On Saturday, December 15 at 7:00pm, composer Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village in the 21st annual holiday presentation of UNSILENT NIGHT. People gather at the arch in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.
UNSILENT NIGHT is Kline's free outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts, played on cassettes, CD's, Mp3's, and iPhone and Android apps, and played through a roving swarm of boomboxes carried through city streets every December. People bring their own boomboxes and drift peacefully through a cloud of sound which is different from every listener's perspective.
Since its debut in 1992, UNSILENT NIGHT has become a cult holiday tradition in NY, drawing crowds of up to 1,500 participants. It has also grown into a worldwide annual event, and has been presented in over 55 cities and on four continents.
Kline says: “Every year I present UNSILENT NIGHT, which is like a Christmas caroling party except we don't sing, but rather carry boomboxes, each playing a separate tape or CD which is part of the piece. In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system.”
Unsilent Night was designed twenty years ago to withstand the unreliability, playback delay and occasional quavering tones of cassettes. "Today most people have CD's and mp3 players, so I make those available as well--but there's something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy," says Kline.
The Village Voice describes UNSILENT NIGHT as “a marvelously fluid, traveling spatial sound sculpture that disintegrates and reforms at nearly every stop light.” Time Out calls the event “an electro-happening” and depicts the music as “a winter wonderland of shimmering sleigh bells, chimes and grand chorales.”