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Mr Malte Kobel

Research project: Posthuman voices: sonic politics of speech synthesis


In my research project I analyse the voice as it is being artificially constructed, that is, synthesised. Such a technological framing of the voice allows me to ask fundamental questions of the voice and its bodily and/or disembodied status. How can we think voice with and without a body, with and without a subject? How can we rethink (human) voice through its synthetisation? I analyse this friction of the voice as bodily/disembodied by sonic means. That is, I am following the singing voice as it is being heard in current pop music as well as in electronic music from the 1950s onwards. This posthuman questioning of voice tries to sonically rethink voice and its connection to the human and will thus make uncertain a dualism of machinic and human voice.


I am doctoral student at the Music Department at Kingston University, with a project on synthetic voice which is supervised by Isabella van Elferen and Scott Wilson.

My work cuts across areas of musicology, sound and media culture, electronic or any other current music, postcolonial & posthuman theory, afrofuturism. I have studied musicology at the University of Vienna, Cardiff University and Humboldt University of Berlin and have written mostly on new (BA on the music of Beat Furrer) and electronic music and music's entanglement with media culture (MA on techno-strategic modes of listening). Apart from academic work I am co-running the record label Hyperdelia and am co-responsible for the collective/network/platform BLATT 3000 from Berlin.

Areas of research interest

  • Musicology
  • Sound Studies
  • Media Theory
  • Phonography
  • Voice
  • Singing


  • BA Musicology, University Vienna
  • MA Musicology, Humboldt University Berlin

Funding or awards received

  • AHRC TECHNE funded doctoral student
  • Kingston University Studentship


Kobel, M. (2019) 'The drum machine's ear: XLN Audio's drum sequencer XO and algorithmic listening', Sound Studies, 5(2), pp. 201-204.

Kobel, M. (2019) 'Dispositive des Hörens: Formationen von Emotionen und Klang in der Hi-Fi-Kultur der späten 1950er Jahre am Beispiel des Genres „Exotica"', in Herzfeld-Schild, M. L. (ed.) Musik und Emotionen. Kulturhistorische Perspektiven (= Studien zu Musik und Gender Bd. 1). Stuttgart: Metzler. (forthcoming 2019).

Kobel, M. (2016) 'Beat Furrer und das Visuelle. Perspektiven komponieren oder Bild-Werden der Musik', in Tadday, U. (ed.) Musik-Konzepte Band 172/173, Beat Furrer. München: edition text+kritik.

Conference papers

Kobel, M. (2019) 'Singing caesuras: phonography's generating of otherwise times', at: Sonologia. International Conference on Sound Studies, 9-12 April, São Paulo, Brazil. 

Kobel, M. (2018) 'Monstrosities of voice', at: International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts (ICFA), 14-17 March, Orlando, US.

Kobel, M. (2017) 'How to engineer a Krautrock listener', at: Research Networking Day, CTM Festival 2017: Fear Anger Love, Berlin, Germany.

Kobel, M. (2016) '>Simple Headphone Mind< – Listening environments around the skull', at: International Exploratory Workshop: Sounding Out the Anthropocene. Investigating Sonic Media Ecologies, Critical Media Lab Basel, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures, FHNW Basel, Switzerland.

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