emptyset is a multidisciplinary production project founded founded by James Ginzburg and Paul Purgas exploring the sonic possibilities of electroacoustic and computer music, architecture, and performance. Recent record Blossoms, released via Thrill Jockey, comprises a series of experimental collaborations with a machine learning system.
Trained on emptyset’s discography via a process known as “seeding,” the neural net demonstrates certain mechanisms of relational reasoning and pattern recognition, finding correlations and connections between seemingly unrelated sounds. A non-human musicality emerges; as the duo told The Quietus, the process offered them “a chance to think more broadly about emergence and evolution in a very direct way, shifting into a space where we could address intelligence not as metaphor but as a material process in itself.”
Considered vanguards of contemporary electronic music, emptyset has spent the last decade exploring new, inventive compositional techniques. Their output is informed by the evolution of electronic and improvised music, full frequency production, and forensic sound design, reflecting upon tonal and avant-garde traditions and the history of experimental media. The duo released Skin and Borders via Thrill Jockey; while Recur and Collapsed emerged via raster-noton. Earlier output such as Demiurge, Medium, and Material were released via Subtext Recordings, an imprint run by Ginzburg.
Based in Berlin and London, emptyset has worked on several expanded projects within performance and installation settings incorporating spatial acoustics, broadcasting, large scale instruments, and vocalisation. They have been commissioned to produce work for the Architecture Foundation, Tate Britain, V&A, and Deutschlandradio.