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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 mix CD 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 the CD's 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.
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
This sprawling and varied work features 36 essays on digital sampling, music, sound, and culture. The range of topics is vast, covering the invention of the synthesizer, an interview with Moby, the history of bells, and Muzak. The international cast of contributors-composers Steve Reich and John Cage, rapper Chuck D, sf novelist Bruce Sterling, and Dick Hebdige (Subculture: The Meaning of Style), among many others-is equally so. The collection bears the stamp of its editor, the multitalented Miller (Rhythm Science). Miller is best known for his experimental and hip-hop recordings in the "illbient" (a cross between ill, as in cool, and ambient) and trip genres and his numerous collaborations, and his characteristic eclecticism and ability to draw together disparate influences are much in evidence throughout. The pieces are generally brief, but the sheer breadth of topics is boggling, perhaps to a fault. The foreword, introduction, and Miller's opening piece do little to shed light on the unifying idea behind the collection. Still, this is a provocative and intriguing text, of interest to anyone working in or studying contemporary experimental music. Recommended for music libraries.