130120091491

This Book collects writings from a variety of authors: included are, among others, Rainer Maria Rilke, John Cage, R. Murray Schafer, Steve Lacy, Michael Ondaatje, Pauline Oliveros, David Toop, Francesco Lopez, Toru Takemitsu and Bernie Krause, to name a few. Here starts my problem with this publication: the sources are of such variety that the book lacks a certain focus. All kinds of text forms appear – interview, essay, collage, project description etc. – and the conjunction of nature and music is spreaded to an extend that the whole effort of this book appears a bit arbitrary. This starts with the introduction of David Rothenberg which – in my sense – collects nothing else than usual stereotypes about the relation of music and nature. Nonetheless the book can function as a starting point on the thinking of certain composers and writers. In that sense I found the essay “Lift-up-over sounding” of Steven Feld very interesting and a good introduction to his field work in Papua New Guinea. Strikingly blunt and disillusionizing then the interview Tim Hodgkinson conducted with Pierre Schaeffer in which the musique concrete legend speaks of his disgust towards the rock music his daugther listens to. He even let himself be carried away to the point to say that we live in barbarian times musicwise and that he hopes civilization eventually collapses one day and makes place for another renaissance. Surprisingly he considers musique concrete not as music but sound structure and himself as a researcher rather than a musician or composer. In this sense the book is helpful in a completely other direction: it reveals that Schaeffers thinking was basically very technical and restricted and makes him probably one of the most overestimated music theorists of the last century.