Playing With Sound: Experimental Music With Jamie Stewart - Atlas Obscura Experiences
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Playing With Sound: Experimental Music With Jamie Stewart

$95 per person Online Experience
4 sessions
See Dates
$95 per person
$95 per person
See Dates
What We’ll Do

This course has already started! However, you can still join if you’d like to (and we hope you will!). Students enrolling after the course start date and time will have access to a recording of the first session (which will be emailed to participants within 72 hours) as well as the option to attend remaining sessions live. Please select the “Join Late” ticket type to enroll after the course has begun.

In this four-part lecture series, join Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu for an active exploration of experimental music.

Course Description

Experimental music is more of a verb than it is a noun; to create it, one must experiment. Its definition is an energetic and decisive act as much as it is a broad category of music, and in its truest form, it should fly beyond its bounds rather than exist within them. Join singer, engineer, and composer Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu for an exploration of these very definitions and bounds and the creative processes that shape and transcend them. Designed for music makers and appreciators alike, this class will look at some of the genre’s most fascinating pioneers, discuss what experimental music even is (or, really, what it might be), how it interacts with other musics, and the social, emotional, political, and intellectual factors that drive it. We’ll be doing lots of listening, discussing, and creating—with opportunities to walk through techniques of producing musical and creative experiments as we go. Regardless of your prior experience, you’ll be encouraged to try out weekly, optional assignments and share your makings, findings, and questions with the class during our sessions together. Novices and long-time devotees will come away with an expanded understanding of this baffling and wild world of sound, tools for sonic creation, and new oceans of sound to float through. 

Syllabus At A Glance

There are four total sessions included in this purchase, each lasting for 1.5 hours on four consecutive Wednesdays beginning August 4.

Session 1 (Wednesday, 8/4, 7:30–9:00 PM): Where to Begin?: Definitions, history & pre/proto synthesizer techniques

Session 2 (Wednesday, 8/11, 7:30–9:00 PM): Growth, Meaning, and BEEPS!: Expansion of experimental music & the influence of synths

Session 3 (Wednesday, 8/18, 7:30–9:00 PM): Experimental Music Today: Who's making it & how it influences other music forms

Session 4 (Wednesday, 8/25, 7:30–9:00 PM): Making Bizarre Sounds: Demonstrations for beginners & experts

Between Sessions

Outside of class, students will receive a listening list as well as creative assignments for both experts and novices. (Assignments are encouraged but not compulsory; this course is for you so do with it what thou wilt!) We’ll have opportunities to discuss how those assignments went and how they relate to the topic we’re covering during our sessions together.

Course Materials

Other than the best headphones you can get your hands on, you don’t need anything! Assignments will be open-ended enough that you won’t need anything other than time and effort.

Pricing Options

We currently offer tiered ticket pricing in an effort to increase accessibility for all students, regardless of economic situation. Our lecture series are available at three ticket prices, with a limited number of no-pay spots available for students who could not otherwise participate. This model is intended to support a wider range of students as well as our instructors. To learn more about our tiered sliding scale pricing model, please visit our FAQ page.

Atlas Obscura Online Courses

Our online courses offer opportunities for participants to emerge with new skills, knowledge, connections, and perspectives through multi-session classes designed and taught by expert instructors. Courses can take one of two forms: Seminars are intimate, interactive classes—capped at nine to 25 students—exploring topics and crafts through discussion, workshops, assignments, and in-class activities. We also offer lecture series that can be attended live, or viewed via a recording that will be shared within 72 hours after each session airs. Class recordings for lecture series will be available with a temporary password for up to two weeks following the final session of the course.

To learn more about our current course offerings, please visit

For answers to commonly asked questions, check out our FAQ page here.

Where We’ll Be

Once registered, you’ll receive a confirmation email from Eventbrite that will provide access to the class meeting. Please save the confirmation email as you’ll use it to access your course via Zoom on each scheduled date and time.

About Your Instructor
Jamie Stewart
Jamie Stewart

Jamie Stewart has been a singer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist and composer for the group Xiu Xiu since 2002. Xiu Xiu has released 15 full-length albums and countless adjunct projects and has collaborated with Sharon Van Etten, Swans, Vaginal Davis, Charlemange Palestine, Mitski, and master Haitian drummer Daniel—among many other luminaries. With the support of David Lynch, Xiu Xiu released an album reinterpreting the music of Twin Peaks and has had songs featured in numerous horror and experimental films. Stewart has composed and performed commissioned pieces for the artist Danh Vo, LACMA, The Guggenheim, NYU, The Venice and Berlin Biennales, and The Getty Center. He is also a member of the Berlin-based art collective CHEAP and the post industrial band HEXA. Stewart is the author of several volumes of haiku and is publishing his first novel, Anything That Moves, early next year. 

What Else You Should Know

This lecture series is designed so students can participate live or watch a recording after each session airs. Sessions will take place live over Zoom, with dedicated Q&A segments for students to ask questions via video or chat. Within 72 hours after each session airs, we will email all enrolled students a recording of the session, which they can watch using a temporary password for up to ten weeks after the course concludes.

In most cases, instructors will use Google Classroom to communicate with students outside of class. While students aren’t required to use Classroom, instructors will be using this platform to post resources, discussion questions, and assignments, when applicable.

We provide closed captioning for all of our courses, as well as transcripts upon request. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions, requests, or access needs.

Dates and Availability

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