Norient opens up the world through music and sound. We conceive audio and noise as seismographs of our time and facilitate space and place for thinkers and artists to reflect on the now and tomorrow. Our goal is to challenge surface realities and the mainstream, fight algorithms and initiate dialogue across people and continents.

The digital gallery, Norient’s space «The Now in Sound», tells new stories about the world through audio-visual exhibitions, academic research, quality journalism, broad- and podcasts, photography, video and film. Norient Places includes the biannual Norient Film Festival and its satellites, lectures, performances or concerts which are curated and co-curated with our growing network of partners from fifty countries, coordinated through the Norient Agency. Norient Press offers publications and releases. And the Norient Lab experiments with new formats and practices on how to perform music and sound research in the future.

Experience challenging sounds and ideas in today’s digitized world. It's time to listen!

We believe that ideas matter, including what we say and do, and the stories we tell.

We invite you, researchers, academics, journalists, filmmakers, photographers, podcast and broadcast producers, video artists, musicians, DJs, ethnographers, storytellers, niche lovers, cultural workers, pop culture geeks, speakers, moderators, curators, educators, graphic designers, programmers, coders and other thinkers and artists, young and old, established or not, to connect with cultural creatives worldwide.

We are a community of practice in art, journalism and academia. Together, we can challenge the mainstream and fight algorithms. Our aim is to offer new stories to people all over the world.

We are seeking

  • Visions of a new world and new stories of today, through music, sound and discourse.

We believe that

  • It is time to listen, observe and discuss phenomena from different angles, positions and perspectives, in close collaboration with people from various backgrounds, living across the globe.

We are driven by

  • Curiosity

  • Passion

  • Diversity

We appreciate

  • Encouragement

  • Self-Reflection

  • Empathy

We like to immerse ourselves in

  • Music, sound, noise, musique conrète and soundscapes

  • artistic visions, human thoughts and imaginations

  • cities and nature


«In 2002, Norient was an attack on Orientalism and Exoticism. It was about opening up to contemporary music and expressions from the non-Western world. Now it is about creating a true community of thinkers and artists».

Thomas Burkhalter, Founder and Artistic Director of Norient




"Dedicated to the search for ‹music, sound and noise› from around the globe, Norient aims to represent local culture from the perspective of its producers.»

John Doran, The Guardian


«While Norient are cultural gatekeepers, with a hunger to represent the new, the material here shows that difference is just that: multiplicitous and ungeneralisable.»

Hannah Gregory, The Wire


«Norient ist zu dem geworden, was die Musikzeitschrift Spex in Deutschland zeitweise einmal war: ein Thinktank, der über den globalen Mainstream der Minderheiten reflektiert.»

Daniel Bax, taz


«Norient, c’est toute une galaxie»

Michel Masserey, Radio Television Suisse


«Norient finely balances academic and applied ethnomusicology across a range of world areas.»

Amanda Scherbenske, Yearbook for Traditional Music


«Was macht das Norient-Musik-Network so speziell? Es sind der eigene Esprit, der scharfe ethnografische Blick, auch das soziale Gewissen.»

Björn Schaeffner, Neue Zürcher Zeitung


«Das Schweizer Netzwerk Norient ‹für lokale und globale Klang- und Medienkultur› leistet mit dem Buch ‹Seismographic Sounds› vorzügliche Pionierarbeit […]. Thomas Burkhalter und sein Team planieren Differenzen nicht vermittels universitärer Diskursdampfwalzen, vielmehr geben sie dem Eigensinn auch in textästhetischer Hinsicht Raum.»

Jörg Scheller, Süddeutsche Zeitung


«Norient ist DAS europäische Netzportal für Global Sounds und Medienkultur. Und das Musikfilmfestival spiegelt genau das wider.»

Johannes Paetzold, WDR – Funkhaus Europa