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Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture Paperback – March 14, 2008
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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!
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
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,
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
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
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.
...this is a provocative and intriguing text, of interest to anyone
working in or studying contemporary experimental music.
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this book gives a multilayered analysis of sound, music, space, and video allusions (not to be mistaken for hallucinations). Read morePublished on March 31, 2013 by Akinseye Akinbulumo
This book was extremely helpful in writing a research paper that I have been working on! Quality work and overall a really great buy!Published on October 4, 2011 by Shellshockkk
Educating yourself should always be this much fun! I especially enjoyed the intro by Steve Reich, and Jeff Winner's chapter. Read morePublished on October 18, 2008 by Lethan W.
Great Book. A lot of intelligent essays on very relevant topics. As someone who enjoys sampling digital music, I find it very helpful to hear what my peers are thinking about the... Read morePublished on September 28, 2008 by Jason Normansen