Yasunao Tone – Noise Media Language
Essays by Robert Ashley, Dasha Dekleva, Federico Marulanda, William Marotti, and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Introduction by Achim Wollscheid.
120 page book with CD
Critical Ear, Vol. 4

press reviews here

Our monograph on Yasunao Tone is currently out of print. We receive the occasional request for a copy, and aim to support not only Tone's amazing work but its ongoing appreciation as well as research into his activities.

For this reason, a pdf of the monograph is available here:

Noise Media Language

A pioneer since the early 60s in sound art and digital composition, Yasunao Tone has composed for Merce Cunningham (alongside John Cage) and been a member of the groups Ongaku, Hi-Red Center, and Fluxus. He is unabashedly avant-garde and continues today to engage questions of noise, language, and systems of representation. This indispensable monograph catalogues the artist's career through documentation of seminal projects.

Including a CD of works ranging from early performance experiments to current digital projects.


Yasunao Tone is known mostly for his musical work, much of which relies on unconventional techniques. Tone began manipulating compact disks to achieve uniquely mangled sounds in the early 1980s. For his 1985 album, Solo for Wounded CD, he damaged audio CDs and used the information that a CD player was able to extract from those discs to create new pieces. Tone's CD player based works employ a process of "de-controlling" the device's playback so that it randomly selects fragments from a set of sound materials. Tone has stated that the error-correction functionality of modern CD players has made it hard to continue to use this technique and, for this reason, he continues to use older equipment. For his collaboration with Florian Hecker, Palimpsest, he converted Japanese Man'yo¯shu poems to sound.

Always active in United States with avant-garde music artists, he has been awarded a CAPS Grant in multi-media, a grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2004, a New York State Council on the Arts commission grant for flutist Barbara Held, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for collaborative work with Blondell Cummings and Senga Nengdi, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in performance/emerging forms.