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David Toop - short biography


Born near London in 1949, David Toop is a musician, writer and sound curator.  He has published three books, currently translated into six languages: Rap Attack (now in its third edition), Ocean of Sound, and Exotica (selected as a winner of the 21st annual American Books Awards for 2000). His first album, New and Rediscovered Musical Instruments, was released on Brian Eno's Obscure label in 1975; since 1995 he has released six solo albums - Screen Ceremonies, Pink Noir, Spirit World, Museum of Fruit, Hot Pants Idol and 37th Floor At Sunset: Music For Mondophrenetic - and curated five acclaimed CD compilations for Virgin Records - Ocean of Sound, Crooning On Venus, Sugar & Poison, Booming On Pluto and Guitars On Mars.

In 1998 he composed the soundtrack for Acqua Matrix, the outdoor spectacular that closed every night of Lisbon Expo '98 from May until September. He has recorded shamanistic ceremonies in Amazonas, appeared on Top Of The Pops with The Flying Lizards, worked with musicians including Brian Eno, John Zorn, Prince Far I, Jon Hassell, Derek Bailey, Talvin Singh, Evan Parker, Max Eastley, Scanner, Ivor Cutler, Haruomi Hosono, Jin Hi Kim and Bill Laswell, and collaborated with artists from many other disciplines, including theatre director/actor Steven Berkoff, Japanese Butoh dancer Mitsutaka Ishii, sound poet Bob Cobbing visual artist John Latham, filmmaker Jae-eun Choi and author Jeff Noon.

As a critic and columnist he has written for many publications, including The Wire, The Face, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Arena, Vogue, Spin, GQ, Bookforum, Urb, Black Book, The New York Times and The Village Voice.  He has curated Sonic Boom, the UK's largest ever exhibition of sound art, displayed at the Hayward Gallery, London, from April to June, 2000. In 2001-02 he was sound curator for Radical Fashion, an exhibition of work by designers including Issey Miyake, Junya Watanabe, Martin Margiela and Hussein Chalayan, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2001-2002 and featuring music by Björk, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Akira Rabelais, Paul Schütze and others.

Other recent projects include the composition of a soundtrack for Mondophrenetic, a CD-ROM installation created in Belgium and exhibited in Brussels and Santiago, and 'Needle In the Groove', a collaborative album with novelist Jeff Noon, released on Scanner's Sulphur label in May 2000.  In January 2000 he exhibited the sound installation 'Dreaming of Inscription On Skin' with Max Eastley at ICC in Tokyo; in April 2001 he created sound collages for the Hayward Gallery's Brassai exhibition; in June 2002 his Ocean Volumes installation was exhibited in the WAV festival in Bruges, Belgium; in 2001/2002 he curated a double CD of English experimental music for the Leonardo Music Journal issue, Not Necessarily English Music, published by MIT. Siren Space, his composition for tug boats, electronics, text and the solo saxophone of Lol Coxhill, was performed on the River Thames as the climax of the Thames Festival in 2002.  Currently a Visiting Research Fellow at the Sound Department of the London Institute, he is writing a new book about human physicality, digital music, sound and listening.  His latest album is Black Chamber, released by Sub Rosa in February 2003.


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