From 2001 research was carried out into the impact of digital tools such as the laptop computer on various forms of music and sound art, questioning whether a computer could replace conventional instruments, and how effective it could be as an improvising device. The book Haunted Weather (with accompanying 2-CD compilation released by Staubgold 52, 2004) is an outcome of these investigations, but it also has become a survey of experimental music and contemporary sonic art practice. Wider questions concerning the significance of sound, noise and silence in space, perception and memory are also considered, as a continual yet often ignored presence in human society.
The book was constructed from lectures and essays written during the three years of research. Chapters on subjects such as the origins and development of generative music, or the relationship of digital sound sampling to earlier forms of sonic montage, were published prior to the book’s completion, either in magazines such as The Wire, exhibition catalogues, and books such as Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music. These subjects were developed as ongoing research and then refined for the purposes of the book. Experience, both as a digital musician using new technology, and as an improvising musician from 1970 onwards, was also drawn upon.
Since the publication of Haunted Weather, Toop has given many international public readings incorporating texts from the book with live mixing of relevant music. Sections have been published in subsequent books, such as Audio Culture: Readings In Modern Music, edited by Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, and the findings of the book, along with its research material, led to Toop’s practice based AHRC research fellowship project, Sound Body, which in turn has resulted in further outcomes.