Sonified Physiological Indicators of Empathy is a collection of sound works created from physiological data collected and analyzed for markers of empathetic response to sounds of violence. The subject is outfitted with sensors reading electrodermal activity, breath and heart rate. The subject is then exposed to clips of audio depicting violence in ten second intervals separated by ten seconds of silence. After the data is collected, it is converted into MIDI files which are given synthetic voices. The timbres and textures draw from heavily processed and prepared piano, time-stretched field recordings and sampled human voice.
released February 12, 2021
All tracks by Jen Kutler.
Mastered by Nathan Moody at Obsidian Sound.
Physiological sensor system designed by Erin Gee.
All artwork and layout by Jen Kutler.
Produced and mixed by Jen Kutler at This Page Left Intentionally Blank Studios in Tillson, NY.
2021 Cacophonous Revival Recordings
"The compositions transport the listener into an uneasy dimension, a meeting place for diverse nuances of altered vibration in a consciousness totally imbued with reality, but not yet ready for its complete acceptance..."
Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
"While the ultimate source of this record is the sounds of violence, the output often verges on the lush: voices, prepared piano and field recordings entangled and unfurled like clusters of wild flowers...an exquisitely fraught listen. Flocks of pizzicato burst from gentle feedback tones; the quivers of audio time-stretching protrude like goosebumps upon arcs of melody..."
Jack Chuter, ATTN:Magazine
"The project's search for empathy is a captivating story and the music doesn't feel heavy handed. Each piece finds steady, subtle drones and icy melodic fragments, hanging in a constant stream of delicate tension."
-Vanessa Ague, The Wire
March 2021, Issue No. 445
"The eyes see porous, morphing patterns of liquid; the ears hear waves, implying both border and endless sea...these layers of suffering may yet produce empathy: the initial experience, the secondary experience of the subject exposed to the sounds, and the tertiary experience of the listener thrice removed. If such, Kutler may have achieved more than the clinical mirror of data may imply. Strangely, the more of the same sort of suffering we witness, the more desensitized we get (for example, repetitions of the same footage). But when exposed to a variety of personalized encounters (represented by the different tracks and timbres), our empathy may be sparked. If listeners are affected even while distanced, hope may yet be feasible."
-Richard Allen, a closer listen
"If ever a recording benefited from playback via headphones or an immersive surround-sound environment, Kutler's definitely qualifies...One of the things that makes Kutler's material so absorbing is the tension created between the abstract and the concrete, the ethereal and the real. Her unusual sound collages soothe the effect attributable to their creator's expert handling of sound design and balance and sensitivity to timbre. Experienced at an engulfing volume, these pieces have the capacity to leave the listener mesmerized."
-Rob Schepper, textura