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Dr. Melle Jan Kromhout


I (Amsterdam, 1984) am Postdoctoral Research fellow at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Music. As part of the ERC-funded project Sound and Materialism in the 19th Century, my project entitled ‘Infinite Oscillations. A Sonic History of Fourier Analysis and Sine Wave,’ deals with the development of the physical concepts of Fourier analysis and sine waves and their importance for the study of sound and music in the first half of the nineteenth century, as well as the defining role they played in the development of modern sonic and musical cultures.

Previously, I completed my PhD thesis Noise ResonanceTechnological Sound Reproduction and the Logic of Filtering at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam in 2017. It offers an extensive conceptual revaluation of the role of noise and distortion in sound and music. Based on a detailed media archaeological analysis of analogue and digital sound technologies, I show how the noise and distortion introduced by the operations of technical media has been fundamental for shaping the specific sound of music in the media age.

Besides teaching and publishing on music, sound, noise and popular culture (both academically and for wider audiences), I write, perform and record as a musician and occasionally work as artistic advisor or music dramaturg. Since 2012, I am also a member of the advisory committee for music theatre at the Dutch Performing Arts Fund.

[Foto by: Sara Morris]

Key Publications


Noise Resonance. Technological Sound Recording and the Logic of Filtering. Dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 2017.

Journal articles:

"'The Exceptional Purity of Sound.' Noise Reduction Technology and the Inevitable Noise of Sound Recording. Journal of Sonic Studies, Volume 7, June 2014.

"As Distant and Close as Can Be. Lo-fi Recording: Site-specificity and (In)authenticity." Soundscapes, Journal on Media Culture, Volume 15, October 2012.

"'Over the Ruined Factory There’s a Funny Noise.' Throbbing Gristle and the Mediatized Roots of Noise in/as Music. Popular Music and Society, Vol. 34, No. 1, February 2011, pp. 23–34.

Book chapters:

"'Antennas Have Long Since Invaded Our Brains.' Listening to the ‘Other Music’ in Friedrich Kittler." In: Maas, Sander van (ed.). Thresholds of Listening. Sound, Technics, Space. New York: Fordham University Press, (2015): 89-104. 

Other Publications


"Wolfgang Ernst. Sonic Time Machines: Explicit Sound, Sirenic Voices, and Implicit Sonicity." Journal of Sonic Studies, January 2017.


"More Things in Theory Than Heaven and Earth Are Dreaming Of. A conversation with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young." Together with Peter McMurray for our 'Digital Passage' blog, December 2014.

“Sound Studies: A Discipline?” Review of the Sound Signatures Winter School, for the “Sounding Out!” Sound Studies blog, August 2014