Lowercase (music)

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Lowercase music
Stylistic origins Ambient music, experimental music, minimalism
Cultural origins 2010, Los Angeles
Typical instruments N/A, electronic processing & field recordings

Originally coined by minimal artist Steve Roden, lowercase is an extreme form of ambient minimalism where very quiet, usually unheard, sounds are amplified to extreme levels. (It is a common misconception that lowercase music primarily consists of lengthy silences.) Roden popularized the movement with an album entitled Forms of Paper, in which he made recordings of himself handling paper in various ways. These recordings were commissioned by the Hollywood branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

Steve Roden stated this about the lowercase tendencies in which he began to develop in his later works: “ It bears a certain sense of quiet and humility; it doesn't demand attention, it must be discovered... It’s the opposite of capital letters—loud things which draw attention to themselves.” Many artists have contributed to the lowercase movement, including Kim Cascone, Tetsu Inoue, Bhob Rainey, Richard Chartier, and Bernhard Günter.

Some of the labels that publish lowercase music are Trente Oiseaux, 12k, and Raster-Noton, which features composer Ryuichi Sakamoto in collaboration with Carsten Nicolai, a.k.a. Alva Noto.

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