On Listening. Edited by Angus Carlyle and Cathy Lane. On Listening provides a broad cross-disciplinary map of the sound world, through forty short essays, each a brief introduction to an aspect of listening. The essay on underwater sound introduces the field of marine bioacoustics and describes elements of physics that determine the conduct of[...] Read more

Books Gayle Young Issue 119

Bart Plantenga. Yodel in Hi-Fi, From Kitsch Folk to Contemporary Electronica. Yodelling is one of those “always wanted to know but were afraid to ask” topics. While deejaying at the independent New Jersey radio station WFMU, music writer Bart Plantenga stumbled upon a staggering variety of people engaging in yodelling. He discovered that the technique had[...] Read more

Books René van Peer Issue 117

Christof Migone. Sonic Somatic: Performances of the Unsound Body. / Fingering. It comes as no surprise that the first word of Sonic Somatic is “Merdre!” Migone has long been a purveyor of bodily functions, putting out recordings of knuckle-cracks (Crackers, 1999), collected bottles of spit (Spit, 1997–1999), and crassly named music projects (Fingering,[...] Read more

Books Chris Kennedy Issue 116

Daniela Cascella. En Abîme: Listening, Reading, Writing (An archival fiction). Daniela Cascella’s En Abîme is a fascinating consideration of the art of writing about sound—the process of listening and re-listening and responding to what one has heard. The result of a moment of crisis, when Cascella’s ten years of writing seemed to her to carry[...] Read more

Books Chris Kennedy Issue 115

Kay Larson. Where The Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Inner Life of Artists. How very different the Western art world might have been—the structure of ideas, certainly, but also the structure of emotions, the hierarchy of belief—without the arrival in New York City in 1950 of a Japanese man who was “barely over five feet tall, and almost invariably[...] Read more

Books Andrew Hamlin Issue 114

R. Murray Schafer. My Life on Earth and Elsewhere. In his latest book, Schafer describes a composition as “a multicultural event in which we laugh at ourselves and each other.” It’s a good description for the memoir itself: its scope is vast, but its tone is irreverent, lighthearted. Schafer does nothing here to dispel his[...] Read more

Books Issue 113

Linda Jansma and Carsten Seiffarth, eds. Gordon Monahan: Seeing Sound: Sound Art, Performance and Music, 1978–2011. If there is one life-changing moment in the career of the Canadian composer, performer, and sound artist Gordon Monahan, it may well have been his encounter—and eventual partnership—with Laura Kikauka. Leafing through the monograph Seeing Sound, which spans over thirty years of[...] Read more

Books René van Peer Issue 113

Burkhard Beins, Christian Kesten, Gisela Nauck, Andrea Neumann, eds. Echtzeitmusik Berlin: Self-Defining a Scene. Echtzeitmusik Berlin: Self-Defining a Scene is a welcome and expansive document on the improvised music scene in Berlin. The term “echtzeitmusik,” which translates into “real-time music,” is the current working description for the type of music practiced by such[...] Read more

Books Chris Kennedy Issue 113

Brandon LaBelle and Cládia Martinho, Editors. Site of Sound: Of Architecture and the Ear, Vol. 2. Site of Sound Volume 2 follows a decade after the first volume, a period in time that has seen an increase in the activity of artists working with both sound and architecture. As LaBelle points out in the preface, the decade has also seen more discussion about the idea of the public and of[...] Read more

Books Chris Kennedy Issue 112

Daniel Kernohan, Editor. Music is Rapid Transportation... From The Beatles to Xenakis. I’m an avid music collector with wildly eclectic tastes, and this book spoke to me like few books have before. I instantly connected with the accounts by the seven individuals involved in the project. In the book’s first section, music enthusiasts and contributors Lawrence Joseph[...] Read more

Books François Couture Issue 110

Franya J. Berkman. Monument Eternal: The Music of Alice Coltrane. In the five years before her death in 2007, Alice Coltrane was subject to a considerable critical reappraisal. The release of her back catalogue on CD and the live performances she gave with her son Ravi Coltrane in support of her 2003 album Translinear Light seemed to arrive at just the[...] Read more

Books Chris Kennedy Issue 110

Tara Rodgers, Editor. Pink Noises: Women On Electronic Music And Sound. Tara Rodgers, a.k.a. Analog Tara, remarks in her introduction to Pink Noises, that the world finds it all too possible to assemble “a historical narrative of electronic music” along “patrilineal” lines, where the best that a female working in the field could expect[...] Read more

Books Andrew Hamlin Issue 109