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Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music - Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner (eds.)

Published by Continuum, 2004/2010 (454 pages; paperback)

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Edited by The Wire contributor Christoph Cox and Daniel Warner, Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music maps the aural and discursive terrain of vanguard music today. Rather than offering a history of contemporary music, Audio Culture traces the genealogy of current musical practices and theoretical concerns, drawing lines of connection between recent musical production and earlier moments of sonic experimentation. It aims to foreground the various rewirings of musical composition and performance that have taken place in the past few decades and to provide a critical and theoretical language for this new audio culture. Via writings by philosophers, cultural theorists, and composers, Audio Culture explores the interconnections among such forms as minimalism, indeterminacy, musique concrète, free improvisation, experimental music, avant-rock, dub reggae, Ambient music, HipHop, and Techno.

Writers include some of the most important musical thinkers of the past half-century (many of them contributors to The Wire), among them John Cage, Brian Eno, Kodwo Eshun, Glenn Gould, Umberto Eco, Ornette Coleman, Jacques Attali, Simon Reynolds, Pauline Oliveros, Paul D. Miller, Steve Reich, David Toop, John Zorn, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Aphex Twin and many others. The book is divided into nine thematically-organized sections, each with its own introduction. Section headings include topics such as "Modes of Listening," "Minimalisms," and "DJ Culture." In addition, each essay has its own short introduction, helping the reader to place the essay within musical, historical, and conceptual contexts. The book concludes with a glossary, a timeline, and an extensive discography.