Erik Nyström

Catabolisms has been performed in Brussels, Cologne, Glasgow and London…

“[…] all sorts of agents and events that act in an unpredictable, disorderly fashion and have in common the fact that they all grind things into pieces.”

Rudolf Arnheim, Entropy and Art (1971)

The title alludes to phases where sound is undergoing a process of molecular milling, fragmenting into its most primitive constituents, not unlike the ‘catabolic processes’ Rudolf Arnheim described in his essay Entropy and Art. Arnheim argued that all aesthetic or functional objects are results of the opposing ‘anabolic tendency’ — a universal force of shape-building, instilling in all objects a structural theme.

In Catabolisms, an anabolic tendency is found also in destructive forces, as implosions and corrosions become aesthetic phenomena in their own right. Energy dissipating among these textures builds a momentum which breeds new formations in a continual morphogenesis. Thus the work shapes its own destiny, as lumpy, powdery, sticky, porous aggregations of particles are strung up into spectral clouds, strata, and cascades in an interaction among turbulent forces. As in our physical world, crises occur where creation and decay are in synergy; entropic byproducts become a fertile terrain for a self-propagating universe of sound.


Catabolisms was realized in 2011-12 in the Electroacoustic Studio of City University London (England, UK) and premiered on April 17, 2012 during the SuperCollider Symposium 2012 at City University London.


  • April 17, 2012, SuperCollider Symposium 2012: Electroacoustic Concert, Performance Space — College Building — City, University of London, London (England, UK)



Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15
8-channel fixed medium



Date Work Program
December 21, 2014 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Martian Gardens / WMUA 91.1 FM (USA)
February 1, 2015 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)
March 22, 2015 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Kraak Helder #71 / Concertzender (Netherlands)
April 19, 2015 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Broken Dreams / BCB 106.6 FM (UK)
April 28, 2015 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Klangwelten / Eldoradio (Germany)
September 25, 2015 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 The Sound Projector Radio Show: Growlers / Resonance 104.4 FM (UK)
May 16, 2016 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Acoustic Frontiers / CKCU 93.1 FM (Canada)
October 1, 2019 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Influx — Alchimie / The Word Radio (Belgium)
October 13, 2020 Erik Nyström, Catabolisms (2011-12), 12:15 Radio Horizon 93.9 (South Africa)