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Phil Kline's UNSILENT NIGHT Returns for a 23rd Edition in Cities Across the United States This December

This December, Phil Kline's luminous and shimmering mobile sound-sculpture UNSILENT NIGHT returns for a 23rd edition in cities across the United States and abroad. Since its debut on the streets of Greenwich Village in 1992, Unsilent Night has grown organically as a true word-of-mouth phenomenon; it is now a worldwide annual holiday event and has been presented in over 95 cities and on four continents.

This year's flagship New York City event takes place on Saturday, December 13, 2014at 7:00pm, when composer Phil Kline will lead a massive chorus of boomboxes from the West Village to the East Village. Hundreds of participants will gather at the arch in Washington Square Park, and less than an hour and mile later, end up in Tompkins Square Park.

Meanwhile, throughout the month similar parades will play out in over 30 cities as diverse as San Francisco, CA; Knoxville, TN; Tuscon, AZ; McAllen, TX; Montreal, Quebec; and Brussels, Belgium. A frequently updated list of 2014 participating cities can be found online at


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. Participants bring their own boomboxes and speakers and drift peacefully through a cloud of sound which is different from every listener's perspective.

"Unsilent Night is like a Christmas caroling party except we don't sing, but rather carry boomboxes," says composer Phil Kline. "We're each playing a separate audio track which is part of the piece. In effect, we become a city-block-long stereo system."

The media has caught on to this growing cult-phenomenon, with coverage and critical praise from NPR, Channel 13 Metrofocus, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Baltimore Sun, The Village Voice, Flavorpill, New York Magazine, New York Post, among many others.

While technological advances allow the piece to be played through a multitude of devices, Kline originally designed the piece in 1992 to incorporate the unreliability, playback delay, and quavering tones of cassette tapes.

"Today most people have digital audio players, so I make the audio available in that format as well-but there's something about the twinkling, hallucinatory effect of a warbling cassette tape that I enjoy," says Kline.


In winter 1992, Phil Kline ( had an idea for a public artwork in the form of a holiday caroling party. He composed a four-track electronic piece that was 45 minutes long (the length of one side of a cassette tape), invited a few dozen friends who gathered in Greenwich Village, gave each person a boombox with one of four tapes in it, and instructed everyone to hit PLAY at the same time. What followed was a sound unlike anything they had ever heard before: an evanescence filled the air, reverberating off buildings and streets as the crowd walked a pre-determined route. The piece was so popular that it became an annual tradition, and then an international phenomenon.

The studio recording of UNSILENT NIGHT is available on Cantaloupe Music (CA21005)
Photo by Tom Jarmusch

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