Hugh Davies: Sounds Heard: A Potpourri of Environmental Projects and Documentation, Projects with Children, Simple Musical Instruments, Sound Installations, Verbal Scores, and Historical Perspectives (2002)

8 April 2021, dusan

Sounds Heard is not only a collection of writings intended for people who are interested or involved in contemporary music, especially those performers – including children – who lack a formal musical training. It also charts a wide cross-section of the activities of an intriguing musical personality. At different times in Hugh Davies’ nearly 40 year career he has been variously described as “the world’s leading electromusicologist”, “the most informed person around on the general subject of new instruments”, “unique English composer”, “one of the most interesting instrument inventors of recent decades”, “the remarkable live-electronics ‘freak”‘, an “electronic wizard”, “a humanist” and “I have never seen any music teacher who is as fond of children as he is”. Do these really refer to only one person? Who is the real Hugh Davies? Why has his modesty prevented him from being better known?

This book focuses on many of Davies’ insights about working as an artist, a musician, a composer, a performer, an instrument inventor, an educator and a researcher. He takes nothing for granted, and there are always wider implications than his own immediate involvement. Even his more avantgarde scenarios are tempered with his “very British sense of humour”. Many of the different areas of experimental music since the 1960s are touched on, including electronic music, live electronics, invented instruments, sound sculpture, sound installations and free improvisation, in all of which he was one of the British pioneers.

The CD illustrates a cross-section of the themes covered in the book. As with most of Hugh Davies’ solo performances and recordings, no conventional instruments were used on the entire album, with the exception of one short piece in which existing music has been manipulated with tape techniques.” (from back cover)

Publisher Soundworld Publishers, Chelmsford, 2002
ISBN 1902440056, 9781902440057
124 pages

Publisher (archived)
WorldCat

PDF (29 MB)
Selections from accompanying CD

Cyber Folk: Digbee’s Electronic Chronicle (2019)

2 January 2020, dusan

Cyber Folk: Digbee’s Electronic Chronicle gives a thorough look into a unique, highly personal approach to musical electronic instrument building, an approach that is many things: naïve, enthusiastic, sincere, alien, and familiar. This strange future/primitive work journal contains the release of tons of data, beautiful photos, schematics, building techniques, and the inside stories behind many of Digbee’s most beloved instruments.

Also inside are artist features for Digbee’s favorite musical electronic practitioners. Within are never-before-published photos and stories of the work of Craig Anderton, Charles Cohen, Michael Johnsen, and Nautical Almanac’s Twig Harper and Carly Ptak.

Peppered throughout the book are examples of connected imagery from comic books and science fiction illustration.

This book was not written for a specific niche. Anyone with a curious mind and interest in musical electronics, experimental music, art, and craft will find a place of connection.

Cyber Folk: Digbee’s Electronic Chronicle is produced by Harpy Gallery and Selfish 60 Studio for the art exhibition entitled New American Instruments which was up from July 20th to August 10th, 2019.”

Publisher Harpy Gallery & Selfish 60 Studio, Rutherford, NJ, 2019
143 pages

Publisher

PDF (21 MB)

Thor Magnusson: Sonic Writing: Technologies of Material, Symbolic, and Signal Inscriptions (2019)

16 September 2019, dusan

Sonic Writing explores how contemporary music technologies trace their ancestry to previous forms of instruments and media. Studying the domains of instrument design, musical notation, and sound recording under the rubrics of material, symbolic, and signal inscriptions of sound, the book describes how these historical techniques of sonic writing are implemented in new digital music technologies. With a scope ranging from ancient Greek music theory, medieval notation, early modern scientific instrumentation to contemporary multimedia and artificial intelligence, it provides a theoretical grounding for further study and development of technologies of musical expression. The book draws a bespoke affinity and similarity between current musical practices and those from before the advent of notation and recording, stressing the importance of instrument design in the study of new music and projecting how new computational technologies, including machine learning, will transform our musical practices.

Sonic Writing offers a richly illustrated study of contemporary musical media, where interactivity, artificial intelligence, and networked devices disclose new possibilities for musical expression. Thor Magnusson provides a conceptual framework for the creation and analysis of this new musical work, arguing that contemporary sonic writing becomes a new form of material and symbolic design–one that is bound to be ephemeral, a system of fluid objects where technologies are continually redesigned in a fast cycle of innovation.”

Publisher Bloomsbury Academic, New York & London, 2019
ISBN 9781501313851, 1501313851
xiv+290 pages

Reviews: Gregory Taylor (Cycling ’74, 2019), Diana Chester (Interference, 2019).

Author’s research blog
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF
EPUB