Femmes in Sonology: Marlene Fally

Zosia Hołubowska (Mala Herba) / 19 Jun 2020

Marlene Fally is a sound artist and performer from Austria, currently based in the Netherlands, where she is studying at the Institute of Sonology. Her interest in music was fostered somewhere in-between playing the classical violin as a child, dancing to the sound of Austrian underground bands at concerts, and finally gaining some confidence at the Pink Noise Girls Rock Camp in Austria. Currently, her main interests lie in coding, exploring the human voice, and the emotional and social aspects of sound.
In her work she likes to play with as well as unite softness and roughness, being both empathetic and radical – the two extremes, which are the most interesting to her when brought together.








1. Please introduce yourself and tell us more about your practice.

Hi! My name is Marlene Fally and I am a sound artist, performer, and electronic music student based in the Netherlands. I love to explore all different kinds of sounds, from sounds that I hear in my everyday life to electronically produced ones. When I make music or prepare a sound performance, most of the time I somehow work through and explore my emotions as well as other mental and social phenomena. I like to unite soft and rough characteristics in my music, as I think that both of these things are important in some way and I find it mesmerizing to watch what happens when they are brought together.

2. What drove you to electronic music?

As a teenager my brother made me install Ableton Live on my computer and encouraged me to play around with it, which was a lot of fun! I think that seeing Holly Herndon’s concert back then gave me the final push to start making my own electronic music. I have been interested in how computers work for a long time, and after getting a brief taste of different coding languages, I knew that I really, really wanted to learn how to code my music. And luckily, that’s what I am doing now!

3. What are the main tools and techniques you are currently exploring?

I work a lot with a programming language/environment called SuperCollider, which gives me a lot of possibilities and freedom to explore various kinds of sounds and approaches to creating sound. I also use a lot of recordings in my work, as well as my own voice and sometimes other random objects – lately, I have become obsessed with a glass straw, which I normally use for logopaedic exercises.

4. What was the idea behind this podcast and what was the process of creating it?

I started this podcast using some code I made for a school assignment this year. Right now I am reworking it, so it can be used to live code, and I recorded some stuff while I was trying to make it work. (I still need to make it really work though, hehe). The podcast also features some recordings of video chats I had recently and some more live coded improvisations. Since we are right now all in quarantine, and this is not easy for anyone, I try to find a way to process this situation through music – so I think it has become a bit of a nervous 45 minutes, with some calm moments in-between.

5. The new music/ advanced electronic music scene can be a pretty male-dominated space. What are your experiences/ thoughts about it?

Yes, I agree with that. I am often frustrated how non-male artists get erased from history – or even the present – in discussions, lectures or events around electronic music.
Also, when I say that I study electronic music at school, I get it a lot that people are surprised that I – a young (and even younger-looking) woman – study such a “technical“ thing. I think it is quite sad that this is still a surprise to some people, and in my opinion, it proves that there is still a lot to be done to make this scene a safe playground for everyone, where everyone can get the same respect and recognition regardless of their appearance, gender, etc.

6. Are there any femme/ non-binary pioneers that inspire you?

Yes, there are! Like so many others, I am inspired by the works and thoughts of Pauline Oliveros. And only recently I came across the composer Michele Bokanowski.
I have been listening to her piece Pour un pianiste on repeat ever since. And, I am actually not sure whether to mention them here or in the next question, but anyway, the music of Le Tigre always gives me so much energy!

7. Do you have any contemporary femme/ nonbinary artists that you follow and want to share their music?

I do! Next week my friend and classmate Hilde Wollenstein will release her podcast in this series, but I would like to introduce her here. She makes beautiful compositions and her live sets are always an amazing experience!

I am fascinated by Christina Kubisch’s experiments with electromagnetic signals. As someone who is very enthusiastic about the idea of the sound walk I would love to be able to experience one of her Electrical Walks sometime.

During my studies at Sonology, I have also been very inspired by the versatile work of my fellow student Lucie Nezri a.k.a Fascia Lata.

…but of course, there are so many more!

This is a revised version of an interview which originally appeared on Oramics fanpage.