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Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 454 pages
  • Publisher: Continuum (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826416152
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826416155
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #163,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Audio Culture is the best introduction to the long historical fades and theoretical jumpcuts of what millions in the 21st C. now listen to as music: overwhelming noise and disturbed silences, unfettered Improv and indeterminate obstacles, the performance of recording, electricity, eclectics, mistakes and just the thought of music."-Douglas Kahn, author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts, and Director of Technocultural Studies at the University of California, Davis

“[Audio Culture] is an indispensable primer full of the theories behind noise, Free-jazz, minimalism, 20th century composition, ambient, avant-garde and all the other crazy shit your square-ass friends can’t believe you actually like. With writing and interviews from all the players in question (quoting Stockhausen is five points in hipster bingo), this book deconstructs all the essential ideas: Cage’s themes, Eno’s strategies, Zorn’s games and Merzbow’s undying love of porno.” –CMJ New Music Monthly, 7/04

“The contributors include composers from the worlds of avant-garde classical music, pop, and jazz – e.g. John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Pauline Oliveros-as well as cultural historians like Marshall McLuhan and Jacques Barzun and literary experimentalists such as William Burroughs….Students of contemporary music will find this compendium useful.” -Library Journal, September 15, 2004

“Writings on the new music are frequently hidden away in hard-to-find, ephemeral publications, so a collection like this is welcome just by the fact that it brings all these items together….A collection like this encourages us to realize how really vibrant and successful new music has been and continues to be – both because of and in spite of its ‘marginality’ – and how fortunate we are to live in a time of its ascendancy. Cox and Warner have included well-organized discographies and bibliographies, and provide brief introductions to the individual entries, giving some background to each author’s work and ideas. Audio Culture will certainly be a useful teaching tool in the field of cultural studies, aesthetics and musicology; and fans and devotees of new music will find a lot here to mull over as well.” –Signal to Noise, Fall 2004

"It's a hideous fate to wish on an anthology as fine as Audio Culture, but if anyone's planning a college course on modern music, they couldn't find a better set text . . . . All in all, a wonderful book . . . the glossary, bibliography and discography are exemplary, guaranteeing Audio Culture is going to be used rather than merely dipped or cribbed. Though you can bet that'll be happening to it as well."-Brian Morton, The Wire (Brian Morton)

"Cox's and Warner's book is a wonderfully accessible anthology of essential readings for anyone-academics and enthusiasts alike-interested in the histories of experimental music and sound art."-Debra Singer, Executive Director, The Kitchen

"Cox and Warner's book is warmly recommended. It's highly unlikely that readers will have original copies of all the books and articles featured therein, so the simple fact that the editors have gone to the trouble of bringing them together in one volume is to be praised to the skies….Audio Culture is well worth the price of admission for the writings of Russolo, Cowell, Cage, Schafer, McLuhan, Reynolds, Eno and Cutler, to name but a few." —Paristransatlantic.com January 2005

"Ever wondered how modern music in all its mesmerizing diversity really works? If so, then this is the book for you….An endlessly fascinating read, a major reference resource, and great value for the money." —Julian Haylock, Classic FM Magazine (UK) Feb. 1, 2005

“To be honest, no one looking at the collection of 57 well-chosen essays written by some of the biggest names in music and reprinted from books and publications well-noted for their contribution to music theory will be able to resist reading and buying the book. In fact, there is just so much that makes this book valuable that it is difficult to name them all. Both the content and the structure of Audio Culture add to its strength…. The end result is a complete and cohesive treatment of modern music. Anyone who has edited a collection knows that such an outcome is not an easy one to attain, but it is certainly achieved here…. With growing interest in sound on web-based environments and the ease with which to produce it, Cox and Warner’s Audio Culture stands as a must-read for both aspiring artists and music theorists alike.” –Leonardo: The Journal of the International Society for the AAS, Sciences and Technology, October 7, 2004

“Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music is a cannily collected anthology of seminal music writing, your one-stop shopping destination for ear-opening essays on the nature and recent history of music. The obligatory pioneers and almost-pop icons are all there… Audio Culture coeditors Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner range boldly and widely, embracing noise, soundscape listening, minimalism, glitch, plunderphonics, and collective music making… Audio Culture passes the test of a good music book: It’s easy to read, insightful, and inspiring.” –The Stranger, October 7, 2004

“Growing steadily alongside a music-writing canon loaded with the likes of Greil Marcus and Lester Bangs, the body of work sampled in Audio Culture wanders far afield from rock and ponders questions that are less than concerned with ideals of human expression. In this sphere of influence, John Cage is Elvis Presley, Brian Eno’s cerebral musings trump Lou Reed’s tangy antagonism, sonics mean more than lyrics, and movements have yet to be surveyed entirely through a year view…. The best book of its kind, Audio Culture compiles essays and excerpts from artists, critics, and academics given to staring down music with no eyes to return the gaze…. From there, Audio Culture spreads to survey various facets of music and its production, and interpretation. The table of contents reads like a greatest-hits collection: Cage, Eno, Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, David Toop, Kodwo Eshun, Simon Reynolds….Audio Culture dangles intellectual threads fit to tie lifers and open-eared wonderers alike.” –The Onion, November 17, 2004

"indispensable….this is a book that should be read in its totality—it's truly absorbing stuff." —Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwire (UK), February 2005 issue (Stuart Nicholson)

“In Audio Culture, editors Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner bring to readers an educated, timely and much needed critical perspective of our contemporary musical experience through the writings of some of the most important musical thinkers, including Jacques Attali, John Cage, Umberto Eco, Brian Eno, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Edgar Varese, just to name a few. Audio Culture offers a collection of essays that filter a range of experimental musical practices in an unusually refreshing way. Maybe not since Gregory Whitehead’s reader Wireless Imagination (1994) which recorded the ‘silent’ history of audio, has literature on this subject sufficiently captured the attention of both the sound enthusiasts and academics at the same time.… The result is an elegant anthology that compiles the manifestos of ‘old masters’ such as Italian Futurist Luigi Russolo and statements by Edgard Varese and John Cage while also spotlighting an interview on integration of technology into artistic production by Christian Marclay… It is to the credit of the book that it keeps up with the most interesting key texts and ideas in the field and does not make a huge demand on our Windows-culture-inflicted patience. The book is ambitious enough to cater to a broader audience and manages to respond to the numerous demands made upon it.…makes the writings very accessible to readers who are not familiar with the author or topic under discussion. Texts and ideas come from a variety of sources…Audio Culture succinctly captures the last fifty years that has been the most fascinating times for avant-garde experimentation, performances and sonic landscapes, By treating the existing rhizomic dots and lines between myriads of practices in a progressive fashion, it gives the last decade…its attention and maybe its future vocabulary.” –Rhizome.org, 1/28/05

“…offers a collection of essays that filter a range of experimental musical practices in an unusually refreshing way.…an intriguing selection of articles from a range of significant radio-sonic heroes as well as important thinkers and philosophers…an elegant anthology…ambitious… Audio Culture guides the readers an intellectual journey from the year 1877 when the first recording fundamentally transformed sound, towards almost better understanding our present culture of omnipresent ipod-users, polyphonic cell-phone ringers and Bjork’s Medula, helping both the experts and enthusiasts to new ways of thinking, tracing, developing and presenting audio culture.” –rhizome.org (Weekly Digest), 2/05

“…this is a book that should be read in its totality – it’s truly absorbing stuff.” –Jazzwise, Stuart Nicholson, 1st February 2005

Review –Sonic (Scandinavia)

“…eminently readable…experimental music enthusiasts and the pipe-and-elbow patch crowd should find plenty in here to peak their interest.… Audio Culture doesn’t limit itself to traditional ways of looking at music, just as it doesn’t limit its rogue’s gallery of contributors…topics such as minimalist compositions and noise-based music are finally given some long-overdue critical attention.” –Creative Loafing (Charlotte), 3/05

“…Audio Culture’s assemblage of key writings, texts, and manifestos spanning over a century tells that story better than just about anything else in print, while discovering new tributaries in the process.” –Frieze (U.K. art magazine), 3/9/05

“Audio Culture is a book to provoke thought…This is an excellent selection of texts.” –Radical Philosophy 133, September/ October 2005 (Radical Philosophy)

"It's a hideous fate to wish on an anthology as fine as Audio Culture, but if anyone's planning a college course on modern music, they couldn't find a better set text . . . . All in all, a wonderful book . . . the glossary, bibliography and discography are exemplary, guaranteeing Audio Culture is going to be used rather than merely dipped or cribbed. Though you can bet that'll be happening to it as well."-Brian Morton, The Wire (Sanford Lakoff)

"indispensable….this is a book that should be read in its totality—it's truly absorbing stuff." —Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwire (UK), February 2005 issue (Sanford Lakoff)

About the Author

Christoph Cox is Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College and a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. Daniel Warner is Professor of Music at Hampshire College, where he teaches electronic and computer music.

More About the Author

Christoph Cox is Professor of Philosophy at Hampshire College and a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. He is the author of Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation (1999) and co-editor of Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (2004). Cox has curated exhibitions at the Kitchen, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and other venues. His essays on philosophy, art, and music have appeared October, Artforum, the Journal of Visual Culture, the Journal of the History of Philosophy and other journals and magazines. Cox is currently working on two books, a philosophical book about sound art and experimental music, and an anthology examining the impact of new realist and materialist philosophies on artistic discourse and practice.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Nicolas Raddatz on June 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a very comprehensive guide on the different sides of "audio culture". Many of the authors and readings you'll find here are among the most influential on the subject...From Luigi Russolo's futurist musical manifesto to Brian Eno's ambient music, coming across Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Cage, Kim Cascone, etc. Very thought-provoking, it gives an interesting macro view of the world of audio as well as the different currents and inflexion points that have changed the way we perceive music and its context...

I definitely recommend it, but beware: you'll want more!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Michael Tiemann on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is quite a challenge to write a review when just thinking about a book renders one speechless. The very first chapter (an excerpt from Jacques Attali) is more explosive that the opening sequence of a James Bond movie, with insights as penetrating as any I have read about quantum mechanics, astrophysics, economics, or philosophy. And that chapter was only two pages long!

Not all of the book spoke to me, because it covers an extremely wide range of topics, not all of which are of interest to me. But every single chapter that remotely connected with my interest in music, economics, culture, freedom, and sustainability spoke so clearly, so cogently, so powerfully, and so affirmingly YES! that I give the whole work five stars.

I was a reader (and lover) of The Rest is Noise by Alex Ross, and what he did in the way of explaining the evolution of modern musical composition, this book does for modern musical production, as well as the recontextualization of modern music *experience*. Indeed, I will say that this book really does pick up, and deliver, about where Ross's book exhausts itself. And it does so entirely with the words of the great producers, performers, and philosophers of this modern era.
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By hillary on July 1, 2014
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this book offers a great insight into the origins of sounds and music and explores where it may be headed
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I can't say enough about how much I've enjoyed this collection of essays. Even if you look through the table of contents and see pieces of work you may already have (Such as Luigi Russolo's "The Art of Noises") there are so many other pieces of writing from such varied artists as William S. Burroughs, Umberto Eco, Brian Eno, Morton Feldman you should find more than enough to make the purchase price a worthwhile investment. Best of all there's only ONE essay by Paul D. Miller and NONE from Markus Popp!

If you enjoy critical thinking about modern music, this is a must-have.
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By Brian on February 25, 2014
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Textbook for my son. Received in timely manner. Book in great shape. Not dog eared, no stray markings or any type of indications of inappropriate use or wear. Excellent!
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