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Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and…

Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (edition 2008)

by Paul D. Miller (Editor)

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The role of sound and digital media in an information-based society: artists--from Steve Reich and Pierre Boulez to Chuck D and Moby--describe their work. If Rhythm Science was about the flow of things, Sound Unbound is about the remix--how music, art, and literature have blurred the lines between what an artist can do and what a composer can create. In Sound Unbound, Rhythm Science author Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid asks artists to describe their work and compositional strategies in their own words. These are reports from the front lines on the role of sound and digital media in an information-based society. The topics are as diverse as the contributors: composer Steve Reich offers a memoir of his life with technology, from tape loops to video opera; Miller himself considers sampling and civilization; novelist Jonathan Lethem writes about appropriation and plagiarism; science fiction writer Bruce Sterling looks at dead media; Ron Eglash examines racial signifiers in electrical engineering; media activist Naeem Mohaiemen explores the influence of Islam on hip hop; rapper Chuck D contributes "Three Pieces"; musician Brian Eno explores the sound and history of bells; Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno interview composer-conductor Pierre Boulez; and much more. "Press 'play,'" Miller writes, "and this anthology says 'here goes.'" The groundbreaking music that accompanies the book features Nam Jun Paik, the Dada Movement, John Cage, Sonic Youth, and many other examples of avant-garde music. Most of this content comes from the archives of Sub Rosa, a legendary record label that has been the benchmark for archival sounds since the beginnings of electronic music. To receive these free music files, readers may send an email to the address listed in the book. ContributorsDavid Allenby, Pierre Boulez, Catherine Corman, Chuck D, Erik Davis, Scott De Lahunta, Manuel DeLanda, Cory Doctorow, Eveline Domnitch, Frances Dyson, Ron Eglash, Brian Eno, Dmitry Gelfand, Dick Hebdige, Lee Hirsch, Vijay Iyer, Ken Jordan, Douglas Kahn, Daphne Keller, Beryl Korot, Jaron Lanier, Joseph Lanza, Jonathan Lethem, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen, Alondra Nelson, Keith and Mendi Obadike, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pauline Oliveros, Philippe Parreno, Ibrahim Quaraishi, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Nadine Robinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Alex Steinweiss, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, Saul Williams, Jeff E. Winner… (more)
Title:Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture
Authors:Paul D. Miller (Editor)
Info:The MIT Press (2008), Edition: Pap/Com, 432 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, To review

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Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture by Paul D. Miller



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An anthology of articles on digital music and culture as well as a mix CD of 45 samples thereof. Put together by DJ Spooky, whose previous MIT publication, Rhythm Science, likewise paired book and music. The essays vary from overviews of specific areas (legal system in the age of sampling, network-based art ensembles) to reflections by musicians (Scanner on ghost images, Brian Eno on bells) to interviews (with Moby, Steve Reich and his wife/collaborator, Columbia Records's art director). The better writing makes the weaknesses in the lesser writing stand out, and the book could have used another strong edit pass (if we can't trust MIT to copyedit and to get the index right, whom can we?). The CD is excellent, with lots of spoken bits, from Gertrude Stein to William S. Burroughs, which makes an intelligent transition from the book; the CD isn't background music -- it is a text unto itself.

PS: I reviewed the book for Nature magazine. The web page says the full review requires payment to be read but in fact the full review appears on this page. The only thing behind the fee-wall is my author bio:


  Disquiet | Mar 30, 2013 |
It's now available as an ebook on the MIT press portal http://mitpress-ebooks.mit.edu/product/sound-unbound
  ipublishcentral | Jun 23, 2009 |
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