Books and Magazines

New from Corbett vs. Dempsey, four books of poetry by Sun Ra. Two of these were pamphlets that accompanied early Sun Ra albums issued in the late 1950s; the other two were published more than a decade laterby Infinity Inc./Saturn Research. CvsD's reprints are fastidiously designed facsimiles of the original publications, marking the first time they have been available in their Ra-ordained form since they were published. An architect of Afrofuturism and one of the great musical thinkers of the 20th century, Ra's work extended far beyond jazz and even music to the realms of pageantry, performance, theater, philosophy, visual art, and literature. In the mid 1950s, he handed out leaflets and gave streetcorner lectures – revisionist interpretations of the Bible and bold meditations on the status of African Americans in American society. A few years later, Ra began disseminating his poems in – and sometimes on – his albums. His debut, Jazz By Sun Ra, was issued in 1957 by the Boston-based Transition label, a short-lived company that sold records by subscription; this record contained a beautiful booklet, now as prized as the LP itself, with rare photographs and a selection of poems and proclamations, as well as the personnel and recording credits. Ra's Jazz In Silhouette was released two years hence on Saturn Records, the label he started with Alton Abraham, and it came with a mimeographed liner booklet – now exceedingly rare – that was folded, unstapled, as an ultra-economical accompaniment to the vinyl. The CvsD version folds this slim pamphlet of poetry into a slipcover with a classic photo portrait of Ra by Thomas "Bugs" Hunter on the back. Perhaps Ra's best known book of poetry, reprinted in many alternative versions with different contents over the years, is The Immeasurable Equation; this incarnation restores the original Infinity Inc./Saturn Research version, published in Chicago in 1972 and distributed widely by the Arkestra, often from the bandstand. It features more than 60 of Ra's poems. Finally, perhaps the rarest of Ra's poetry books is Extensions Out: Immeasurable Equation Vol. II, which was also published by Infinity Inc./Saturn Research. This 8 1/2 x 11 inch book is a massive compendium of more than 130 poems, very much in step with the mimeo poetry publications of its era – simple staple binding, one-sided pages – featuring three photographs of artwork by Ayé Aton, a close ally of Ra's in this, the period of the Arkestra classic Space Is The Place, on which Aton plays percussion. Great care was taken to reproduce the special textured cover of this highly sought after book.

Extensions Out, Plus: Four Poetry Books (1959/1972) – Sun Ra

An in-depth exploration of the work and destiny of Ana Mendieta, with numerous illustrations and previously unpublished contributions. The monograph devoted the Cuban born, American artist Ana Mendieta at MO.CO. Panacée in 2023 brings together about one hundred works from over fifteen years of production (1968-1985). The exhibition explores in particular how the artist never ceased to reinvent herself, developing an original, ephemeral sculptural language, at times performative in act, nourished by her research into primitive myths and rock art. It focuses especially on revealing her relationship to the visible and the invisible, her way of rendering the unspeakable intelligible through the trace of the body, and how it relates to nature. It is not intended to be a retrospective show, but rather to celebrate the relevance of such political and vibrant contemporary work.Accompanying the exhibition, this richly illustrated publication is introduced by Numa Hambursin and Álvaro Rodríguez Fominaya, in addition to unpublished texts by Géraldine Gourbe, Carla Guardiola Bravo and Rahmouna Boutayeb, as well as an interview of Raquel Cecilia Mendieta with Vincent Honoré.   In a brief yet prolific career, the Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta (1948-1985) created groundbreaking work in photography, film, video, drawing, sculpture, and site-specific installations. Amongst the major themes in her work are exile, displacement, and a return to the landscape, which remain profoundly relevant today. Her unique hybrid of form and documentation, works that she titled "siluetas," are fugitive and potent traces of the artist's inscription of her body in the landscape, often transformed by natural elements such as fire and water.

Ana Mendieta – Aux Commencements

The third edition of Graphème: a series of graphic and experimental music scores by composers from a variety of backgrounds and experience. Each composer offers a rigorous conceptual framework and provides an often sensual dialog between composer, performer, sound and space in spirit of collaborative creativity. The pieces here represent imaginative and inventive ways to notate a musical vision, making use of innovative approaches – photographic representation, geometric and cartographic schema and various degrees of indetermination and precision – as well as extending more traditional ideas of notation, to expand on expressive possibilities. Some composers embrace deep and abstract conceptual propositions while others exploit the aesthetic potential of graphic sign making to transfer ideas into a sounding choreography of possibilities, inviting performers and listeners to find connections in unexpected places. Progress in science and technology over the last decades has opened up new choices for expression and interaction, and we indeed find many composers taking up these new challenges with vibrant energy and enthusiasm. Some aspects of technology and new experimental score-making, for example, those that engage with video and interactive media, are beyond the scope of this publication. We have, however, found artists who have taken these ideas and influences as a point of departure, responding to this increasingly rational, mathematical and scientific world by using notions of data collection, the ever increasing precision of measurement and use structures derived from geometry and mathematics in innovative ways.

Grapheme vol. 3 – A publication for experimental music scores

A collection of essays, librettos, lyrics, memories, photos, personal anecdotes by musicians, visual artists, researchers and archivers that pays homage to the work and life of African-American composer, musician, performer, activist Julius Eastman.   The book investigates his legacy beyond the predominantly Western musicological format of the tonal or harmonic and the framework of what is today understood as minimalist music. By trying to complicate, deny or expatiate on the notions of the harmonic, tonal hierarchy, the triadic, or even the tonal centre, Eastman's compositions explore strategies and technologies of attaining the atonal. One might be tempted to see Eastman in the legacy of Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg and others, but here too, it is worth shifting the geography of minimal tendencies and minimalism in music. It is worth listening and reading Eastman's music within the scope of what Oluwaseyi Kehinde describes as the application of chromatic forms such as polytonality, atonality, dissonance as the fulcrum in analysing some elements of African music such as melody, harmony, instruments and instrumentation.   This publication constructs a non-linear genealogy of Eastman's practice and his cultural, political and social relevance, while situating his work within a broader rhizomatic relation of musical epistemologies and practices.   ---   Julius Eastman (1940-1990) was an American composer, pianist, vocalist, and dancer whose work fell under minimalism. He was among the first composers to combine minimalist processes with elements of pop music.   There was some for John Cage, then came Christian Wolff, and finally Morton Feldman, from this school in New York. Only Julius Eastman remained outside the game, the last figure, the most solitary and enigmatic—undoubtedly also one of the most powerful. In the 1970s and 1980s, Eastman was one of the very few African-Americans to gain recognition in the New York avant-garde music scene. He was politically committed, a figure of queer culture and a solar and solitary poet whose melancholy influenced his genius as well as his tragic destiny: suffering from various addictions, declared missing, actually homeless. During Winter of 1981-82, he got deported from his apartment by the police, who destroyed most of what he owned—including scores and recordings. He was found dead in 1990, on the streets of Buffalo, after years of vagrancy.   ---   Edited by: Federica Bueti, Antonia Alampi, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung. Contributions by Antonia Alampi, Rocco Di Pietro, Kodwo Eshun, Federica Bueti, Sean Griffin, Sumanth Gopinath, Jean-Christophe Marti, Josh Kun, Elaine Mitchener, Malak Helmy, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Marie Jane Leach, George E. Lewis, Berno Odo Polzer, Pungwe, Christine Rusiniak.   ---        

We Have Delivered Ourselves From the Tonal – Of, Towards, On, For Julius Eastman – Julius Eastman

Composing While Black eröffnet einzigartige neue Perspektiven auf zeitgenössische afrodiasporische Komponist:innen, die zwischen 1960 und heute aktiv waren bzw. sind, ein Zeitraum, der von der Forschung, der Programmgestaltung von Konzerten und journalistischen Darstellungen vor allem in Europa bisher weitgehend ignoriert wurde. Diese interdisziplinäre Aufsatzsammlung befasst sich mit Oper, Orchester-, Kammer-, Instrumental- und elektroakustischer Musik sowie mit Klangkunst, Konzeptkunst und digitalen Intermedien und zeigt die afrodiasporische Neue Musik als einen interkulturellen, generationenübergreifenden Raum der Innovation, der neue Themen, Geschichten und Identitäten bietet. Composing While Black presents unique new perspectives on Afrodiasporic contemporary composers active between 1960 and the present, a period that academic inquiry, concert programming, and journalistic accounts have largely ignored up to now, particularly in Europe. This interdisciplinary essay collection engages with opera, orchestral, chamber, instrumental, and electroacoustic music, as well as sound art, conceptual art, and digital intermedia, revealing Afrodiasporic new music as an intercultural, multigenerational space of innovation that offers new subjects, histories, and identities. “Composing While Black is a brilliant collection of essays on the black presence in contemporary Classical music. From the poignant and richly resonant title through the editors‘ authoritative historical introduction to the mix of reflection, anecdote, analysis, and study of the compositional process across nine essays, the book illuminates black creativity on terrain previously figured as white. Timely, informative, and challenging, this bilingual text is a must-read for anyone interested not only in the work of Afrodiasporic composers but in the reach of the very notion of the contemporary itself.” KOFI AGAWU The Graduate Center, City University of New York “What an essential book this is: an invigorating corrective packed with bright sounds, big musical personalities and astute social context. The introduction alone is a terrific primer; the chapters are vivid case studies written with fresh and authoritative clarity. Above all, the music of this book demands to be heard. Its pages will send you down countless avenues of discovery and fill whole notebooks with names, ideas and intersections to pursue – the greatest thrill.” KATE MOLLESON, author of Sound Within Sound: Opening Our Ears to the 20th Century. “This brilliantly illuminating survey of twenty-first-century Afro-diasporic composition testifies to the countervailing powers of identity and difference. The modes of art-making that the editors place under the rubric “Composing While Black” are, in fact, a teeming, ever-expanding universe of musical possibility, one that resists, absorbs, and transmutes immense pressures. Composers are seen both as self-governing individuals and as figures within far-flung, intricately networked communities: the doubleness of vision honors the inward-outward ardor of human creativity.” ALEX ROSS

Harald Kisiedu and George E. Lewis – Composing While Black - Afrodiasporic New Music Today