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This small, striking book commemorates the career of experimental music composer Alvin Lucier, and features an interview with Lucier and curator Andrea Miller-Keller, essays by Nicolas Collins, Ronald Kuivila, Michael Roth and Pamela Tatge, and details of a symposium, exhibit and special performances of Lucier's work held at Wesleyan University, November 4-6, 2011. Lucier has pioneered in many areas of music composition and performance, including the notation of performers' physical gestures, the use of brain waves in live performance, the generation of visual imagery by sound in vibrating media, and the evocation of room acoustics for musical purposes. From 1970 to 2011 he taught at Wesleyan University where he was John Spencer Camp Professor of Music. Lucier performs, lectures and exhibits his sound installations extensively in the United States, Europe and Asia.
An Oral History of ESP-Disk', the Most Outrageous Record Label in America
In 1964, Bernard Stollman launched the independent record label ESP-Disk' (short for "Esperanto Disko") in New York City to document the free jazz movement there, beginning with iconic saxophonist Albert Ayler. A bare-bones enterprise, ESP was in the right place at the right time, producing albums by artists like Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Giuseppi Logan, and Patty Waters. Soon the label broadened its catalog, including recordings by folk-rock bands like The Fugs and Pearls Before Swine, as well as Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, and Charles Manson. But the label quickly ran into difficulties and, due to the politically subversive nature of some productions and sloppy business practices, it folded in 1974. The story of ESP-Disk' is told through a multitude of voices--first by Stollman, as he recounts the improbable life of the label, and then by many of the artists involved. The result is a fascinating account of the music and the times. Includes interviews with Amiri Baraka, Gato Barbieri, Milford Graves, Roswell Rudd, Sirone, Sonny Simmons, James Zitro, Tom Rapp, Sunny Murray, and many more.
Race, Ethnicity, and the Civic Culture
Do recent changes in American law and politics mean that our national motto -- e pluribus unum -- is at last becoming a reality? Lawrence H. Fuchs searches for answers to this question by examining the historical patterns of American ethnicity and the ways in which a national political culture has evolved to accommodate ethnic diversity. Fuchs looks first at white European immigrants, showing how most of them and especially their children became part of a unifying political culture. He also describes the ways in which systems of coercive pluralism kept persons of color from fully participating in the civic culture. He documents the dismantling of those systems and the emergence of a more inclusive and stronger civic culture in which voluntary pluralism flourishes.
In comparing past patterns of ethnicity in America with those of today, Fuchs finds reasons for optimism. Diversity itself has become a unifying principle, and Americans now celebrate ethnicity. One encouraging result is the acculturation of recent immigrants from Third World countries. But Fuchs also examines the tough issues of racial and ethnic conflict and the problems of the ethno-underclass, the new outsiders. The American Kaleidoscope ends with a searching analysis of public policies that protect individual rights and enable ethnic diversity to prosper.
Because of his lifelong involvement with issues of race relations and ethnicity, Lawrence H. Fuchs is singularly qualified to write on a grand scale about the interdependence in the United States of the unum and the pluribus. His book helps to clarify some difficult issues that policymakers will surely face in the future, such as those dealing with immigration, language, and affirmative action.
Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme”
The American Shore: Meditations on a Tale of Science Fiction by Thomas M. Disch—“Angouleme” was first published in 1978 to the intense interest of science fiction readers and the growing community of SF scholars. Recalling Nabokov’s commentary on Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, Roland Barthes’ commentary on Balzac’s Sarazine, and Grabinier’s reading of The Heart of Hamlet, this book-length essay helped prove the genre worthy of serious investigation. The American Shore is the third in a series of influential critical works by Samuel R. Delany, beginning with The Jewel-Hinged Jaw and Starboard Wine, first published in the late seventies and reissued over the last five years by Wesleyan University Press, which helped win Delany a Pilgrim Award for Science Fiction Scholarship from the Science Fiction Research Association of America. This edition includes the author’s corrected text as well as a new introduction by Delany scholar Matthew Cheney.
Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria
How does a Middle Eastern community create a modern image through its expression of heritage and authenticity? In Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria, Jonathan H. Shannon investigates expressions of authenticity in Syria's musical culture, which is particularly known for embracing and preserving the Arab musical tradition, and which has seldom been researched in depth by Western scholars. Music plays a key role in the process of self-imaging by virtue of its ability to convey feeling and emotion, and Shannon explores a variety of performance genres, Sufi rituals, song lyrics, melodic modes, and aesthetic criteria. Shannon shows that although the music may evoke the old, the traditional, and the local, these are re-envisioned as signifiers of the modern national profile. A valuable contribution to the study of music and identity and to the ethnomusicology of the modern Middle East, Among the Jasmine Trees details this music and its reception for the first time, offering an original theoretical framework for understanding contemporary Arab culture, music, and society.
New York City-January 1998
"That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have." This quote from Henry David Thoreau's Essay on Civil Disobedience is one of thirty quotations from which John Cage created Anarchy, a book-length lecture comprising twenty mesostic poems. Composed with the aid of a computer program to simulate the coin toss of the I Ching, Anarchy draws on the writings of many serious anarchists including Emma Goldman, Peter Kropotkin, and Mario Malatesta, not so much making arguments for anarchism as "brushing information against information," giving the very words new combinations that de-familiarize and re-energize them. Now widely available of the first time, Anarchy marks the culmination of Cage's work as a poet, composer and as a thinker about contemporary society.
Discourse, Ecology, and Reconnection with the Natural World
Animals are disappearing, vanishing, and dying out--not just in the physical sense of becoming extinct, but in the sense of being erased from our consciousness. Increasingly, interactions with animals happen at a remove: mediated by nature programs, books, and cartoons; framed by the enclosures of zoos and aquariums; distanced by the museum cases that display lifeless bodies. In this thought-provoking book, Arran Stibbe takes us on a journey of discovery, revealing the many ways in which language affects our relationships with animals and the natural world. Animal-product industry manuals, school textbooks, ecological reports, media coverage of environmental issues, and animal-rights polemics all commonly portray animals as inanimate objects or passive victims. In his search for an alternative to these negative forms of discourse, Stibbe turns to the traditional culture of Japan. Within Zen philosophy, haiku poetry, and even contemporary children's animated films, animals appear as active agents, leading their own lives for their own purposes, and of value in themselves.
Resonant Pasts in the Toba Batak Musical Present
Positioned on a major trade route, the Toba Batak people of Sumatra have long witnessed the ebb and flow of cultural influence from India, the Middle East, and the West. Living as ethnic and religious minorities within modern Indonesia, Tobas have recast this history of difference through interpretations meant to strengthen or efface the identities it has shaped. Antiphonal Histories examines Toba musical performance as a legacy of global history, and a vital expression of local experience. This intriguingly constructed ethnography searches the palm liquor stand and the sanctuary to show how Toba performance manifests its many histories through its “local music”—Lutheran brass band hymns, gong-chime music sacred to Shiva, and Jimmie Rodgers yodeling. Combining vivid narrative, wide-ranging historical research, and personal reflections, Antiphonal Histories traces the musical trajectories of the past to show us how the global is manifest in the performative moment.