- Tara Rodgers: Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound
Tara Rodgers (a.k.a. Analog Tara) is a musician, composer, and author. Her book Pink Noises is the outgrowth of a Web site (www.pinknoises.com/) that she started in 2000 to promote women working in electronic music as DJs, re-mixers, composers, improvisers, instrument builders, and installation and performance artists. The intent of the Web site was to offer informative discussions about electronic music production methods, and to create an on-line community to discuss issues of music and gender.
The book is organized into an Introduction followed by six parts, each part consisting of four interviews with female artists conducted by the author. The author states that the parts “are organized thematically because juxtapositions of genre and generation can reveal how sound and audio technologies connect otherwise divergent experiences” (p. 5). Part 1, Time and Memory, includes interviews with Pauline Oliveros, Kaffe Matthews, Carla Scaletti, and Eliane Radigue. Part 2, Space and Perspective, features interviews with Maggi Payne, Ikue Mori, Beth Coleman (M. Singe), and Maria Chavez. Part 3, Nature and Synthetics, contains interviews with Christina Kubisch, Annea Lockwood, Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix), and Jessica Rylan. Circulations and Movement, Part 4, features Susan Morabito, Rekha Malhotra (DJ Rekha), Guilia Loli (DJ Mutamassik), and Jeannie Hopper. Part 5, Language, Machines, Embodiment, has discussions with Antye Greie (AGF), Pamela Z, Laetitia Sonami, and Bevin Kelley (Blevin Blectum). And lastly, Part 6, Alone/Together, contains interviews with the band Le Tigre, Bev Stanton (Arthur Loves Plastic), Keiko Uenishi (o.blaat), and Riz Maslen (Neotropic). Although the author does not explain the relationships between the artists within each part, she does describe, at the beginning of each part, why each artist loosely fits the content of each interview. A brief artist biography precedes each interview.
The author’s Introduction begins with a self-illuminating discourse of her entrée into electronic music. She reaches back through her family lineage to construct a historical path that seemingly validates her interest in the field. The essence of the introduction clearly establishes issues of music and gender but seems devoid of a theoretical framework that motivates a compelling need [End Page 102] for this collection of 24 interviews. The author’s choice of references, profuse yet lacking in diligent research, favors a militant feminism that imparts an overall impression of women as victims of society. It’s as if the self-conscious voice of the author embodies the audience for whom the book was written. The author’s discourse, claiming female exclusion in the field of electronic music dating back to the Futurists, creates a stark contradiction of an inclusive community by excluding men in this feminist dialogue. The author’s choice of interviewing only female artists suggests a dated and regressive perspective that only women can speak of women’s issues. Sadly, this Introduction, though well written, serves to polarize the sexes while remainng oblivious to the issues of privilege and class characteristic of developed countries. She aggravates the open wounds of gender discrimination without offering a healing remedy that advances understanding and creativity through a dialogue of mutual respect.
Why a particular artist is included in this book seems to be related to either the author’s professional interaction with, or personal admiration for, the artist. All of the artists are musically active in developed countries, namely, the USA, UK, France, Germany, Finland, and Japan, and as such, represent contemporary views that are oftentimes associated with the cultural underpinnings of developed-world post-feminism. In many of the interviews, the author pursues a cursory exploration of issues of gender imbalance or discrimination in electronic music. The artists’ responses cover the gamut from strategies to increase participation by women and girls, and the importance of single...