What follows here is a set of links, primarily to sound files, in the order of presentation of works in Experimental Music Since 1970 section by section. These links won’t make much sense without the text, and the text won’t take on its intended dimensions if it is not experienced alongside some relevant listening.
Here are the posts with the listening links:
And here are a few relevant explanations:
Sections that do not revolve around particular pieces of music are not included, so there is no 1.1 and no Chapter 7.
These lists are no replacement for the footnotes. It’s intended to get you to a listening experience as easily as possible. But there are plenty of additional references that are not listed here. I don’t want to repeat what’s already in the book needlessly.
Not every piece discussed has a corresponding sound file.
It is definitely a work in progress. (I was determined to get this up for the book release on August 11th and I didn’t have time to perfect it.) I will very much appreciate any suggestions as you make use of the links – formatting consistencies, broken links, missing links, etc. Just send me a quick email. I hope to put in a little form to make it easier in the future.
The formatting changes over time. I may or may not correct this.
The Amazon links are primarily there for your convenience. I make a small commission if they lead to a purchase, but feel free to skip past them. I’ll put the official disclaimer in small print:
Sound Expanse is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
A few things have caught me by surprise since my book was released. One of them is the recurring question of how (and in what circumstances) to respond to relevant discussions. I’ll probably be too withdrawn at some times and too engaged at others, and I can only hope to learn from my mistakes. The second surprise should have been predictable. There is a gap between a release date and a point in time when people can respond to anything more than a brief perusal of a book. Two weeks after the release is definitely still within that gap.
So I was very interested to see that James Saunders had finished reading it already and posted a thoughtful response. What was most compelling to me was his signaling of “a point of change” going on generally within the field of experimental music, a new emphasis on music that “uses strategies such as framing, embodying and repurposing the everyday to create tangible connections with the world.” It’s a brilliant way of casting a net that catches the sort of fish we’re both talking about. I’ve been thinking about this issue lately in terms of non-metaphorical music. A behavior isn’t being represented in the abstract but is actually occurring. The most immediately relevant material in the book is the discussion of experience and change in chapter one, but I think it’s pervasive in the structure and details as well.
Saunders puts it another way in his recent MusikTexte article, “no mapping.” He speaks about an approach that “makes direct connections with the world as the material of the work. It connects music with the tangible everyday. It embodies the world rather than represents it.”
This is a good moment to mention two books that were hugely important for me in the writing process and remain so: The Ashgate Research Companion to Experimental Music, edited by James Saunders, and Word Events: Perspectives on Verbal Notation, co-edited with John Lely.
There is so much going on these days! I’m bringing back this little series called “finds” in a futile effort to keep up. Feel free to bring other items to my attention.
1) Sound American’s 16th issue is The Anthony Braxton Issue. It is an overwhelmingly rich invitation to Braxton’s overwhelmingly rich body of work. Every item in the issue is generous, inviting, and deeply informative. The Complete Language Solos are also available for a modest purchase price that supports both the Tri-Centric Foundation and Sound American.
2) Present Tense Pamphlets is a series that includes, in the words of its editors:
Scores for live, imagined, or impossible music
Notations for lecture-performances or pedagogical scripts
Diagrams for dance, movement, and stillness-based works
Abandoned concepts or realized abstracts
Seeds of narratives and novels rendered as graphs
Computational scripts for executables, viruses, or humans
A Few Silences, Question Animals, Exegetical Reading Machine was the first one to catch my interest, though I’m sure not the last.
3) There are several other books that Bloomsbury has released recently that are relevant in various ways to experimental music. I hope to read and respond to each of them over time, but for the moment I will list them below.
G Douglas Barrett: After Sound: Toward a Critical Music
Kevin Dunn: Global Punk
Branden Wayne Joseph: Experimentations: John Cage in Music, Art, and Architecture
Joe Panzner: The Process that is the World: Cage/Deleuze/Events/Performance
David Toop: Into the Maelstrom: Music, Improvisation and the Dream of Freedom
As I was writing Experimental Music Since 1970, I was well aware that people who are doing important work within this field would go unreferenced due to limitations of time, page count, and my own working process and scope of knowledge. It was a perpetual source of frustration, briefly mentioned in the introductory section (p. 7).
This book is also not a “who’s who” of experimental music or an attempt to establish a canon. A person’s presence or absence has nearly as much to do with my ability to talk about their work within the structure that has developed as it does with their standing in the field. Many other musicians deserve a place here, and I hope this text will be understood as a series of starting points rather than as anything like a final statement. It’s impossible to fully delineate a field that is still active and thriving.
This kind of concern became dominant for a time, and I realized I was never going to finish the project without somehow coming to terms with it. I came up with three arguments (two of them roughly parallel images) to keep the work going.
1) What I’m trying to do is provide a rough mapping or orientation, rather than a thorough catalogue. Hopefully that will enable people to find their way to territories that interest them, and from there to find other work that is meaningful to them. The goal is to provide some landmarks to make this field easier to navigate than it currently is.
2) If others have different or further ideas of what experimental music is or who is practicing it, I’m offering a framework to argue against. These conversations are welcome.
3) A book at some point becomes a static document. There might be revisions down the road, but it takes a clear form. Sound Expanse is a platform that already exists that by its very name (created long before the book was even a notion) suggests a widening scope. So I can use that to extend, correct, and present other viewpoints after the book is published.
I want to know about other work and how it either fits within this rough mapping I’ve offered or — perhaps even better — suggests that there are whole other areas of exploration in this field that I’ve never even considered. If you have a person or topic you would like to write about that challenges or extends what I’ve written, I am very open to either directly posting or linking to it. Any form from a list to a longer piece is equally welcome. I will be doing my own extending and challenging as well, but one person’s scope is always limited.