Muscle Memory

Listening To Listening
“We are listening to two guys talking about something that they love as they listen to it, and we therefore become rapidly complicit in their act of listening. We are simultaneously listening to them, and listening at one remove to what they are listening to. But of course our entire listening experience is also framed by the fact that this is a piece, a work. We are sitting in a performance space listening to a piece of soundscape, sonic art, electroacoustic composition, documentary—which of these is as yet unclear. There’s a sense in which, initially, we are simultaneously in the place of the performance, yet unsure of where we are, or of the status or mode of our listening, without this being in any sense uncomfortable or disorientating. Compositionally then, the piece is already addressing the different ways in which we habitually listen.”

Simon Waters (2015) ‘Tullis Rennie’s Muscle Memory: Listening to the Act of Listening‘, Contemporary Music Review, 34:1, 22-32.


  • Categories: Composition
  • Muscle Memory: This recording demonstrates what any obsessive knows: how many memories can be held within a single moment on one track from one record, and how much influence that can have on one’s own musical identity. The piece acts as a meta-text, revealing various layers to the act of listening.
  • Graham South: We met aged 18, in the first few days of us both beginning a music degree at the University of Manchester. There’s a chance we were both even geekier then than we are now. We haven’t really stopped talking about music since. It turns out that I’m quite rude when I’m excitable - sorry to interrupt you so much, mate.