Resonant Thoughts: Nick Foster and Simone Rebaudengo’s “On Distortion” (2020)

“A symptom of electronic failure became the defining audio landscape for generations, the ‘bug’ became a ‘feature’ and distortion settings are now commonplace on every available guitar amplifier. The initial aim of amplification technology was to generate an accurate reproduction of an acoustic guitar sound, only louder. In reality the technology morphed and altered the input to create new, previously unheard sounds which captured the imagination of musicians and fans (…)

The intervention of technology into the creative arts typically delivers new aesthetics, as individuals push and pull at its edges and play with its shortcomings. The explosion of creativity brought about by the birth of photography was led in part by exploring the ‘errors’ in capture and processing. Likewise the synthesizers and drum machines of the 70’s and 80’s, (which did a pretty poor job of recreating ‘real’ sounds), birthed everything from disco to Miami booty bass (…)

We should enjoy the distortion that comes from an under-trained model, just as we do from an overdriven guitar.

– Nick Foster and Simone Rebaudengo, “On Distortion” (2020) 


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