Books and Magazines

Sound American Publications announces its 27th issue, THE LIFE ISSUE, a reflection upon the smallness—and largeness—of living amidst a tumultuous, globally-shared moment. The Life Issue contributors include claire rousay, who writes about the many cuts accumulated while learning something new; pedal steel superhero Susan Alcorn recounts a battle with injury; composer Jack Langdon offers Sound American’s second fiction offering, a story of how the pandemic affects a fictional musician, presenter, and listener; composer Lea Bertucci interviews improvising vocalist Audrey Chen about identity, commitment to music, and motherhood; bass clarinetist Katie Porter lets us in on a quarantine’s worth of deep-questioning and the looping beauty of banality.Sound American’s ongoing series, “Sites of Formation”, celebrates the piano, featuring writing by pianists Pat Thomas (on Ahmed Abdul-Malik) and Cory Smythe (on Henri Pousseur), as well as Dr. Douglas Rust on the Elliott Carter Piano Sonata and Sound American’s editor, Nate Wooley on the Vangelis’s keyboard-heavy soundtrack to Chariots of Fire. This issue also includes writing by saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos on NYC guerilla concerts during lockdown and a roundtable discussion from members of the Catalytic Sound collective—Ken Vandermark, Luke Stewart, and Bonnie Jones led by Brock Stuessi—on their work to create a streaming platform as an alternative to Spotify.This issue’s Exquisite Corpse is an elegant, nostalgic site-specific work by composer, flutist, vocalist Ka Baird. The Life Issue also features a world-premiere, sixteen-page set of drawings with introduction by Lebanese-born, Berlin-based artist Mazen Kerbaj. The drawings feature his intimate, aching, everyday trek through multiple shutdowns.As we move on from a generation-defining year-and-a-half, The Life Issue allows some of the artists we love to speak intimately as people: people who happen to make art. Without requiring responses to the great traumas of the last eighteen months, the issues allows them to reaffirm their everyday humanity through the small injuries and victories, the days of nothing happening, and the ways that they try to fit in as small parts of a huge world. A unique issue of Sound American, it reaffirms the journal’s mission of making music for everyone in new and unexpected ways.

Sound American – The Life Issue

A curatorial and research project that aims to move beyond insanity as the opposite of sanity, and imagine a space beyond what is understood as sane, i.e. ultrasanity—not a romanticization of madness or mental illness, but an effort to reconsider and challenge the notion of madness and the stigmas labelled on the so-called mad. This publication unfolds as a collection of words, works, and images that informed, incited, and embodied SAVVY Contemporary's project Ultrasanity. On Madness, Sanitation, Antipsychiatry, and Resistance, an exhibition and research project on the elasticity of sanity.  It doesn't materialise simply as a catalogue of the exhibition but as a book retracing the trajectory of a research, as an occasion to extend SAVVY's curatorial proposition into a further choral perspective. With it we aim to deepen some of the reflections that moved and agitated us through two years of researches, conversations, programming, and practicing of Ultrasanity. The cogitations and the confrontations, the movements and the sounds, the trials and the tribulations, that accompanied us through the project and its 4 chapters and iterations are here collected to resonate one to each other, and to open new trajectories and paths. --- Edited by Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Agudio, Kelly Krugman. Contributions by Hortensia Völckers, Kirsten Ha, Alya Sebti, Inka Gressel, Joerg Fingerhut, Ana Gómez-Carillo, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Elena Agudio, Frederick W. Hickling, Debbie-Ann Chambers, Jaswant Guzder, The Brother Moves On, Jota Mombaça, Ghayath Almadhoun, Dora García, Monica Greco, Sajdeep Soomal, Ayesha Hameed, Jaswant Guzder, Johan Lagae, Sofie Boonen, Maarten Liefooghe, Mpho Matsipa, Dorothee Munyaneza.   ---      

Ultrasanity – On Madness, Sanitation, Antipsychiatry, and Resistance

“The expression "ghost in the machine" emerged within a particular context, namely as a critique of Cartesian dualism's separation of soul and body, and thus served to revive a certain mechanistic materialism. In simple terms, this critique denies the existence of an independent soul (the 'ghost') contained in a corporeal organism (the 'machine'). It asserts, on the contrary, that the 'soul' is just a manifestation of the body—that ultimately they are one and the same. Although this remains a fraught question, always accompanied by the risk of slipping into the register of belief, it is resurfacing today in relation to the emergence of artificial intelligences: Can there be such a thing as an artificial intelligence? Can such an intelligence really add up to something more than the sum total of the binary operations that generate it? And what exactly is the "artificial"? The artificial always brings with it the fantasy of emancipation and autonomy, and a break with a supposedly natural order of things. It is subversive. AI, precisely in so far as it is artificial, embraces this subversion, hybridizing the Promethean and the Faustian, heralding as many promises as potential dangers, and raising the stakes as high as the survival or extinction of humanity itself. In this respect, the domain of musical creation constitutes a kind of front line, at once a terrain of exploration for possible applications of AI and a domain that boasts an already substantial history of the integration of machines and their calculative power into creative processes. From algorithmic composition to methods of resynthesis, from logical approaches to the creation of cybernetic systems, from the birth of computer music to neural networks, for more than half a century now music has been in continual dialogue with the binary universe of electron flows and the increasingly complex systems that control them.Each of the texts included here, in its own way, reveals a different facet of the strange prism formed by this alliance. Each projects its own particular spectrum—or spectre; each reveals a ghost, evokes an apparition that is a composite of ideas, electricity, and operations. This book, then, does not set out to cut the Gordian knot constituted by the question of the possible mutations and becomings of binary logic, and in particular its most recent avatar, AI. On the contrary, it seeks to shed a diverse light upon the many possible ways of coming to grips with it today, and upon the dreams, promises, and doubts raised by these becomings, whether actualised in the creation of codes and programs to assemble sounds or infusing a whole compositional project; whether they reveal the algorithmic dimension of the human being, or directly take over the writing of the text itself, rising to the authorial level. Above all, though, what is at stake here is to discover how these developments resonate together, and how this resonance manifests itself through all these approaches, all these reflections, all these modes of creation and of living. For the artificial, the artefact, is always the extro-human brainchild of a human, all too human dream.” Contributions by Keith Fullerton Whitman, Émilie Gillet, Steve Goodman, Florian Hecker, James Hoff, Roland Kayn, Ada Lovelace, Robin Mackay, Bill Orcutt, Matthias Puech, Akira Rabelais, Lucy Railton, Jean-Claude Risset, Sébastien Roux, Peter Zinovieff.

SPECTRES: Ghosts In The Machine / Volume III

The Cowboy’s Dreams of Home, the seventh Blank Forms anthology, takes its name from a psychedelic Wild West reverie of Texan singer-songwriter and visual artist Terry Allen. This volume privileges new texts including a retrospective interview with Allen conducted by ICA Philadelphia chief curator Anthony Elms; a conversation between multidisciplinary writers—and longtime friends—Thulani Davis and Jessica Hagedorn on the occasion of Davis’s latest poetry collection,Nothing But The Music, recently published by Blank Forms Editions; a recent discussion between composer Sarah Hennies and cellist Judith Hamann about their recent collaboration, which is included on Hamann’sMusic for Cello and Humming, released by Blank Forms Editions last fall; and a conversation with composer-performers Tashi Wada and Charles Curtis on the heels of a recent compilation of Curtis’s work,Performances & Recordings 1998–2018, produced by Wada. Each of these interviews sheds light on the particularities of the artists’ careers and methods in terms both formal and casual, practical and theoretical.  In addition to these dialogues, this book features new critical reflections on three artists whose work Blank Forms has presented: the legendary jazz percussionist and healer Milford Graves, by Ciarán Finlayson; English multimedia artist Graham Lambkin and his beguiling 2011 album Amateur Doubles, by Alan Licht; and the UK-based experimental music trio Still House Plants, by Joe Bucciero. These articles mine historical, social, and theoretical contexts, filling gaps in the existing literature on the given artist-subjects. New and archival poems and writing about poetry complement these interviews and essays, including rare texts by Davis, Hagedorn, and René Daumal—the latter translated by Louise Landes Levi—and a suite of Auto-Mythological writings commissioned from Chicago-based composer and musician Angel Bat Dawid. --- Edited by Lawrence Kumpf and Joe Bucciero with contributions from Angel Bat Dawid, Joe Bucciero, Charles Curtis, René Daumal, Thulani Davis, Anthony Elms, Ciarán Finlayson, Jessica Hagedorn, Judith Hamann, Sarah Hennies, Louise Landes Levi, Alan Licht, and Tashi Wada.  --- Blank Forms Editions, 2021

Blank Forms 7: – The Cowboy’s Dreams of Home

In Partners, writer, librarian, and teacher Stephen Housewright paints an intimate portrait of a lifetime spent with Jerry Hunt (1943–1993), a Texas-born artist and musician with an astonishing mind and a mystifying practice. Hunt was a singular figure in the world of new music, and one of the most radically unorthodox artists of his generation. His remarkable yet underknown work incorporated motion-and sensor-activated technologies, readymade props, eccentric choreographies, and sixteenth-century astrology into performance and composition. While he orbited avant-garde worlds in the United States and Europe, his personal life, spent largely on a ranch in rural Texas, remained elusive. In this memoir-cum-biography, Housewright narrates a life spent together, beginning in high school as a closeted couple in East Texas and ending with Hunt’s battle with cancer and his eventual suicide in 1993, the subject of one of his most harrowing works on video, How to Kill Yourself Using the Inhalation of Carbon Monoxide (1993). Including private correspondence with, and thrilling anecdotes about, Hunt’s friends, family, and art world peers, Partners is an essential introduction to Jerry Hunt, and one that only Housewright could share. Self-published online in 1995, and now printed for the first time by Blank Forms Editions with a new introduction by Hunt’s close collaborator Karen Finley, Partners is the first installment of Blank Forms’s extensive program dedicated to Jerry Hunt. This program includes the first-ever exhibition surveying the artist’s career, Jerry Hunt: Transmissions from the Pleroma, opening at Blank Forms in early 2022; a deluxe LP boxed set and reader; the first vinyl pressing of Hunt’s final record, Ground: Five Mechanic Convention Streams (1992); and the special anthology Blank Forms 08: Transmissions from the Pleroma.

Stephen Housewright – Partners

Produced on the occasion of the exhibition, extensive and copiously illustrated, with texts by Evie Ward, John Corbett, Lisa Alvarado, Christina Forrer, Naima Karlsson* Corbett vs. Dempsey is pleased to present Moki Cherry, Communicate, How?: Paintings and Tapestries, 1967-1980. Following Blank Forms’ exhibition in New York, which took an in-depth look at the Don Cherryand Moki Cherry partnership, Communicate, How? places the spotlight squarely on Moki, concentrating on her masterful tapestries and playful canvases, never separating them from Don’s presence, but inviting a long overdue critical appreciation for Moki’s artistry on its own terms.  In Communicate, How?, CvsD has assembled a selection of Moki Cherry’s most significant works, all of them drawn from the schoolhouse in Sweden where the family archives still reside. These include major tapestries that were used in performance and several that functioned as announcements for Organic Music Society events or other performances. Among these is a banner from the first gig for which Moki made a tapestry, as well as a marvelous silken marquee for a weekend festival at Ornette Coleman’s loft. A group of modestly scaled paintings, some of them shown in early Swedish exhibitions, suggest Moki’s uninhibited, surrealistic use of imagery, often centering on the female figure. These smaller works offer a key to her later tapestries, showing how she constructed her Thangka-like compositions piecemeal out of iconic fragments. The show also includes a ceiling-hanging soft sculpture that was part of Utopias and Visions, 1871-1981, an exhibition at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1971, in which the Cherry family lived in a geodesic dome in the museum for three months; this extraordinary work has not been shown since that time. Moki Cherry (1943-2009) was raised and educated in Sweden, where she worked as a fashion designer in the early 1960s. In 1963, she met Don Cherry, the legendary free music trumpeter, and changed the trajectory of her artistic practice forever. As a couple, Moki and Don worked together on building a utopian vision of art and music, eventually establishing Movement Incorporated, also known as Organic Music Society, a troupe with variable membership that drew together music, image, and dance, with costumes and stage sets created by Moki. Her work in this fecund period included designing posters and flyers for events – sometimes made as increasingly elaborate tapestries – as well as inventing most of Don’s signature outfits, composing large textile works that hung as backdrops for their performances and making artwork for covers on many classic Don Cherry albums. Moki also created works that were independent of such happenings, stand-alone paintings and tapestries that brought her training in fabrics and materials together with her visionary imagistic vocabulary. Her early paintings and tapestries were the focus of key shows starting in the early 1970s, after the Cherrys had bought a schoolhouse in a tiny village in Southern Sweden, which they established as a base of operations and cultural arts center. Moki and Don were pioneers of multicultural, interdisciplinary performance. In their work, particularly in the period of this exhibition, they invited artists and other collaborators from a wide spectrum of international points of origin and backgrounds to participate in their unique, vividly imagined new world. --- Text:Evie WardJohn CorbettLisa AlvaradoChristina ForrerNaima Karlsson Publication EditorKatie Cato DesignDavid Khan-Giordano --- CvsD, 2021

Moki Cherry – Communicate, How?: Paintings and Tapestries, 1967 - 1980

Kazuki Tomokawa has lived many lives: poet, self-taught guitarist, actor, day laborer, basketball coach, painter, bicycle race tipster, and incomparable drinker among them. Above all, he is a legend of Japan’s avant-folk music scene and his searing lyrics and raw, unvarnished vocals have influenced generations of musicians since his mid-1970s debut, when his unique sound brought him to prominence in the turbulent worlds of Tokyo’s underground film and music. Here, in his contemplative and utterly original style, the “screaming philosopher” charts the last six decades of his life, reflecting on everything from keirin to nuclear disaster to his own itinerancy, all the while providing an unfiltered view into the explosive cultural zeitgeist of postwar Tokyo. Originally printed in 2015, this translation is the first of Tomokawa’s writings to ever be published in English, and is accompanied by Blank Forms Editions’ reissue of Tomokawa’s first three solo records from 1975–77: Finally, His First Album, Straight from the Throat, and A String of Paper Cranes Clenched between My Teeth. Try Saying You’re Alive! is a memoir like no other, delivered with the incisive tongue and stubborn charm of one of Japan’s most singular living musicians. Kazuki Tomokawa (b. 1950) is a prolific singer-songwriter from Hachiryu Village (now the town of Mitane) in the Akita Prefecture area of northern Japan. Since his first release in 1975, he has recorded more than thirty albums. The 2010 documentary about his life, La Faute des Fleurs, won the Sound & Vision award at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival, and that same year saw the Japanese release of the book Dreams Die Vigorously Day by Day, a collection of his lyrics spanning forty years. His most recent albums are Vengeance Bourbon (2014) and Gleaming Crayon (2016), both on the Modest Launch label. Damon Krukowski is a musician and writer based in Cambridge, MA. His most recent book is Ways of Hearing (MIT Press, 2019) and his latest album is Damon & Naomi’s A Sky Record (20|20|20, 2021). Daniel Joseph is a translator, editor, and musician. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University in medieval Japanese literature, and recently contributed translations to Terminal Boredom (Verso, 2021), a collection of stories by science fiction pioneer Izumi Suzuki.

Kazuki Tomokawa – Try Saying You’re Alive! : Kazuki Tomokawa in His Own Words

Research shows that all humans have a predisposition for music, just as they do for language. All of us can perceive and enjoy music, even if we can't carry a tune and consider ourselves “unmusical.” This volume offers interdisciplinary perspectives on the capacity to perceive, appreciate, and make music. Scholars from biology, musicology, neurology, genetics, computer science, anthropology, psychology, and other fields consider what music is for and why every human culture has it; whether musicality is a uniquely human capacity; and what biological and cognitive mechanisms underlie it. Contributors outline a research program in musicality, and discuss issues in studying the evolution of music; consider principles, constraints, and theories of origins; review musicality from cross-cultural, cross-species, and cross-domain perspectives; discuss the computational modeling of animal song and creativity; and offer a historical context for the study of musicality. The volume aims to identify the basic neurocognitive mechanisms that constitute musicality (and effective ways to study these in human and nonhuman animals) and to develop a method for analyzing musical phenotypes that point to the biological basis of musicality. --- Contributors: Jorge L. Armony, Judith Becker, Simon E. Fisher, W. Tecumseh Fitch, Bruno Gingras, Jessica Grahn, Yuko Hattori, Marisa Hoeschele, Henkjan Honing, David Huron, Dieuwke Hupkes, Yukiko Kikuchi, Julia Kursell, Marie-Élaine Lagrois, Hugo Merchant, Björn Merker, Iain Morley, Aniruddh D. Patel, Isabelle Peretz, Martin Rohrmeier, Constance Scharff, Carel ten Cate, Laurel J. Trainor, Sandra E. Trehub, Peter Tyack, Dominique Vuvan, Geraint Wiggins, Willem Zuidema --- MIT Press, 2019

Henkjan Honing – The Origins of Musicality

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Popular culture has woven itself into the social fabric of our lives, penetrating peoples homes and haunting their psyches through images and earworm hooks. Justice, at most levels, is something the average citizen may have little influence upon, leaving us feeling helpless and complacent. But pop music is a neglected arena where concrete change can occur - by exercising active and thoughtful choices to reject the low-hanging, omnipresent corporate fruit, we begin to rebalance the world, one engaged listener at a time. Silenced by Sound: The Music Meritocracy Myth is a powerful exploration of the challenges facing art, music, and media in the digital era. With his fifth book, producer, activist, and author Ian Brennan delves deep into his personal story to address the inequity of distribution in the arts globally. Brennan challenges music industry tycoons by skillfully demonstrating that there are millions of talented people around the world far more gifted than the superstars for whom billions of dollars are spent to promote the delusion that they have been blessed with unique genius. We are invited to accompany the author on his travels, finding and recording music from some of the worlds most marginalised peoples. In the breathtaking range of this book, our preconceived notions of art are challenged by musicians from South Sudan to Kosovo, as Brennan lucidly details his experiences recording music by the Tanzania Albinism Collective, the Zomba Prison Project, a witch camp in Ghana, the Vietnamese war veterans of Hanoi Masters, the Malawi Mouse Boys, the Canary Island whistlers, genocide survivors in both Cambodia and Rwanda, and more. Silenced by Sound is defined by muscular, terse, and poetic verse, and a nonlinear format rife with how-to tips and anecdotes. The narrative is driven and made corporeal via the authors ongoing field-recording chronicles, his memoir-like reveries, and the striking photographs that accompany these projects. Once read, youll never hear quite the same again. --- PM Press, 2019

Ian Brennan – Silenced by Sound: The Music Meritocracy Myth