Norbert Herber is a musician and a sound artist whose work explores the relationship between people and sound within mediated environments—spaces created by software, sensors, speakers, and other mediating technologies. This music is more likely to be heard on a personal computer, mobile device, or installation space than on CD or vinyl. Field recordings, live instruments, and electronics are brought together in an ever-changing, generative mix of texture and tone that leverages the processing capabilities of contemporary technology to create music specific to a place and time.

Much of this work is described as Amergent music, a style created in and of mediated environments. It synthesizes the becoming and emergence of mediated interaction with generative processes and ambient aesthetics. The act of music-making involves seeded sound potential and presence in a mediated environment where sound, in the flow of interaction and generative processes, is experienced as a becoming of music.

Whereas effect is a result, emergence is a behavior. The patterns of a cellular automata or swarm algorithm are visually evident as an effect—or result—of a simple rule set. Where affect is a physical and mental sensation in the flow of becoming, amergence is a phenomenon of consciousness. It characterizes emergent behavior with an additional, affective dimension. Amergence refers to a qualitative behavior of potential. In a mediated world emergence is a given, but through further listening and observation (to entend in the Lefebvrian sense of noticing and understanding) there is amergence. It reveals subjective details of the emergent behavior that surrounds us.

A work of Amergent music is rooted in the ontology and innate dynamics of a media technology. It must understand and recognize the functioning order of the environment or platform that supports it. In terms of the “content” or “subject” of the work, that which is to be communicated or explored (through interactions with the environment) is organized into sonic spaces—fluctuating intensities of musical potential. Nothing is given. Transformations within a space, novelties within the moment, become apparent through the layering of several spaces to reveal a world characterized by its affect. Sounds come together to spin a connective thread of musical experience that is brought-forth by virtue of one’s presence and engagement in a mediated environment.

Using this approach Norbert is focused on creating sound and music in digital environments for art, entertainment, and communications applications. His works have been performed and exhibited in Europe, Asia, South America, and in the United States.

Norbert is a Senior Lecturer at Indiana University Bloomington in the Department of Telecommunications. In 2011 he completed his Ph.D. at the University of Plymouth, UK where he studied under the supervision of John Matthias, Roy Ascott, and Brian Eno.

Send e-mail: norbert at x-tet dot com