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A rare document of the 1960s Black Arts Movement featuring Albert Ayler, Amiri Baraka, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and many more, The Cricket fostered critical and political dialogue for Black musicians and writers. Edited by poets and writers Amiri Baraka, A.B. Spellman, and Larry Neal between 1968 and 1969 and published by Baraka’s New Jersey–based Jihad productions shortly after the time of the Newark Riots, this experimental music magazine ran poetry, position papers, and gossip alongside concert and record reviews and essays on music and politics.
Over four mimeographed issues, The Cricket laid out an anticommercial ideology and took aim at the conservative jazz press, providing a space for critics, poets, and journalists (including Stanley Crouch, Haki Madhubuti, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez and Keorapetse Kgositsile) and a range of musicians, from Mtume to Black Unity Trio, to devise new styles of music writing. The publication emerged from the heart of a political movement—“a proto-ideology, akin to but younger than the Garveyite movement and the separatism of Elijah Mohammed,” as Spellman writes in the book’s preface—and aimed to reunite advanced art with its community, “to provide Black Music with a powerful historical and critical tool” and to enable avant-garde Black musicians and writers “to finally make a way for themselves.” This publication gathers all issues of the magazine with an introduction by poet and scholar David Grundy, who argues that The Cricket “attempted something that was in many ways entirely new: creating a form of music writing which united politics, poetry, and aesthetics as part of a broader movement for change; resisting the entire apparatus through which music is produced, received, appreciated, distributed, and written about in the Western world; going well beyond the tried-and-tested journalistic route of description, evaluation, and narration.”
David Grundy is the author of A Black Arts Poetry Machine: Amiri Baraka and the Umbra Poets (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) and coeditor, with Lauri Scheyer, of Selected Poems of Calvin C. Hernton (Wesleyan University Press, forthcoming). He is currently a British Academy Fellow at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, where he is working on two manuscripts, Survival Music: Free Jazz Then and Now and Never by Itself Alone: Queer Poetry in Boston and San Francisco, 1943–Present (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and a further edited collection on Umbra.
A.B. Spellman is a poet, music critic, and former director of the Arts in Education Study Project for the National Endowment of the Arts.
THE CRICKET: BLACK MUSIC IN EVOLUTION, 1968–69
Blank Forms' journal brings together a combination of never-before published, lost, and new materials that supplement Blank Forms' live programs. It is envisioned as a platform for critical reflection and extended dialogue between scholars, artists, and other figures working within the world of experimental music and art.
Jerry Hunt (1943–1993) has been described as a shamanic figure with the look of a Central Texas meat inspector. One of the most compelling composers in the world of late twentieth-century new music, he made work that combined video synthesis, installation art, and early computers with rough-hewn sculptures, scores drawn from celestial alphabets, and homemade electronics activated by his signature wands and impassioned gestures. Hunt lived his entire life in Texas, eventually settling in a house (“an interactive environment”) he built with his partner, Stephen Housewright, in a rural area outside Canton, but his pataphysical, abrasive, and humorous performances took him across North America and Europe, where he amassed a small but dedicated following.
This volume, accompanying an exhibition of the same title, represents the first ever book-length collection devoted to the underknown composer’s work, and includes a biographical essay by Tyler Maxin and Lawrence Kumpf, interviews with and essays by Hunt, and detailed analyses of his visual art, and reflections from his friends and collaborators. Contributors include art historian Kris Paulsen, composers Guy De Bièvre, George Lewis, David Rosenboom, Gordon Monahan, and artist Karen Finley.
BLANK FORMS 08: TRANSMISSIONS FROM THE PLEROMA
A radical new book by journalist, critic and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kate Molleson, which fundamentally changes the way we think about classical music and the musicians who made it on a global scale. This is the impassioned and exhilarating story of the composers who dared to challenge the conventional world of classical music in the twentieth century.
Traversing the globe from Ethiopia and the Philippines to Mexico, Jerusalem, Russia and beyond, journalist, critic and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Kate Molleson tells the stories of ten figures who altered the course of musical history, only to be sidelined and denied recognition during an era that systemically favoured certain sounds - and people - over others.
A celebration of radical creativity rooted in ideas of protest, gender, race, ecology and resistance, Sound Within Sound is an energetic reappraisal of twentieth-century classical music that opens up the world far beyond its established centres, challenges stereotypical portrayals of the genre and shatters its traditional canon.
Kate Molleson – Sound Within Sound
What are you supposed to do with a stray dog? From the smallest acts of kindness to the grandest acts of love, every single variation on an empathetic response to this question ends up becoming the same: you find them a space in which they can live. Stray Dog is one of these spaces, within which a disparate cast of artists, designers, poets and musicians gather around a shared tension between displacement and connection, otherworldliness and physicality. To dream of life is to dwell in the liminal beauty of earthly transience, to float free from waking reality while keeping an eye on the world below. A dream of life might amplify that which is other, shine gauzy light on the strange and surreal while gesturing towards some ecstatic truth, trapped under the weight of the eye’s closed lid.
Here, lysergic collage unfolds onto a colossal cloud bank, rendered even more impossibly enormous by an errant shred of tobacco, caught precariously in the instant of a scan. Distorted figures herald alien landscapes scraped from Google Earth, “lifewithallitsbeauty.” Quotidian scenes are brushed with a milky patina, bio-mechanical entities, smudged in alchemical smoke, haunt dreamlike scenes of weird familiarity, nostalgia bleeding into deja vu. Skeletal details are scratched in ink spindle, a bone, a thread and an arrow all woven together in delicate lines. Lynchian visions run into narcotic prophesies, Rorschach angels, printed thick, spark up against pale wraiths captured in alabaster shades. Leather, latex and rough-hewn rope are stretched taut, while someone, somewhere, is tending to an ancient garden, another space in which a stray might live, even if only for a moment.
We close with another dream, “How good it would be / If I lived in a world where meaning does not become meaning.” If nothing else, Stray Dog offers a space in which to explore whether such a world is possible, a space in which to search and to stray.’ (Henry Bruce-Jones)
London's Lost Rivers takes the reader on a series of walks along the routes of eight lost rivers, combining directions for walkers with richly detailed anecdotes outlining the history of each river s route, origins and decline. Tom Bolton reveals a secret network that spreads across the city, from picturesque Hampstead in the North to the hidden suburbs of South London, and runs beneath some of London s most iconic and historic sites. These London pasts are brought to vivid life, populated by characters both famous and infamous, including politicians, forgers, actors, architects, athletes, monarchs and murderers. Evocative, witty and engaging, London s Lost Rivers invites both visitors to the city and lifelong Londoners to explore another side of London and its rich history, whether on foot or in the imagination.
Tom Bolton (Author), S. F. Said (Photographer) – London's Lost Rivers: A Walker's Guide
Although Theodor W. Adorno is best known for his association with the Frankfurt School of critical theory, he began his career as a composer and successful music critic. "Night Music" presents the first complete English translations of two collections of texts compiled by Adorno - "Moments musicaux", containing essays written between 1928 and 1962, and "Theory of New Music", a group of texts written between 1929 and 1955. In "Moments musicaux", Adorno echoes Schubert's eponymous cycle, with its emphasis on aphorism, and offers lyrical reflections on music of the past and his own time. The essays include extended aesthetic analyses that demonstrate Adorno's aim to apply high philosophical standards to the study of music. "Theory of New Music", as its title indicates, presents Adorno's thoughts and theories on the composition, reception, and analysis of the music that was being written around him. His extensive philosophical writing ultimately prevented him from pursuing the compositional career he had once envisaged, but his view of the modern music of the time is not simply that of a theorist, but clearly also that of a composer. Though his advocacy of the Second Viennese School, comprising composer Arnold Schoenberg and his pupils, is well known, many of his writings in this field have remained obscure. Collected in their entirety for the first time in English, the insightful texts in "Night Music" show the breadth of Adorno's musical understanding and reveal an overlooked side to this significant thinker.
Theodor W Adorno – Night Music: Essays on Music 1928-1962 (The German List)
Angela Davis has been a political activist at the cutting edge of the Black Liberation, feminist, queer, and prison abolitionist movements for more than 50 years. First published and edited by Toni Morrison in 1974, An Autobiography is a powerful and commanding account of her early years in struggle. Davis describes her journey from a childhood on Dynamite Hill in Birmingham, Alabama, to one of the most significant political trials of the century: from her political activity in a New York high school to her work with the U.S. Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, and the Soledad Brothers; and from the faculty of the Philosophy Department at UCLA to the FBI's list of the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives. Told with warmth, brilliance, humor and conviction, Angela Davis's autobiography is a classic account of a life in struggle with echoes in our own time.
Angela Davis – Angela Davis: An Autobiography
Equal parts biography, musicology, and cultural history, Dilla Time chronicles the life and legacy of J Dilla, a musical genius who transformed the sound of popular music for the twenty-first century.
He wasn’t known to mainstream audiences, and when he died at age thirty-two, he had never had a pop hit. Yet since his death, J Dilla has become a demigod, revered as one of the most important musical figures of the past hundred years. At the core of this adulation is innovation: as the producer behind some of the most influential rap and R&B acts of his day, Dilla created a new kind of musical time-feel, an accomplishment on a par with the revolutions wrought by Louis Armstrong and James Brown. Dilla and his drum machine reinvented the way musicians play.
In Dilla Time, Dan Charnas chronicles the life of James DeWitt Yancey, from his gifted Detroit childhood to his rise as a sought-after hip-hop producer to the rare blood disease that caused his premature death. He follows the people who kept Dilla and his ideas alive. And he rewinds the histories of American rhythms: from the birth of Motown soul to funk, techno, and disco. Here, music is a story of what happens when human and machine times are synthesized into something new.
This is the story of a complicated man and his machines; his family, friends, partners, and celebrity collaborators; and his undeniable legacy. Based on nearly two hundred original interviews, and filled with graphics that teach us to feel and "see" the rhythm of Dilla's beats, Dilla Time is a book as defining and unique as J Dilla's music itself.
Dan Charnas – Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of J Dilla, the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm
A talented pianist and composer in his own right, Sun Ra (1914 - 1993) founded and conducted one of jazz's last great big bands from the 1950s until he left planet Earth. Few only know that he also was a gifted thinker and poet.
Sun Ra's poetry leaves everything behind what's called contemporary, and flings out pictures of infinity into the outer space. These poems are for tomorrow. This is the only edition of Sun Ra's complete poetry and prose in one volume. The Contributors James L. Wolf Earned a music degree from Carleton College, and studied ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, Seattle. Now works at the Library of Congress in the Music Division. Active musician in various bands in the DC area. Many contributions to Sun Ra scholarship.
Hartmut Geerken Oriental studies, philosophy and comparative religion at the universities of Tübingen and Istanbul. Writer, filmmaker, musician, composer. Since the 1970s, close relationships to Sun Ra and his works, setting up the world's most comprehensive Waitawhile Sun Ra Archive Sigrid Hauff Studied oriental languages and arts, philosophy, and romance studies at the universities of Tübingen and Istanbul. Free lance writer on literary and philosophical subjects. Klaus Detlef Thiel Studied philosophy and history at Trier University, Ph.D. Philosophical author, focussing on theory and history of writing. Brent Hayes Edwards Teaches in the English Department at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ. Author and Co-Editor of works on jazz and literature.
Hartmut Geerken – Sun Ra: The Immeasurable Equation. The collected Poetry and Prose
The first edition of Sound Art Revisited (published as Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories) served as a groundbreaking work toward defining this emerging field, and this fully updated volume significantly expands the story to include current research since the book's initial release. Viewed through a lens of music and art histories rather than philosophical theory, it covers dozens of artists and works not found in any other book on the subject.Locating sound art's roots across the centuries from spatialized church music to the technological developments of radio, sound recording, and the telephone, the book traces the evolution of sound installations and sound sculpture, the rise of sound art exhibitions and galleries, and finally looks at the critical cross-pollination that marks some of the most important and challenging art with and about sound being produced today.
Illustrations:25 b&w figures
Dimensions:6" x 9"
Alan Licht – Sound Art Revisited
Presenting an interdisciplinary selection of twenty-five essays first delivered at Breaking Convention 2015, the third conference on psychedelic consciousness, culture, and clinical research, held at the University of Greenwich, London.
Breaking Convention is the largest symposium of its kind, featuring more than 120 academic presentations biennially. Widely regarded as one of the foremost global platforms for serious research into psychedelic pharmacology, the conference has been instrumental in altering popular attitudes towards policy reform, with research focusing on the potential benefits that psychedelic therapies might hold in the treatment of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and in harm reduction among habitual substance abusers. Psychedelic Pharmacology for the 21st Century spans the sciences and humanities, from philosophy and neuroscience through chemical models of action to clinical use. This latest volume includes cross-cultural approaches exploring the global drug economy, clinical MDMA trials, histories of psychedelic literature, the enigma of the pineal gland, acid mediumship and psychedelic landscaping.
Sam Gandy, Allan Badiner, Friedericke Meckel Fischer, Tharcila Chaves, John Constable, Lorna Olivia O’Dowd, Rick Doblin, Amanda Fielding, Mike, Crowley, Robert Dickins, Luke Goaman-Dodson, Ido Hartogsohn, Scott J. Hill,
Will Rowlandson, David E. Nichols, Jennifer Lyke and Julia Kuti, Michael Montagne, Jonathan Newman,
Carl A.P. Ruck, Dale Pendell, Alan Piper, Graham St. John, Bruce Rimmel, Iker Puente, Tim Read
Ben Sessa David Luke, Cameron Adams, David King, Amiee Tollan, Nikki Wyrd
Strange Attractor Press, 2017
Breaking Convention Vol III – Psychedelic Pharmacology for the 21st Century
An electrifying celebration of Black performances, cultures and communities in the United States, from the New York Times bestselling poet and critic Hanif Abdurraqib
At the March on Washington, Josephine Baker reflected on her life and her legacy. She had spent decades as one of the most successful entertainers in the world, but, she told the crowd, "I was a devil in other countries, and I was a little devil in America, too". Inspired by these words, Hanif Abdurraqib has written a stirring meditation on Black performance in the modern age, in which culture, history and his own lived experience collide.With sharp insight, humour and heart, Abdurraqib explores a sequence of iconic and intimate performances that take him from mid-century Paris to the moon -- and back down again, to a cramped living room in Columbus, Ohio. Each one, he shows, has layers of resonance across Black and white cultures, the politics of American empire, and his own personal history of love and grief -- whether it's the twenty-seven seconds of 'Gimme Shelter' in which Merry Clayton sings, or the magnificent hours of Aretha Franklin's homegoing; Beyoncé's Super Bowl show or a schoolyard fistfight; Dave Chapelle's skits or a game of spades among friends.
Hanif Abdurraqib – A Little Devil in America - In Praise of Black Performance
Beginning at the start of the new millennium in the council estates of inner London, Inner City Pressure tells the full story of grime, Britain’s most exciting musical revolution since punk. Against seemingly insurmountable odds, grime’s teenage pioneers sent out a signal from the pirate radio aerials and crumbling estates of London’s poorest boroughs that would, 15 years later, resonate as the universal sound of youthful rebellion, as big in the suburbs as in the inner city.
By 2018, the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Skepta have long since become household names. But have the conditions that produced this music now gone forever? What happens to those living on the margins when those margins become ever-smaller spaces? And what happens to a rebellious, outsider sound when it is fully accepted by the pop cultural mainstream? Inner City Pressure tells the astonishing story of a generation dancing, fighting and rioting against the forces gentrifying the capital.
Dan Hancox – Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime
In our complex world, facilitation and mediation skills are as important for individuals as they are for organizations. How do we practice them in ways that align with nature, with pleasure, with our best imagining of our future? How do we attend to generating the ease necessary to help us move through the inevitable struggles of life? How do we practice the art of holding others without losing ourselves? Black feminists have answers to those questions that can serve anyone working to create changes in our world, changes great and small; individually, interpersonally, and within our organizations.
Holding Change is about attending to coordination, to conflict, to being humans in right relationship with each other, not as a constant ongoing state, but rather as a magnificent, mysterious, ever-evolving dynamic in which we must involve ourselves, shape ourselves and each other. The majority of the book is sourced from brown's twenty-plus years of facilitation and mediation work with movement groups.
Includes contributions by Autumn Brown, Sage Crump, Malkia Devich-Cyril, Ejeris Dixon, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Prentis Hemphill, Micky ScottBey Jones, N'Tanya Lee, and Makani Themba
AK PRESS, 2021
Adrienne Maree Brown – Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation
A literary mix tape that explores the entwined boundaries between sound, material culture, landscape and esoteric belief.
Trees rigged up to the wireless radio heavens. A fax machine used to decode the language of hurricanes. A broadcast ghost that hijacked a television station to terrorize a city. A failed computer factory in the desert with a slap-back echo resounding into ruin.
In High Static, Dead Lines, media historian and artist Kristen Gallerneaux weaves a literary mix tape that explores the entwined boundaries between sound, material culture, landscape, and esoteric belief. Essays and fictocritical interludes are arranged to evoke a network of ley lines for the “sonic spectre” to travel through—a hypothetical presence that manifests itself as an invisible layer of noise alongside the conventional histories of technological artifacts.
The objects and stories within span from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, touching upon military, communications, and cultural history. A connective thread is the recurring presence of sound—audible, self-generative, and remembered—charting the contentious sonic histories of paranormal culture.
Kristen Gallerneaux is a writer, folklorist, and artist. She has published on topics as diverse as mathematics in midcentury design, the visual history of telepathy research, the world’s first mouse pad, and car audio bass battles in Miami. She is also Curator of Communications and Information Technology at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where she continues to build upon one of the largest historic technology collections in North America.
Strange Attractor Press, 2018
Kristen Gallerneaux – High Static, Dead Lines Sonic Spectres and the Object Hereafter
What are the musical sounds that people remember in the diaspora? What are the sounds they create? Recognising the importance that people attach to musical performances, this book explores the significance of widespread Caribbean genres in diaspora politics. Tina K. Ramnarine uses ethnographic approaches to unravel creative processes of memory, innovation and production and to interrogate geographies of musical canons, hybridity discourses and culture theory. She challenges us to rethink diaspora as only being about displacement, to move beyond the limits of marginalisation and otherness, and to imagine the possibilities of 'beautiful cosmos'. Asking 'where is home in the diaspora?' this book presents radical perspectives in the study of diaspora
Tina K. Ramnarine – Beautiful Cosmos Performance and Belonging in the Caribbean Diaspora
"The dominant, traditional, western notation is only one aspect among many forms of expression in the field. We are interested in unconventional notational formats and graphic scores, as these represent visions of sound shapes that are open to diverse, idiosyncratic ways of interpreting and working. Works in which improvisation, composition, interpretation, performance and sound art merge require relevant modes of representation.In this first edition of Graphème artists Tomomi Adachi, Lotte Anker, Tony Buck & Lloyd Swanton, Marina Cyrino, Tina Douglas, Mazen Kerbaj, Magda Mayas, Phill Niblock, Jon Rose, Ute Wassermann and Nate Wooley work with photography, drawing, graphics, mixed media and object scores, finding ways to notate and share personal techniques and sonic elements.
We intend to offer a much needed alternative to most current modes of publishing in a practical, accessible and approachable way.In addition to the publication of Graphème, smallest functional unit plan to present concerts, symposia and a festival within which composers will be given the opportunity to reflect and discuss their work."
smallest functional unit was founded in 2020 by Tony Buck, Mazen Kerbaj, Magda Mayas, Ute Wassermann and Racha Gharbieh with the aim of performing and publishing unconventional, hybrid notational formats and graphic scores by international composers. The publication will appear as Graphème, a series with a thematic focus
smallest functional unit – Graphème - a publication for experimental musical scores (issue 1)