About Experimental music Cover songs

So, I have never thought before of Experimental music covers, are there any out there and what would they sound like. I find experimental music to be kind of anti-coverable music, since at least for me, it is really personal, and since everything (can be…) so loose (etc improvisation…) it is really hard to make covers in technical sense.

Nevertheless, I tried to find some out there but could not find anything, so I made some concept of mine, a cover of the new Aaron Dilloway’s track “Blue Studies”. I think its more a cover of the idea of the track, not a cover of the concrete audio of the track, but would it still be a cover? Where is the line of the cover and a complete new track to be drawn? Is it a total ripoff?

I found the total process of making this “Cover” very much helping my inspiration about the inner workings of sound production, I found new ways to approach things and had to think outside my own box, so I would strongly encourage others to take this journey too! Would be fun to listen to other peoples takes on some of your fav experimental / etc works!

I link the both down here! Comment down bellow about covers in the sphere of experimental audio!

Original Blue Studies:

My “cover” Red Studies:


Bang On A Can has performed Music For Airports, as an album and live.

1 Like

I like how there are a lot of covers of Aphex Twin’s Stone in Focus track from SAW2. It is only on the vinyl and tape edtiions and so is missing from the streaming services.

Benoit Pioulard’s is my favorite:

I was in a trio for a while that ended badly and the 3rd guy wouldn’t allow me to use some of our music on an LP. I covered some of the tracks as solo improvisations 10 years later from memory and really liked the results.

1 Like

Yes, I feel like experimental music is defined less by a single totemic recording and more by an idea (It’s Gonna Rain) or a graphic score (Music for Airports) or a set of written instructions (In C), and therefore even an “original recording” is kind of a cover. A bit like how classical music doesn’t get “covered”, merely “performed”.

But I’d be interested to know if pop songwriters who work with e.g. sheet music think the same way about it!

Edit: in a similar vein, does the concept of a “demo” exist in experimental music?


Why not, isn’t it in the eye of the beholder? Not trying to be academic about it, but what does it mean “to exist” anyway? If, for example, you create a piece of experimental music as a demo, wouldn’t that make it a demo by definition? Is that not mostly a descriptor of lower-than-possible quality, and purpose mostly?

Now I’m inclined to make an experimental album and title it Demo just to complicate things. :innocent:


HAHA! Yes! and after you’re done with that one, make one long drone and call it ‘MixTape’ :rofl:

i think the word ‘cover’ probably goes all the way back to people just saying it in passing, like, “we covered that information already”(and eventually it applied to songs as one type of information to ‘cover’). if we take that more generalized meaning, i think most experimental music that gets performed according to a score, will end up being a ‘cover’ after the very first performance.
i may be way out there about it, but this thread makes me think of the music games of John Zorn, like ‘Cobra’:

(^it’s as if he created a template for creating nothing but different interpretations or different ‘covers’ of a work that originally only existed metaphysically)


I’m feeling like a covers record of experimental and ambient pieces would be pretty interesting to make. I’d cover a track from Twine, a track from the Disintegration Loops, something from SAW2, some Nils Frahm… I made a cover version of Spem in Alium (before 50 shades, sigh) a long time ago, but there are other early music pieces that would take an ambient/process/aleotoric cover nicely I think. Feels like a growth year kind of project, actually. Out of comfort zone and stretching. I’m thinking about Foxes in Fiction’s and Sefeels’ Cocteau Twins covers, too. I did a “cover” of Its gonna rain most of 30 years ago with a James Brown phrase and two tape loops for a dance piece. I guess that’s a bit of a stretch…

I mean, thinking on it more, in the 90s there were a lot of remixes that were effectively covers. Basically none of the original audio was used… Aphex Twin was famous/infamous for this.


I wonder how much of what we call covers just boils down to record industry conventions around who gets royalties when. If someone gets royalties from new recordings of a piece, then it’s a cover. Otherwise it’s hard to get why non written music traditions that have ‘standards’ are any different from what happens when a song gets ‘covered’.

1 Like

Standards are generally from the time before recorded music dominated the market. They are an artifact of the sheet music world.


My partner said I did a cover of Woodpecker No. 1 last night when I was snoring :grin: