Clicks & Cuts

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Clicks & Cuts [ ˌklɪksənˈkʌts ] is an experimental variety of popular electronic music that developed in the late 1990s. There are intersections with noise , techno , house , industrial , nudub , hardcore techno , electronica and ambient .

Conditions of origin

An important basis was the advancing computerization of music production in the mid-1990s. Nobody needed a stand-alone sampler or other expensive devices. A simple notebook with the appropriate music software was sufficient . Each sound could easily be sampled or generated on the computer and manipulated and changed beyond recognition.

Many musicians produce almost exclusively on the laptop. They are often classic bedroom producers , i.e. that is, they produce in their own four walls instead of in a studio. With the exception of mastering, expensive music studios are practically no longer necessary. Modern notebooks and sophisticated production software have revolutionized the music production process.


Achim Szepanski , founder of the German label Mille Plateaux , sees the term “Clicks & Cuts” more as an approach to music than a stylistic description of the genre: “With the term 'Clicks & Cuts' one is ultimately looking for a genre that is actually not one . It's about the production of differences: nesting and shifting are dynamized and temporalized. ”On the one hand, the term refers to the cuts possible with sequencer programs -“ With this, the program-controlled processing of the musical material is addressed as an automatically occurring transformation. The variety of options leads to non-linear 'composing' and real-time multitasking. ", On the other hand to clicks that" [represent] the metastatic proliferation of electronic music. They lie in between, are both referential and omnipresent. "

Live presentation

Many laptop musicians perform as live acts, especially since there are now many serious platforms (festivals, series of events, etc.) for laptop musicians (the largest regular events are the Sónar festivals in Barcelona and Mutek in Montreal). However, some acts like Mouse on Mars appear as a band formation and try to transfer their music to more tangible acoustic and electronic instruments.


Glitch is a sub-genre of Clicks & Cuts that is based on digital noise, (supposedly) random sound events or programmed algorithms . The designation is based on the electronics term of the same name: there, glitch denotes errors in circuits. The term is thus defined purely in terms of the production method; the result can be very different aesthetic results that are not tied to the actual aesthetics of Clicks & Cuts.

So z. B. a scratched and therefore hanging and jumping CD with its typical sound can become the central theme of a piece of music. This aesthetic became the hallmark of Oval , even after they no longer used the real jump noise, but worked purely with sound synthesis software. Even data that is not related to music , such as the log files of a web server, can be converted into music, which is then given random structures (as with the Austrians Farmers Manual ).

Other representatives proceed with considerably less radical aesthetics. The Berlin musician Pole uses a defective filter, the eponymous "4-pole" from the Waldorf company. As soon as it was put into use, it produced scratching and crackling noises, originally undesired, which varied, but were based on the input as if by themselves. The production method led while an aesthetic that of the Jamaican dub was so close that you soon from Citydub or Nudub said.


  1. a b c Aram Lintzel: The sound of transcoding , interview with Achim Szepanski, April 28, 2001


  • Marcus S. Kleiner and Achim Szepanski (editors): Soundcultures - About electronic and digital music . Suhrkamp Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 2003. ISBN 978-3-518-12303-4 .