David Toop is a musician, composer, writer, musicologist and sound curator. He has published three books: Rap Attack, Ocean Of Sound and Exotica.

His first album, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments, was released on Brian Eno’s Obscure label in 1975; since 1995, he has released six solo albums: Screen Ceremonies, Pink Noir, Spirit World, Museum of Fruit, Hot Pants Idol and 37th Floor At Sunset: Music For Mondophrenetic - and he has curated five acclaimed CD compilations for Virgin Records: Ocean of Sound, Crooning on Venus, Sugar & Poison, Booming On Pluto and Guitars on Mars..

He has worked with musicians including Brian Eno, John Zorn, Talvin Singh, and collaborated with artists from many other disciplines. As a critic he has written for many publications including the Wire, The Face, The Times, The Guardian, The New York Times and The Village Voice. He also has curated Sonic Boom, the UK’s largest exhibition of sound art displayed at the Hayward Gallery, London, From April to June 2000.

Darkness Moves - Vibrö 1 (track 11)
Recorded, performed and produced by David Toop at The Bathosphere, London November/December 2003. Published & copyright by Quartz Publications © 2003. Tools: two computers, stones, prepared and unprepared pedal steel guitar, flute, voice, analogue synthesis, audio software.
“ The name of this piece is drawn from the title of an anthology of writings by the Belgian poet Henri Michaux.
A number of my titles have been taken from Michaux; he wrote about silence, murmurs, a small music that can be incomplete, insubstantial, ‘a music of murmurs’.
He also wrote about the “space” of the self, and the self (“There is not one self”) as a position, in equilibrium, or struggling for equilibrium, in a room. A piece begins, in a room, maybe with the sound of two stones dragging together.
A virtual space develops within the computer and then the piece must establish this space as a convincing environment with its own integrity and atmosphere. Perhaps musical elements grow from the small murmurs of stones, then the question is how far to develop them. To strip them away might be a denial of this fluidity of ‘self’. This tension, between “sound art” and “song” seems highly charged, full of potential, a crack between certainties.” -David Toop

In this short extract of an interview Liz jordan made for the BBC in 2000, David Toop give us some clue to understand and approach the field of sound art and its growing popularity.

LJ - You were the curator of Sonic Boom (an exhibition of sound art at
the Hayward Gallery in London, 2000). What feedback did you get from that as an exhibition?

David Toop - A huge amount of feedback. More than 36,000 people went to it, and it's interesting that such a large number of people went to an exhibition that explored the ideas of sound art. The feedback was very, very positive. Which leads me to think that there is a strong interest in sound work that goes beyond conventional ideas of performance or recording.

LJ - Why do you think that sound art so fashionable now?

David Toop - Sound art has been developing for at least the last 100 years. All that experimentation has accumulated to the point where it's recognised and seems very relevant. Conventional performance is getting less relevant. As more music is created in virtual space - using computers or technology - the notion of musicians collaborating in real time is being challenged. And sound art takes exploration into different settings away from the normal performance space of the concert tour.
As more music is created in virtual space - using computers or technology - the notion of musicians collaborating in real time is being challenged. And sound art takes exploration into different settings away from the normal performance space of the concert tour.
Club culture has contributed to that hugely because people are dancing, they're not just sitting in rows watching the performer. That's not to say that people aren't interested in performance anymore, because clearly they are. But it's less clear-cut than it used to be.
LJ - What inspires you to start making a sound piece?

David Toop - I am always quite inspired by film. I'm a writer so I tend to jot down ideas - they can be visual, cinematic, or descriptions of environments. Different pieces start from different methods. Other pieces can start from nothing. They can start from a sound and they are very physical, they don't necessarily involve any intellectual ideas at all.

LJ - So have you any tips for our audience on how to go about their first sound piece?

David Toop - Just be open and don't be distracted by what other people are doing or by what the equipment can do. Focus on something that really expresses your feelings about sound and what it means to you. Don't get lost in all the possibilities out there. Don't be afraid to be simple and clear about what you're doing and then if you want to diversify or make it more complex, then you have a strong sense of your own identity

Solo Albums
"New & Rediscovered Musical Instruments", (Obscure 4, 1975. Reissued 1997)

"Screen ceremonies" (Thez Wire editions, 9001, 1995).

"Pink Noir" (Virgin Records, AMBT 18, 1996).

"Spirit World" (Virgin Records, AMBT 22, 1997).
"Museum Of fruit" (Caipirinha Music, cai2022, 1999).

"Hot pants Idol" (Barooni bar 020, 1999).


Ocean of Sound
Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Words -
Serpent 's Tail 1995
Published: 22/2/2001
isbn: 1 85242 743 4
More Info here

Published: 22/2/2001
isbn: 1 85242 743 4
Fabricated Soundscapes in a Real World
More Info here

Rap Attack 3
Published: 16/12/1999
isbn: 1 85242 627 6
A frican Rap to Global Hip Hop
More Info here
Haunted Weather
Music, Silence, and Memory
Published: 12/5/2004
isbn: 1 85242 812 0
More Info here


David Toop website

GENERAL INFO, SALES ENQUIRIES, PARTNERSHIP : info (at) vibrofiles (dot) com