Albert Glinsky: Theremin: Ether Music and Espionage (2000)

15 November 2017, dusan

“Leon Theremin led a life of flamboyant musical invention laced with daring electronic stealth. A creative genius and prolific inventor, Theremin launched the field of electronic music virtually singlehandedly in 1920 with the musical instrument that bears his name. The theremin-–the only instrument that is played without being touched-–created a sensation worldwide and paved the way for the modern synthesizer. Its otherworldly sound became familiar in sci-fi films and even in rock music. This magical instrument that charmed millions, however, is only the beginning of the story.

As a Soviet scientist, Theremin surrendered his life and work to the service of State espionage. On assignment in Depression-era America, he became the toast of New York society and worked the engines of capitalist commerce while passing data on U.S. industrial technology to the Soviet apparat. Following his sudden disappearance from New York in 1938, Theremin was exiled to a Siberian labor camp and subsequently vanished into the top-secret Soviet intelligence machine, presumed dead for nearly thirty years. Using the same technology that lay behind the theremin, he designed bugging devices that eavesdropped on U.S. diplomatic offices and stood at the center of a pivotal cold war confrontation. Throughout his life, Theremin developed many other electronic wonders, including one of the earliest televisions and multimedia devices that anticipated performance art and virtual reality by decades.

In this first full biography of Leon Theremin, Albert Glinsky depicts the inventor’s nearly one hundred-year life span as a microcosm of the twentieth century. Theremin is seen at the epicenter of most of the major events of the century: the Russian Revolution, two world wars, America’s Great Depression, Stalin’s purges, the cold war, and perestroika. His life emerges as no less than a metaphor for the divergence of communism and capitalism.”

Foreword by Robert Moog
Publisher University of Illinois Press, 2000
ISBN 0252025822, 9780252025822
xvi+403+[30] pages

Reviews: Irina L.Vanechkina (Leonardo, 2001), Hans-Joachim Braun (Tech Cult, 2001), Mark Polishook (Notes, 2001), Ann Warde (Comp Music J, 2002), Kyle Gann (Am Music, 2003).

Author
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (138 MB, no OCR)

Douglas Kahn, Gregory Whitehead (eds.): Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde (1992)

13 November 2017, dusan

Wireless Imagination addresses perhaps the most conspicuous silence in contemporary theory and art criticism, the silence that surrounds the polyphonous histories of audio art. Composed of both original essays and several newly translated documents, this book provides a close audition to some of the most telling and soundful moments in the ‘deaf century,’ conceived and performed by such artists as Raymond Roussel, Antonin Artaud, Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, John Cage, Hugo Ball, Kurt Weill, and William Burroughs.

From the late nineteenth century to the 1960s, the essays uncover the fantastic acoustic scenarios projected through the writings of Raymond Roussel; the aural objects of Marcel Duchamp; Dziga Vertov’s proposal for a phonographic ‘laboratory of hearing’; the ZAUM language and Radio Sorcery conjured by Velimir Khlebnikov; the iconoclastic castaways of F.T. Marinetti’s La Radia; the destroyed musics of the Surrealists; the noise bands of Russolo, Foregger, Varèse, and Cage; the contorted radio talk show delivered by Antonin Artaud; the labyrinthine inner journeys invoked by German Hörspiel; and the razor contamination and cut-up ventriloquism of William S. Burroughs.”

With essays by Douglas Kahn, Charles Grivel, Craig Adcock, Christopher Schiff, Mel Gordon, Gregory Whitehead, Allen S. Weiss, Mark E. Cory, Frances Dyson, and Robin Lydenberg.

Publisher MIT Press, 1992
ISBN 0262111683, 9780262111683
xi+452 pages

Reviews: Timothy Dean Taylor (Postmodern Cult, 1993), David L. Austin (Art Doc, 1993), Gerald Hartnett (Leonardo Music J, 1994), Stephen Miles (Notes, 1994), Ágnes Ivacs (Artpool, n.d.).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (98 MB, no OCR)

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
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF, PDF (4 MB)