Frode Weium, Tim Boon (eds.): Material Culture and Electronic Sound (2013)

5 June 2019, dusan

“This eighth volume of the Artefacts series explores how material culture has affected music and sound. Technological innovations in music that were originally created to solve existing problems have ended up expanding the range of what can be done musically and changing the landscape of music. Boon and Weium present a collection of essays exploring technological innovations and their effects on musical culture. Contributors include composers, performers, musicologists, and scientists, providing diverse insights into the nature of music.”

Foreword by Brian Eno
Publisher Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, Washington, DC, 2013
Artefacts: Studies in the History of Science and Technology series, 8
ISBN 1944466088, 9781944466084
xvii+293 pages


PDF (30 MB)

Curtis Roads: Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic (2015)

8 July 2018, dusan

“Electronic music evokes new sensations, feelings, and thoughts in both composers and listeners. Opening the door to an unlimited universe of sound, it engages spatialization as an integral aspect of composition and focuses on sound transformation as a core structural strategy. In this new domain, pitch occurs as a flowing and ephemeral substance that can be bent, modulated, or dissolved into noise. Similarly, time occurs not merely as a fixed duration subdivided by ratios, but as a plastic medium that can be generated, modulated, reversed, warped, scrambled, and granulated. Envelope and waveform undulations on all time scales interweave to generate form. The power of algorithmic methods amplify the capabilities of music technology. Taken together, these constitute game-changing possibilities.

This convergence of technical and aesthetic trends prompts the need for a new text focused on the opportunities of a sound oriented, multiscale approach to composition of electronic music. Sound oriented means a practice that takes place in the presence of sound. Multiscale means an approach that takes into account the perceptual and physical reality of multiple, interacting time scales-each of which can be composed. After more than a century of research and development, now is an appropriate moment to step back and reevaluate all that has changed under the ground of artistic practice.

Composing Electronic Music outlines a new theory of composition based on the toolkit of electronic music techniques. The theory consists of a framework of concepts and a vocabulary of terms describing musical materials, their transformation, and their organization. Central to this discourse is the notion of narrative structure in composition-how sounds are born, interact, transform, and die. It presents a guidebook: a tour of facts, history, commentary, opinions, and pointers to interesting ideas and new possibilities to consider and explore.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2015
ISBN 9780195373233, 0195373235
xxvii+480 pages

Reviews: Nick Collins (Music and Letters, 2016), Gregory Taylor (Cycling74, 2016), Warren Burt (SoundBytes, 2016).


PDF (24 MB)
Companion website

David Novak: Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (2013)

12 November 2017, dusan

Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.

For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called ‘Japanoise.’ But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?

In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the ‘cultural feedback’ that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, 2013
Sign, Storage, Transmission series
Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 License
ISBN 9780822353799, 0822353792
x+292 pages
via author

Reviews: Shaun McKenna (Japan Times, 2013), Scott McLemee (Inside Higher Ed, 2013), Nana Kaneko (Ethnomusicology Rev, 2014), Andrés García Molina (Current Musicology, 2014), Max Ritts (Society+Space, 2014), Jonathan Service (Japan Forum, 2014), Rosemary Overell (Perfect Beat, 2014), Patrick Valiquet (Popular Musicology, 2014), Owen Coggins (Harts & Minds, 2014), Seth Mulliken (Sounding Out!, 2014), E. Taylor Atkins (Asian Music, 2015), Shelina Brown (Notes, 2015), Jennifer Milioto Matsue (Am Anthropologist, 2015), Carolyn S. Stevens (Am Ethnologist, 2015), Christopher Tonelli (Sound Studies, 2016), Benjamin Harley (Enculturation, 2016), Etienne RP (2017).

Book website, with supplemental media