Kyle Gann. No Such Thing As Silence: John Cage’s 4'33". Cage never used absolute silence. In the beginning (his beginning, at least), such matters did not concern him—and concern with the earlier, less-notorious John Cage forms just one part of Kyle Gann’s fascinating study of Cage’s best-known composition.  [...] Read more

Books Andrew Hamlin Issue 109

Cathy Lane, ed. Playing With Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice.   “There are no more powerful things in the world than words,” says Laurie Anderson in an interview with editor Cathy Lane in Playing With Words, where the primacy of language in art and politics is discussed in a clear and compelling manner.   With over thirty-[...] Read more

Books Deanna Radford Issue 107

Tim Lawrence. Hold On To Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973–1992.   As the result of a string of reissues at the beginning of 2004, Arthur Russell has risen to posthumous prominence as a ravenous pluralist and unsung innovator who did not achieve due recognition prior to his untimely death from AIDS in 1992. With each re-pressing or unreleased gem it[...] Read more

Books Nick Storring Issue 107

Stuart Broomer. Time and Anthony Braxton.   Stuart Broomer knows Anthony Braxton. He has listened to the American composer and multi-instrumentalist’s music from the beginning, attended concerts by him since the early 1970s, written about the musician many times, and over the years interviewed Braxton on many occasions[...] Read more

Books Ken Waxman Issue 107

Iannis Xenakis. Translated by Sharon Kanach. Music and Architecture.   It is commonly known that Iannis Xenakis was more than a composer; that he studied engineering rather than composition; that he worked for Le Corbusier as an architectural assistant; that he taught himself computer programming in order to create composition algorithms, new methods for[...] Read more

Books James Harley Issue 106

Seth Kim-Cohen. In the Blink of An Ear: Toward a Non-Cochlear Sonic Art.   It’s happened more often than I’d like to admit that I will read the artist statement of a sonic work and be disappointed in its dated ideas. The odd time I’ve ever engaged in debate with a sonic artist I have usually been astonished by the gulf between current visual[...] Read more

Books Laura Paolini Issue 106

Heidi Grundmann, Elisabeth Zimmerman, Reinhard Braun, Dieter Daniels, An-dreas Hirsch, & Anne Thurman-Jajes eds. Re-Inventing Radio; Aspects of Radio as Art.   “While the death of radio as a mass medium is once again being predicted as imminent, recent developments in transmission technology underline what has long been evident: radio is not about the transmission of sound but of signal.” So states this self proclaimed “[...] Read more

Books Allison Cameron

Louise Gray. The No-Nonsense Guide To World Music.   At a mere 167 pages, this little guide might justifiably raise suspicions about exactly what nonsense was jettisoned to make this book so compact. While it is scanter on information than the books put out by Rough Guides, Gray’s guide offers a compelling issue-and-topic-driven[...] Read more

Books Nick Storring Issue 106

Diane C. Fujino, Editor. Wicked Theory, Naked Practice: A Fred Ho Reader.   Composer, bandleader and baritone saxophonist; theorist; revolutionary socialist, and Black-Asian-American, Fred Ho writes essays that are as uncompromising and defiant as his compositions.   This wide-ranging collection elucidates the evolution of his philosophy from 1984[...] Read more

Books Ken Waxman Issue 106

Robert Adlington, editor. Sound Commitments: Avant-Garde Music and the Sixties. “If you remember the ’60s, it means you weren’t there” is a cliché with a kernel of truth in it—especially the insistence that rock sounds then subsumed other music. Yet the ’60s also saw mass acceptance of new and electronic music, while jazz[...] Read more

Books Ken Waxman Issue 106

Paul Steenhuisen. Sonic Mosaics. Conversations with Composers. Sonic Mosaics is a collection of interviews conducted by Paul Steenhuisen with thirty-two contemporary music composers between September 2001 and November 2004. Most of these were originally published in Wholenote Magazine, a monthly Toronto publication covering all aspects of musical[...] Read more

Books Allison Cameron Issue 105