Kees Tazelaar: On the Threshold of Beauty: Philips and the Origins of Electronic Music in the Netherlands, 1925-1965 (2013–)

16 November 2020, dusan

“The first studio for electronic music in the Netherlands was not a radio studio — as in so many other countries — it was located at the research laboratory of Philips (also known at NatLab). From 1930 it had been part of the electro-acoustic research program which combined technical, economic, sociologic and musical aspects. The first compositions realized in the Philips studio were thus test-cases. Parallel to this research, other departments of Philips, purely focused at marketing, developed plans for the Philips Pavilion at the World Expo of 1958 at Brussels. Philips planned a demonstration for the general public of the possibilities of sound and light, but through the engagement of Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis and Edgar Varèse this project took a strong turn towards the avant-garde. The result, now considered a milestone in the history of electronic music, was in many ways more experimental than the music produced at the Philips research laboratory.

The story of electronic music at the Philips research laboratory and the Philips Pavilion are the first two main strands of the book On the Threshold of Beauty, in which Kees Tazelaar for the first time unravels the course of events, and debunks some of the myths around the Philips Pavilion. A third historical strand concerns the needs of composers, who desired to learn how to compose in the new medium. In 1957 Walter Maas and the CEM set up an electronic studio at the Technical University of Delft for this purpose, which fused with the Philips studio in 1960, and afterwards moved to the University of Utrecht. Tazelaar writes about the works realized at this studio (STEM), as well as about the activities of the ground-breaking German composer Gottfried Michael Koenig who comes to the Netherlands in 1961 and in 1964 takes over the direction of STEM.”

Publisher V2_, Rotterdam, 2013
Revised digital edition, 2020
Open access
ISBN 9789462080652, 9462080658
314 pages
HT Raviv

Reviews: René van Peer (Eindhovens Dagblad, NL, 2013), Hubert Steins (MusikTexte, 2014, DE), Maarten Brandt (OpusKlassiek, NL, 2014), Aurelio Cianciotta (Neural, 2014), Gregory Taylor (Cycling74, 2015).

Book website
Publisher
Publisher (digital edition)
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (19 MB)

John Cage: A Mycological Foray – Variations on Mushrooms, 2 vols. (1972/2020)

26 June 2020, dusan

John Cage: A Mycological Foray draws readers across the idiosyncratic, mushroom-suffused, innermost landscape of celebrated American composer John Cage. Upon the remarkable journey with Cage, one encounters assorted photographs, compositions, and contemplations; all in the very same unexpected fashion one encounters various flora and fungi species while mushroom foraging.

Volume I encompasses Cage’s mycological-oriented Indeterminacy stories, Diary excerpts, and essays; and the complete transcript of Cage’s 1983 performance, MUSHROOMS et Variationes.”

Volume II offers the inaugural reproduction of Cage’s 1972 portfolio, Mushroom Book, printed in 1972 in the limited run of 75 copies. The book is a study of fifteen different species of mushrooms, and each folio includes Cage’s poetry, sketches, and drawings (placed on the page by chance operations); scientific information about the mushrooms by Alexander H. Smith; and botanical illustrations by Lois Long.

John Cage: A Mycological Foray is developed in collaboration with the John Cage Trust.

With essay by Kingston Trinder and texts by Isabelle Bucklow.

Edited by Ananda Pellerin
Publisher Atelier Éditions, New York, 2020
ISBN 1733622004, 9781733622004
224 pages
via Alexandra Fanning, HT Georges Vantongerloo

Publisher

PDF (watermarked file from publisher’s Dropbox, contains both volumes; no longer available as of 2 July 2020)

From Xenakis’s UPIC to Graphic Notation Today (2020)

26 April 2020, dusan

“In the late 1970s, an interdisciplinary team led by the composer Iannis Xenakis developed the UPIC (Unité Polyagogique Informatique CEMAMu) out of an effort to transform drawings into synthesized sound. The composers can draw waveforms and envelopes straight onto an electronic tablet interface and translate them into sound through the computer. The revolution in graphic composition triggered by Iannis Xenakis and carried forward by other established computer musicians such as Jean-Claude Risset or Curtis Roads continues forty years later in modern computer programs.”

“Together with the Centre Iannis Xenakis, the ZKM is now addressing the genesis of this unique computational instrument and traces its technical, social, institutional, and educational significance up to the current practice of contemporary composers.”

Contributors: Richard Barrett, Rodolphe Bourotte, Pierre Couprie, Cyrille Delhaye, Alain Després, Julio Estrada, Kiyoshi Furukawa, Rudolf Frisius, Hughes Genevois, Kosmas Giannoutakis, Dimitris Kamarotos, Henning Lohner, François-Bernard Mâche, Guy Médigue, Chikashi Miyama, Lukas Nowok, Gerard Pape, Marcin Pietruszewski, Brigitte Robindoré, Julia Rommel, Julian Scordato, Takehito Shimazu, Victoria Simon, Andrey Smirnov, Ronald Squibbs, Katerina Tsioukra, Peter Weibel.

Edited by Peter Weibel, Ludger Brümmer and Sharon Kanach
Publisher Hatje Cantz, Berlin, and ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2020
Open access
ISBN 9783775747417, 3775747419
672 pages

Publisher
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (12 MB)
Audio samples and additional archive material