T. J PINCH Harvard University Press, 2002 Library of Congress ML1092.P56 2002 | Dewey Decimal 786.7419
Though ubiquitous today, available as a single microchip and found in any electronic device requiring sound, the synthesizer when it first appeared was truly revolutionary. Something radically new--an extraordinary rarity in musical culture--it was an instrument that used a genuinely new source of sound: electronics. How this came to be--how an engineering student at Cornell and an avant-garde musician working out of a storefront in California set this revolution in motion--is the story told for the first time in Analog Days, a book that explores the invention of the synthesizer and its impact on popular culture.
The authors take us back to the heady days of the 1960s and early 1970s, when the technology was analog, the synthesizer was an experimental instrument, and synthesizer concerts could and did turn into happenings. Interviews with the pioneers who determined what the synthesizer would be and how it would be used--from inventors Robert Moog and Don Buchla to musicians like Brian Eno, Pete Townshend, and Keith Emerson--recapture their visions of the future of electronic music and a new world of sound.
Tracing the development of the Moog synthesizer from its initial conception to its ascension to stardom in Switched-On Bach, from its contribution to the San Francisco psychedelic sound, to its wholesale adoption by the worlds of film and advertising, Analog Days conveys the excitement, uncertainties, and unexpected consequences of a new technology that would provide the soundtrack for a critical chapter of our cultural history.
As the 1970s gave way to the 80s, New York's party scene entered a ferociously inventive period characterized by its creativity, intensity, and hybridity. Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor chronicles this tumultuous time, charting the sonic and social eruptions that took place in the city’s subterranean party venues as well as the way they cultivated breakthrough movements in art, performance, video, and film. Interviewing DJs, party hosts, producers, musicians, artists, and dancers, Tim Lawrence illustrates how the relatively discrete post-disco, post-punk, and hip hop scenes became marked by their level of plurality, interaction, and convergence. He also explains how the shifting urban landscape of New York supported the cultural renaissance before gentrification, Reaganomics, corporate intrusion, and the spread of AIDS brought this gritty and protean time and place in American culture to a troubled denouement.
We live in an electronic world, saturated with electronic sounds. Yet, electronic sounds aren’t a new phenomenon; they have long permeated our sonic landscape. What began as the otherworldly sounds of the film score for the 1956 film Forbidden Planet and the rarefied, new timbres of Stockhausen’s Kontakte a few years later, is now a common soundscape in technology, media, and an array of musical genres and subgenres. More people than ever before can produce and listen to electronic music, from isolated experimenters, classical and jazz musicians, to rock musicians, sound recordists, and the newer generations of electronic musicians making hip-hop, house, techno, and ambient music. Increasingly we are listening to electronic sounds, finding new meanings in them, experimenting with them, and rehearing them as listeners and makers.
Live Wires explores how five key electronic technologies—the tape recorder, circuit, computer, microphone, and turntable—revolutionized musical thought. Featuring the work of major figures in electronic music—including everyone from Schaeffer, Varèse, Xenakis, Babbitt, and Oliveros to Eno, Keith Emerson, Grandmaster Flash, Juan Atkins, and Holly Herndon—Live Wires is an arresting discussion of the powerful musical ideas that are being recycled, rethought, and remixed by the most interesting electronic composers and musicians today.
Pink Noises brings together twenty-four interviews with women in electronic music and sound cultures, including club and radio DJs, remixers, composers, improvisers, instrument builders, and installation and performance artists. The collection is an extension of Pinknoises.com, the critically-acclaimed website founded by musician and scholar Tara Rodgers in 2000 to promote women in electronic music and make information about music production more accessible to women and girls. That site featured interviews that Rodgers conducted with women artists, exploring their personal histories, their creative methods, and the roles of gender in their work. This book offers new and lengthier interviews, a critical introduction, and resources for further research and technological engagement.
Contemporary electronic music practices are illuminated through the stories of women artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. They include the creators of ambient soundscapes, “performance novels,” sound sculptures, and custom software, as well as the developer of the Deep Listening philosophy and the founders of the Liquid Sound Lounge radio show and the monthly Basement Bhangra parties in New York. These and many other artists open up about topics such as their conflicted relationships to formal music training and mainstream media representations of women in electronic music. They discuss using sound to work creatively with structures of time and space, and voice and language; challenge distinctions of nature and culture; question norms of technological practice; and balance their needs for productive solitude with collaboration and community. Whether designing and building modular synthesizers with analog circuits or performing with a wearable apparatus that translates muscle movements into electronic sound, these artists expand notions of who and what counts in matters of invention, production, and noisemaking. Pink Noises is a powerful testimony to the presence and vitality of women in electronic music cultures, and to the relevance of sound to feminist concerns.
Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. Cultural liberation and musical innovation. Pyrotechnics, bottle service, bass drops, and molly.
Electronic dance music has been a vital force for more than three decades now, and has undergone transformation upon transformation as it has taken over the world. In this searching, lyrical account of dance music culture worldwide, Matthew Collin takes stock of its highest highs and lowest lows across its global trajectory. Through firsthand reportage and interviews with clubbers and DJs, Collin documents the itinerant musical form from its underground beginnings in New York, Chicago, and Detroit in the 1980s, to its explosions in Ibiza and Berlin, to today’s mainstream music scenes in new frontiers like Las Vegas, Shanghai, and Dubai. Collin shows how its dizzying array of genres—from house, techno, and garage to drum and bass, dubstep, and psytrance—have given voice to locally specific struggles. For so many people in so many different places, electronic dance music has been caught up in the search for free cultural space: forming the soundtrack to liberation for South African youth after Apartheid; inspiring a psychedelic party culture in Israel; offering fleeting escape from—and at times into—corporatization in China; and even undergirding a veritable “independent republic” in a politically contested slice of the former Soviet Union.
Full of admiration for the possibilities the music has opened up all over the world, Collin also unflinchingly probes where this utopianism has fallen short, whether the culture maintains its liberating possibilities today, and where it might go in the future.
In recent decades, experimental music has flourished outside of European and American concert halls. The principles of indeterminacy, improvisation, nonmusical sound, and noise, pioneered in concert and on paper by the likes of Henry Cowell, John Cage, and Ornette Coleman, can now be found in all kinds of new places: activist films, rock recordings, and public radio broadcasts, not to mention in avant-garde movements around the world.
The contributors to Tomorrow Is the Question explore these previously unexamined corners of experimental music history, considering topics such as Sonic Youth, Julius Eastman, the Downtown New York pop avant-garde of the 1970s, Fluxus composer Benjamin Patterson, Tokyo’s Music group (aka Group Ongaku), the Balinese avant-garde, the Leicester school of British experimentalists, Cuba’s Grupo de Experimentación Sonora del ICAIC, Pauline Oliveros’s score for the feminist documentary Maquilapolis, NPR’s 1980s RadioVisions, and the philosophy of experimental musical aesthetics.
Taken together, this menagerie of people, places, and things makes up an actually existing experimentalism that is always partial, compromised, and invented in its local and particular formations—in other words, these individual cases suggest that experimentalism has been a far more variegated set of practices and discourses than previously recognized. Asking new questions leads to researching new materials, new individuals, and new contexts and, eventually, to the new critical paradigms that are necessary to interpret these materials. Gathering contributions from historical musicology, enthnomusicology, history, philosophy, and cultural studies, Tomorrow Is the Question generates future research directions in experimental music studies by way of a productive inquiry that sustains and elaborates critical conversations.