Music: Static on a Hot Tin Roof

Midway through the piece, a woman loudly sneezed. The audience neither shushed nor frowned. Instead, they turned politely and inspected the big loudspeakers on the wood-paneled walls to try to determine if the sneeze was a part of the score. The scene was the West German Radio's Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne. The occasion: an international convention of 800 musicologists, gathered to sample the latest wares of Europe's hippest center for avant-garde music.

What the visitors heard last week was music pushed a step beyond the otherworldly compositions of French musique concrète, which...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!