Books and Magazines

“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

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

In the 1970s David Toop became preoccupied with the possibility that music was no longer bounded by formalities of audience: the clapping, the booing, the short attention span, the demand for instant gratification. Considering sound and listening as foundational practices in themselves leads music into a thrilling new territory: stretched time, wilderness, video monitors, singing sculptures, weather, meditations, vibration and the interior resonance of objects, interspecies communications, instructional texts, silent actions, and performance art. Toop sought to document the originality and unfamiliarity of this work from his perspective as a practitioner and writer. The challenge was to do so without being drawn back into the domain of music while still acknowledging the vitality and hybridity of twentieth-century musics as they moved toward art galleries, museums, and site-specificity. Toop focused on practitioners, whose stories are as compelling as the theoretical and abstract implications of their works. Inflamed Invisible collects more than four decades of David Toop's essays, reviews, interviews, and experimental texts, drawing us into the company of artists and their concerns, not forgetting the quieter, unsung voices. The volume is an offering, an exploration of strata of sound that are the crossing points of sensory, intellectual, and philosophical preoccupations, layers through which objects, thoughts and air itself come alive as the inflamed invisible. Spotify and QR Codes This is a book about music, and we wanted to bring the print text to sonic life. We have compiled a series of web links to take you to recordings of the music, musicians, and artists David Toop describes, as well as to artists’ websites. We have placed codes in the margins, so you can listen to the music written about as you read. These codes can be scanned by a smartphone camera. On some phones, the built-in camera app will automatically recognise a code. On other phones, you would need to download a QR code reader app. We have endeavored to find online as much of the music as possible, whether the pieces have been commercially released or not. Many of the links take you to the Discogs database. There, there are links to videos and audio on YouTube. Some links take you to the artist’s gallery website or personal site. For the music that is commercially available, we have compiled an Inflamed Invisible playlist on the Spotify music streaming service. The playlist is accessible. Individual tracks from this playlist are seen as Spotify codes in the margins. To scan these, please download and use the Spotify app on your phone. Select the magnifying glass icon to search, then select the camera icon and scan the code. Atau Tanaka, Sonics Series Editor

David Toop – Inflamed Invisible

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

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

In this detailed biography Schweizer is honored not only as a central figure in the development of European free jazz, but also as a committed pioneer for the equality of women in art and society. In her early years, for example, she stood up for the artistic and economic autonomy of artists and fought against discrimination against people on the basis of gender, origin or sexual orientation. The German critic Christian Broecking, who sadly passed away this year, has created an elaborate, diligent work with lots of case studies. What is more, the book consists of many interviews with Schweizer and over 60 contemporary witnesses, which turn out to be insightful as to her life's work. Chronologically, the biography begins with Schweizer’s youth. She grew up in a pub owner’s family in Schaffhausen and after her first attempts on the accordion she discovered the piano and joined the Crazy Stokers, a Dixieland band, at the age of 16. In 1957, that alone was a sensation. Shortly after that she landed in the top ranks at the Zurich Amateur Jazz Festival playing soul jazz and hardbop. The prize was a man’s shirt and a pack of cigarettes - no one could imagine that a woman would be able to win the first prize. Broecking’s biography is diligently and thoroughly researched, it is at its best when it tells anecdotes. One chapter addresses the chronic underpayment of jazz musicians, one deals with "Knitting as Provocation." Time and again, the author inserts digressions to explain a fact even more explicitly and places it in a social context. As a result of Schweizer’s consistent advocacy against apartheid (she has had very good connections to the South African expats in London) and for women's rights, she was part of the so-called Fichen scandal, in which she was surveilled by the Swiss secret service. --- ‎Broecking Verlag, 2021

Christian Broecking – This Uncontainable Feeling of Freedom: Irène Schweizer - European Jazz and the Politics of Improvisation

Broken Music is an essential compendium for records created by visual artists. The publication was edited by Ursula Block and Michael Glasmeier and originally published in 1989 by DAAD. Broken Music focuses on recordings, record-objects, artwork for records, and record installations made by thousands of artists between WWII and 1989. It also includes essays by both editors as well as Theodor W. Adorno, René Block, Jean Dubuffet, Milan Knizak, László Moholy-Nagy, Christiane Seiffert, and Hans Rudolf Zeller, as well as a flexi disc of the Arditti Quartet performing Knizak’s “Broken Music.” The centerpiece of the publication is a nearly 200-page bibliography of artists’ records. Works chosen for the publication revolved around four criteria: (1) record covers created as original work by visual artists; (2) record or sound-producing objects (multiples/editions/sculptures); (3) books and publications that contain a record or recorded-media object; and (4) records or recorded media that have sound by visual artists. Artists documented in the volume include Vito Acconci, albrecht/d., Laurie Anderson, Guillaume Apollinaire, Karel Appel, Arman, Hans Arp, Antonin Artaud, John Baldessari, Hugo Ball, Claus van Bebber, John Bender, Harry Bertoia, Jean-Pierre Bertrand, Joseph Beuys, Mel Bochner, Claus Böhmler, Christian Boltanski, KP Brehmer, William Burroughs, John Cage, Henri Chopin, Henning Christiansen, Jean Cocteau, William Copley, Philip Corner, Merce Cunningham, Hanne Darboven, Jim Dine, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Fischli and Weiss, R. Buckminster Fuller, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Jack Goldstein, Peter Gordon, Hans Haacke, Richard Hamilton, Bernard Heidsieck, Holger Hiller, Richard Huelsenbeck, Isidore Isou, Marcel Janco, Servie Janssen, Jasper Johns, Joe Jones, Thomas Kapielski, Allan Kaprow, Martin Kippenberger, Per Kirkeby, Cheri Knight, Milan Knizak, Richard Kriesche, Christina Kubisch, Laibach, John Lennon, Sol Lewitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Annea Lockwood, Paul McCarthy, Meredith Monk, Josef Felix Müller, Piotr Nathan, Hermann Nitsch, Albert Oehlen, Frank O’Hara, Claes Oldenburg, Yoko Ono, Dennis Oppenheim, Nam June Paik, Charlemagne Palestine, A.R. Penck, Tom Phillips, Robert Rauschenberg, The Red Crayola, Ursula Reuter Christiansen, Gerhard Richter, Jim Rosenquist, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, Robert Rutman, Sarkis, Thomas Schmit, Conrad Schnitzler, Kurt Schwitters, Selten Gehörte Musik, Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Michael Snow, Keith Sonnier, Strafe für Rebellion, Jean Tinguely, Moniek Toebosch, Tristan Tzara, Ben Vautier, Yoshi Wada, Emmett Walsh, Andy Warhol, William Wegman, and Lawrence Weiner. Ursula Block is a curator living in Berlin, Germany. From 1981 until 2014, she ran gelbe Musik, a gallery and record shop in Berlin that featured work by artists at the crossroads between music and art. Michael Glasmeier is a professor, writer, and editor living in Berlin, Germany. Since the early 1980s, he has curated dozens of shows that explore the intersection between the visual arts, music, film, and language.

Broken Music

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

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

'IMPROVISING’ is the story of an incredible journey by Emma Fischer (painter, graphic designer, ceramist) and Terrie Hessels (guitar player in The Ex) through 21 countries in Africa. They travelled for a year in an old Land Rover. Not as tourists, but as travellers with an open mind and free attitude, dealing with countless unexpected, unpredictable, sometimes risky, but mainly fascinating and fantastic situations.Parking somewhere to sleep, relax and eat, only to be found by locals with whom they interacted, joked and laughed, ate together, listened to music, shared water, improvised. They socialised with Tuareg, Pygmy and Maasai people, with groups of kids, village elders and market women. They bought cassettes from Ethiopian singer Mahmoud Ahmed, participated in a Muslim wedding, struggled through the jungle with locals James, Magliore and Daniel and met many more amazing, very different people.Sometimes they ended up in impossible places and situations: the remote desert, impenetrable jungles with vanished roads, feeble bridges and rusty railways. They encountered wild elephants and hippos and dealt with corrupt customs, military with guns, the French woodcutters mafia and even bumped into the president of the Congo. They witnessed the bizarre leftovers of the colonial era, the terrible tourist industry and the unease of people from ‘outside’, at embassies, companies, even churches and aid organisations. With of course some remarkable exceptions.The journey happened exactly 25 years ago, so besides the personal dealing and wheeling, this book also gives a unique glimpse of that time. The stories come from the daily notes Emma and Terrie wrote in their diary. They didn’t take many photos, because they didn’t want to interrupt the personal interaction, but the ones in the book, as well as Emma’s drawings, are significantly striking. The polaroids had quite a social function as well: they were often shared with the person in the picture.Terrie and Emma had to improvise a lot to accomplish the trip. But the people all over Africa improvise their whole daily lives, staying positive, amazed and open-minded, despite all the problems, setbacks and uncertainties. And no doubt they’re good at it. An inspiring example.This book is all about the year-long ‘improvising’ journey, in the middle of ‘improvising’ people. 

Emma Fischer and Terrie Hessels – Improvising: A One​-​Year Journey Around Africa Photobook