom (shortlisted for the Penderyn Music Book Prize) and an autobiography, Flutter Echo, published in Japan in 2017. Since his first album, released on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975, he has released twelve solo records, including Screen Ceremonies, Black Chamber, Sound Body and Entities Inertias Faint Beings. He is also the co-creator of Sculpture events with artist Rie Nakajima.
Sound, listening practice, improvisation, audio culture, music history and performance, audio technology, writing sound, environmental sounds, sound in art.
Sound arts and listening practice, sound collaboration with the visual, curation, sound formats.
What I consider to be research is a questioning of research itself: in what sense can an identifiable practice of listening be formulated and how does that inform the act of reflecting on sound, whether through analytical writing, speaking, composing? This is also true of performance practice, particularly in improvised music: can the reflexivity of improvisation be understood within the framework of research?
My research focus is on sound, listening, writing sound, improvised music (practice, theory and history), sonic arts, strategies for composing for improvisers and a theory of ‘the instrument’ (the device or intangible ‘sculpture’ through which sound-making, listening and related events become manifest). This encompasses specific fields such as collaborative performance and listening to ‘silent’ media such as painting and literature but research as a site of discovery emerges from what is generated from the dialogue between all of these approaches, their varying intensities and forms of articulation.
Julie Groves, Physical Composition: Investigating the notion of the physical as a compositional tool by defining the term and its use through creative practice.
John Kannenberg, Listening to Museums: Curating the Ephemeral Sonic Object.
Kevin Logan, How to (Re)Do Things with Sounds: Mediating the Sonic-Deed.
Artur Matamoro Vidal, Exploring the notions of Silence and Sociality: New Contexts of Listening in Contemporary Music Improvisation.
Rob Mullender, Silent Light, Luminous Noise - Photophonics, Machines and the Senses.
Toop, David (2017) Instruments of Darkness. [Performance]
Toop, David (2017) Flutter Echo: Living Within Sound. Du Books, Tokyo, Japan. ISBN 978-4-86647-011-5
Toop, David (2017) Becoming Animal. In: Talk: David Toop, 4 February 2017, Camden Arts Centre, London.
Toop, David (2017) Stephen Cripps: Exploding Practice Inevitable. In: Stephen Cripps: Performing Machines. Verlag fur Moderne Kunst/Museum Tinguely, Basle, Switzerland, pp. 25-30. ISBN 978-3-9524392-9-6
Toop, David (2016) Exhibition Histories: Sonic Boom. In: Exhibition Histories, 24 November 2016, Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Toop, David (2016) Entities Inertias Faint Beings. [Art/Design Item]
Leister, Wiebke and Toop, David (2016) Echoes and Afterlives. [Performance]
Toop, David (2016) Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom, Volume 1. Bloomsbury Academic, New York, London, New Delhi, Sydney. ISBN 9781628927696
Toop, David and Norment, Camille (2015) Rapture. [Performance]
Cobbing, William and Cooper, Rosie and Krogh Groth, Sanne and Toop, David and Wilson, Andrew (2015) 'Boooook: The Life and Work of Bob Cobbing'. n/a, n/a (n/a). Occasional Papers, UK. ISBN 978-0-9929039-5-4