MicroBionic: Radical Electronic Music and Sound Art in the 21st Century: revised and expanded 2nd Edition

Belsona Books Ltd.
25

Micro Bionic is an exciting survey of electronic music and sound art from cultural critic and mixed-media artist Thomas Bey William Bailey. This superior revised edition includes all of the original supplements neglected by the publishers of the first edition, including a full index, bibliography, additional notes / commentary and an updated discography. As the title suggests, the unifying theme of the book is that of musicians and sound artists taking bold leaps forward in spite of (or sometimes because of) their financial, technological, and social restrictions. Some symptoms of this condition include the gigantic discography amassed by the one-man project Merzbow, the drama of silence enacted by onkyo and New Berlin Minimalism, the annihilating noise transmitted from the humble laptop computers of Russell Haswell and Peter Rehberg and much more besides. Although the journey begins in the Industrial 1980s, in order to trace how the innovations of that period have gained greater currency in the present, it surveys a wide array of artists breaking ground in the 21st century with radical attitudes and techniques. A healthy amount of global travel and concentrated listening have combined to make this a sophisticated yet accessible document, unafraid to explore both the transgressive extremes of this culture and the more deftly concealed interstices thereof. Part historical document, part survival manual for the marginalized electronic musician, part sociological investigation, Micro Bionic is a number of different things, and as such will likely generate a variety of reactions from inspiration to offense. Numerous exclusive interviews with leading lights of the field were also conducted for this book: William Bennett (Whitehouse), Peter Christopherson (r.i.p., Throbbing Gristle / Coil), Peter Rehberg, John Duncan, Francisco López, Carl Michael von Hausswolff, Bob Ostertag, Zbigniew Karkowski and many others weigh in with a diversity of thoughts and opinions that underscore the incredible diversity to be found within new electronic music itself.
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About the author

Working with a number of different communications media, Thomas Bey William Bailey's body of work interrogates notions of utopia, anthropocentrism, and "the extreme," while refusing to reject any unpopular cultural manifestation as invalid until its parameters have been fully mapped out and its more nuanced aspects brought to light. His writings have been published in numerous languages and in newsstand magazines (The Wire, HiS Voice, A2 Cultural Weekly, Plot) as well as the weblogs and online presences of arts and culture institutions (Rhizome.org, Vague Terrain, Perfect Sound Forever.) He has released numerous audio recordings under his name, and his lived and worked in Japan, Central Europe, Spain, and the United States. He is currently at work on a new title dealing with the cultural history of synesthesia.
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3.8
25 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Belsona Books Ltd.
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Published on
Dec 10, 2012
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Pages
418
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ISBN
9780615736624
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Best For
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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The integration of audible space is a central aspect of electroacoustic music. Ever since the earliest analogue days of electroacoustic music, pioneers of the genre - including Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Luigi Nono - used special devices and methods for their compositions and refined the possibilities of integrating the sound of space into music. In this anthology, analytical portraits of compositions and groups of compositions show the wide spectrum of spatial practices in early electroacoustic music. Additionally, retrospective views on the use of spatial composition in earlier epochs and in instrumental music of the 20th century portray the practice of spatial composition in different eras and genres, as well as the universality of spatial music as a topic. In this way the book contributes to a more differentiated understanding of the term »spatial music«. Die Integration des hörbaren Raums ist ein zentraler Aspekt der elektroakustischen Musik. Schon auf Basis der Analogtechnik entstanden spezielle Geräte und Verfahren, die Pioniere des Genres wie Pierre Schaeffer, Iannis Xenakis, Karlheinz Stockhausen oder Luigi Nono für ihre Vorstellungen von Raummusik heranzogen und weiter entwickelten. In diesem Band, der englisch- und deutschsprachige Beiträge gleichermaßen versammelt, zeigen analytische Portraits einzelner Kompositionen oder Kompositionsgruppen das breite Spektrum spatialer Praktiken in der frühen elektroakustischen Musik. Geschichtliche Rückblicke auf spatiale Kompositionsweisen früherer Epochen bis hin zur instrumentalen Musik des 20. Jahrhunderts stellen den epochen- und genrespezifischen Umgang mit Raum dar und belegen nicht nur die Universalität des Themas Raummusik, sondern leisten auch einen Beitrag zu deren begrifflicher Differenzierung.
Electronic music evokes new sensations, feelings, and thoughts in both composers and listeners. Opening the door to an unlimited universe of sound, it engages spatialization as an integral aspect of composition and focuses on sound transformation as a core structural strategy. In this new domain, pitch occurs as a flowing and ephemeral substance that can be bent, modulated, or dissolved into noise. Similarly, time occurs not merely as a fixed duration subdivided by ratios, but as a plastic medium that can be generated, modulated, reversed, warped, scrambled, and granulated. Envelope and waveform undulations on all time scales interweave to generate form. The power of algorithmic methods amplify the capabilities of music technology. Taken together, these constitute game-changing possibilities. This convergence of technical and aesthetic trends prompts the need for a new text focused on the opportunities of a sound oriented, multiscale approach to composition of electronic music. Sound oriented means a practice that takes place in the presence of sound. Multiscale means an approach that takes into account the perceptual and physical reality of multiple, interacting time scales-each of which can be composed. After more than a century of research and development, now is an appropriate moment to step back and reevaluate all that has changed under the ground of artistic practice. Composing Electronic Music outlines a new theory of composition based on the toolkit of electronic music techniques. The theory consists of a framework of concepts and a vocabulary of terms describing musical materials, their transformation, and their organization. Central to this discourse is the notion of narrative structure in composition-how sounds are born, interact, transform, and die. It presents a guidebook: a tour of facts, history, commentary, opinions, and pointers to interesting ideas and new possibilities to consider and explore.
"Industrial" is a descriptor that fans and critics have applied to a remarkable variety of music: the oildrum pounding of Einstürzende Neubauten, the processed electronic groans of Throbbing Gristle, the drumloop clatter of Skinny Puppy, and the synthpop songcraft of VNV Nation, to name just a few. But the stylistic breadth and subcultural longevity of industrial music suggests that the common ground here might not be any one particular sound, but instead a network of ideologies. This book traces industrial music's attitudes and practices from their earliest articulations--a hundred years ago--through the genre's mid-1970s formation and its development up to the present and beyond. Taking cues from radical intellectuals like Antonin Artaud, William S. Burroughs, and Guy Debord, industrial musicians sought to dismantle deep cultural assumptions so thoroughly normalized by media, government, and religion as to seem invisible. More extreme than punk, industrial music revolted against the very ideas of order and reason: it sought to strip away the brainwashing that was identity itself. It aspired to provoke, bewilder, and roar with independence. Of course, whether this revolution succeeded is another question... Assimilate is the first serious study published on industrial music. Through incisive discussions of musicians, audiences, marketers, cities, and songs, this book traces industrial values, methods, and goals across forty years of technological, political, and artistic change. A scholarly musicologist and a longtime industrial musician, S. Alexander Reed provides deep insight not only into the genre's history but also into its ambiguous relationship with symbols of totalitarianism and evil. Voicing frank criticism and affection alike, this book reveals the challenging and sometimes inspiring ways that industrial music both responds to and shapes the world. Assimilate is essential reading for anyone who has ever imagined limitless freedom, danced alone in the dark, or longed for more noise.
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