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Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press; Pap/Com edition (March 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262633639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262633635
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 7 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"What a marvelous collection! This provocative and wide ranging book is packed with a vast number of facts and theories: the sound of creation in the Vedas, the Muslim influence on early hip hop, mathematical permutations of bell patterns (Eno), the term "Emptyv" (Chuck D).The essays criss cross over many aspects of sound--cosmic, chemical, political, economic. It sparks questions (Can sound be translated into light?) and presents bits of information like the name for Jamaican sound systems ("Houses of Joy"). Plus you get to meet fascinating characters like Alex Steinweiss (album cover artist), Motown's Berry Gordon and synthesizer pioneer Raymond Scott. And you get to consider how Bach's style might have been influenced by his job copying Vivaldi scores. Reading Sound Unbound also invites you to reconsider techno hype, as when Bruce Sterling describes laptops as 'colorful, buzzing cuddly things with the lifespan of hamsters.' I love this book!" -Laurie Anderson



"For the maverick rhythm scientist Paul D. Miller, sound is liquid; it spills over and slips under categories, firewalls, case law, and legal codes to find us and move us. In the same way, his important collection of sound thinkers and sound ideas calls us to remove the fake 'security' imposed on us by capital and state, and, more crucially, to reimagine freedom and reclaim our creativity."--Jeff Chang, author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation

(Jeff Chang)

"Everything must be about one thing first, then it can be about many things. Paul Miller's collection of texts is about one thing: the use of scanning in music and more generally the world around us. He gives us a single structure to put very different experiences and theoretical constructs into an overarching context. The result is always interesting and often illuminating. These essays by thinkers and practitioners range widely and produce their own static and interferences, but they fall into one perceptible rhythm. A good staging of an opera uses what you see on stage to make you hear better. Similarly, these reflections make it easier to tune in to the sometimes confusing soundscape of our dislocated, interrelated, networked times."--Robert Wilson

(Robert Wilson)

"It's a lovely eclectic collection that is a nice antidote to the usual way music and the history of music is often categorized into high/low, pop/classical, or black/white. I like Sterling's analogy between our beloved high tech media and inscrutable indecipherable archaic media like Incanquipus. From Raymond Scott to the hidden racism in digital circuitry to ahistory of easy listening there is enough inspiring weirdness here to fuel some musical fires for a good while."--David Byrne

(David Byrne)

"Everything must be about one thing first, then it can be about many things. Paul Miller's collection of texts is about one thing: the use of scanning in music and more generally the world around us. He gives us a single structure to put very different experiences and theoretical constructs into an overarching context. The result is always interesting and often illuminating. These essays by thinkers and practitioners range widely and produce their own static and interferences, but they fall into one perceptible rhythm. A good staging of an opera uses what you see on stage to make you hear better. Similarly, these reflections make it easier to tune in to the sometimes confusing soundscape of our dislocated, interrelated, networked times." Robert Wilson



"For the maverick rhythm scientist Paul D. Miller, sound is liquid; it spills over and slips under categories, firewalls, case law, and legal codes to find us and move us. In the same way, his important collection of sound thinkers and sound ideas calls us to remove the fake 'security' imposed on us by capital and state, and, more crucially, to reimagine freedom and reclaim our creativity." Jeff Chang , author of Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation



"It's a lovely eclectic collection that is a nice antidote to the usual way music and the history of music is often categorized into high/low, pop/classical, or black/white. I like Sterling's analogy between our beloved high-tech media and inscrutable indecipherable archaic media like Incan quipus. From Raymond Scott to the hidden racism in digital circuitry to a history of easy listening, there is enough inspiring weirdness here to fuel some musical fires for a good while." David Byrne



"Paul Miller has grabbed disparate philosophies and references from the past five hundred years and tied them into a neat and interesting narrative on music, sound, and current thought in our time. Sound Unbound is an excellent reference on art in the popular context in the twenty-first century." Branford Marsalis



"Paul Miller is one of the best cultural radars in the world today. He always picks out the most relevant people working today and reveals previously unseen connections. If you want situational awareness about the world of sound, music, performance, computers, and ideas, read this book." Lev Manovich , Visual Arts Department, University of California, San Diego,



"...this is a provocative and intriguing text, of interest to anyone working in or studying contemporary experimental music." Dave Valencia Library Journal

About the Author

Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, That Subliminal Kid, is a composer, multimedia artist, and writer. He is the author of Rhythm Science and Sound Unbound, both published by the MIT Press.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By adroth on June 13, 2008
Format: Paperback
I just finished this one. If you're looking for insight from the myriad influential contributors, you'll find that and much more here. The book's themes run deep, weaving together music history and theory with meditations on technology, perception, and cultural zeitgeist. I went in curious how the ideas of Brian Eno, Bruce Sterling, Cory Doctorow, and Chuck D would cohere under the editorial hand of DJ Spooky. Color me surprised - it's an enlightening trip! A must-read!
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Format: Paperback
This book shows off Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky's two biggest strengths, the mashup and the teamup. The big name roster didn't deliver scraps; they all provide thoughtful and entertaining essays, for example Jonathan Lethem's essay also features the key to that same essay showing where he "plagiarized" just about ever phrase in the proceeding few pages. Saul Williams, provides a pensive meditation on words as magic, something I was more used to hearing out of Grant Morrison or Alan Moore, but Williams is sincere and Smart. And the inclusion of unsung geniuses like Alex Steinweiss, the inventor of the record jacket (before him there was no art on albums, you only saw their spine at the store) pushes it over the top and into the zone. The included CD is way cool in and of itself; its easy to poopoo such ambitious works, but Spooky lays it all down with love not pretense, throwing snippets of James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs -- all actual spoken word from the Sub Rosa archivce over some avantgarde classical like John Cage, and then enriched by textured groovy beats... Spooky's having a ball and sharing the fun
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Julian D. Santa-Rita on July 7, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is excellent. It comes with a a CD of some really excellent mashup too. I've really enjoyed the differnt writing styles and the great anecdotes that present themselves in this compilation of what is essentially a book of post-graduate papers on music and it's evolving relationship with the world. Delightfully rich with first person experience and gives you something to listen too in the background.Yummy for my sonic tummy.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Livi on July 2, 2008
Format: Paperback
Sound Unbound brilliantly details the explosion of culteral diffusion in the 21st century as a result of advancements in technology. The book consists of several excellently written essays whose authors range from rappers to scientists, sampling various viewpioints from one another. DJ Spooky successfully conveys how both in the past and today, now more than ever, art is naturally derrivative; stemming from one source after another.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Khujeci Tomai on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback
This anthology includes essays by David Allenby Pierre Boulez, Catherine Corman, Chuck D, Erik Davis, Scott De Lahunta, Manuel DeLanda, Cory Doctorow, Eveline Domnitch Frances Dyson, Ron Eglash, Brian Eno, Dmitry Gelfand, Dick Hebdige, Lee Hirsch, Vijay Iyer, Ken Jordan, Douglas Kahn, Daphne Keller, Beryl Korot, Jaron Lanier, Joseph Lanza, Jonathan Lethem, Carlo McCormick, Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen, Alondra Nelson, Keith and Mendi, Obadike, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pauline Oliveros, Philippe Parreno, Ibrahim Quraishi, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Nadine Robinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Alex Steinweiss, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, Saul Williams, Jeff E. Winner.
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