NOTE: Please allow for time to download Phil Kline's Unsilent Night over a WiFi connenction before a performance!
Unsilent Night is composer Phil Kline's free outdoor participatory sound sculpture of many individual parts, recorded on cassettes, CD's and mp3's, 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.
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.”
Since its debut in 1992, Unsilent Night has become a cult holiday tradition in NY, drawing crowds of up to 1,500 participants. Unsilent Night 2009 took place in more than 25 cities and for the first time in London, Denver and Dallas.
Unsilent Night 2010 will take place in cities around the world, with debuts in Hong Kong, Oxford, UK and Charleston, WV.
New cities are being added, so be sure to visit the schedule page of this site for updates.
How did Unsilent Night begin?
In 1992, Phil Kline had an idea for a public artwork in the form of a holiday caroling party. He composed a multi-track electronic piece that was 45 minutes long (the length 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 simultaneously. What followed was a sound unlike anything they had ever heard before: an evanescence filling the air, reverberating off the buildings and streets as the crowd walked a pre-determined route. Friends immediately suggested the event be repeated the next year, and now—almost 20 years later—it’s happening all over the world.
Updated for iPhone X and newer devices!
Updates for schedule information.
Ratings and Reviews
Awesome musical tradition
Phil Kline’s “Unsilent Night” is like a Sixties Happening updates for us modern world. For just an hour, people from all walks of life are drawn into a mesmerizing soundscape community comprising participants, passive listeners, and chance passers by. I’ve been doing it pretty regularly from fairly early on.
Watch out for Auto-lock!
I love mobile sound art! But be sure you turn off screen Auto-lock during a performance or the sound from the app will be cut off! Not good during the event. This should be fixed or warned about in the instructions.
Unsilent Night goes Mobile
I've been a fan of Phil's Unsilent Nights for many years, and it's always been a kind of amazing update on the idea of "caroling." I'm happy to see it Mobilized! I hope people will also be carrying the traditional boomboxes as well.
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.