Christopher Dunn: Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture (2001)
Filed under book | Tags: · brazil, counterculture, cultural history, music, music criticism, music history, tropicalia
“In the late 1960s, Brazilian artists forged a watershed cultural movement known as Tropicália. Music inspired by that movement is today enjoying considerable attention at home and abroad. Few new listeners, however, make the connection between this music and the circumstances surrounding its creation, the most violent and repressive days of the military regime that governed Brazil from 1964 to 1985. With key manifestations in theater, cinema, visual arts, literature, and especially popular music, Tropicália dynamically articulated the conflicts and aspirations of a generation of young, urban Brazilians.
Focusing on a group of musicians from Bahia, an impoverished state in northeastern Brazil noted for its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, Christopher Dunn reveals how artists including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Tom Zé created this movement together with the musical and poetic vanguards of São Paulo, Brazil’s most modern and industrialized city. He shows how the tropicalists selectively appropriated and parodied cultural practices from Brazil and abroad in order to expose the fissure between their nation’s idealized image as a peaceful tropical “garden” and the daily brutality visited upon its citizens.”
Publisher University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 2001
ISBN 0807849766, 9780807849767
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Filed under book | Tags: · biography, electronic music, music, music history, politics
“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
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Douglas Kahn, Gregory Whitehead (eds.): Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio, and the Avant-Garde (1992)
Filed under book | Tags: · art history, audio art, avant-garde, dada, futurism, music, music history, phonograph, radio, radio art, sound, sound art, surrealism
“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
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