Anybody reading Curtis Roads?

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Opus110
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Anybody reading Curtis Roads?

Post by Opus110 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:49 pm

"Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic"



Came out this summer. I've been in it for a couple of weeks and finding it absolutely illuminating. It ties in wonderfully well with many of the discussions/reflections/arguments we've had here in the past months regarding aesthetics, formal design, improvisation, composition, etc., in electronic music.

Anybody else here reading it?
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ac
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Post by ac » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:53 pm

I've been waiting to hear a review before buying so I'll watch this thread...glad to hear that you find it to be good

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listentoaheartbeat
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Post by listentoaheartbeat » Wed Aug 19, 2015 3:58 pm

Definitely up next after my current reads. Microsound and the Computer Music Tutorial are both excellent, looking forward to this one.

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Post by ear ear » Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:22 pm

You can get it directly from the publisher here.
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Post by extra testicle » Wed Aug 19, 2015 8:39 pm

does it give examples of compositional systems and interfaces people have used to work with them?

i like coming up with my own stuff, but when people have spent years/decades developing their own and given my limited resources of time to work and take in new experience i like to get other perspectives.

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thresholdpeople
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Post by thresholdpeople » Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:12 pm

I'm reading it too. Currently on the chapter about rhythm.

The book is both an overview of the implications of being able to create and shape sounds on multiple time levels, simultaneously, while also having the entirety of heard and unheard sound as potential material to work with. Not being tied to a specific gesture or action, sound palette, process, or time frame for sound creation, it's hard to pin down an aesthetic coherence for discussion. An individual's process to create may be based around a unique amalgamation of tools, some of them custom made.

So far it's been incredibly general, and more or less just a gathering of ideas. That being said, I'm the first chapter in beyond what's essential the background/foundational chapters. Roads says this in the intro. It's also not a general aesthetics, or not supposed to be, but one from Roads' perspective, so a lot of granular audio building blocks, but it hasn't gotten to his process yet (in a few pages it gets to his approach to rhythm, the first time a section is overtly about his approach).

It seems like it'll tie many concepts together into one book. And I don't know how specific it will ever get, but it has listening examples, and the bibliography, works cited and names cited, to me, are worth the cost of the book.

Seems like/hopefully it will be a guide through different concepts, steering the reader in the right direction without ever telling them exactly what to think.

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Post by sparvs » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:10 am

I'm 70 pages in. You could basically see it as a rather technical survey of the various approaches to composition in just about the entire history of electronic music, without expecting a conclusion or a new direction, and it's good enough at that. I don't know of another book that does that this thoroughly.

It's THE book to read if online debates / advice on alternative musical aesthetics and theory leave you wanting.

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Post by AlexRuger » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:05 am

If this is the same Curtis Roads that wrote the Computer Music Tutorial, I'm so in.

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Post by richard » Fri Aug 21, 2015 2:53 am

I think his music is very underrated too. I heard one of his recent multichannel pieces in Athens last year, it was a really special moment for me.
Bastard Science Vol.1 and 2 (Hordik, Buchla, Serge, EMS, Oberheim) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-1
https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-2

Tales from the Voodoo Box (EMS Synthi A solos) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ynthesiser

Richard Scott - Several Circles https://cuspeditions.bandcamp.com/album ... al-circles

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Post by pixelmechanic » Fri Aug 21, 2015 3:55 am

richard wrote:I think his music is very underrated too.
+1

I listen to Point Line Cloud regularly...

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myecholalia
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Post by myecholalia » Fri Aug 21, 2015 4:04 am

Ordered this and Microsound a couple of days ago. Should be here soon. Stoked!

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Post by jjsynth » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:11 am

Point Line Cloud is great, I also liked the Computer Music Tutorial a lot.

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Post by richard » Fri Aug 21, 2015 5:20 am

my feeling is he has moved ahead considerably since Point Line Cloud, the newer work I heard used a similar langauge but was less like a demonstation of technique. Freer, deeper and more accomplished in every aspect. That was my impression anyway.
Bastard Science Vol.1 and 2 (Hordik, Buchla, Serge, EMS, Oberheim) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-1
https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ence-vol-2

Tales from the Voodoo Box (EMS Synthi A solos) https://soundanatomy.bandcamp.com/album ... ynthesiser

Richard Scott - Several Circles https://cuspeditions.bandcamp.com/album ... al-circles

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Post by numan7 » Fri Aug 21, 2015 9:31 am

this looks very, very interesting... will definitely read -- thanks for the heads-up!

cheers
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Post by freq_divider » Fri Aug 21, 2015 11:32 am

+ 1 for Microsound, a great book, and thanks for pointing this one out
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Post by mgscheue » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:29 am

Thanks! I bought the Kindle version of "Composing..." last night and read the first chapter before bed. Looks great! Coincidentally, I just bought a Phonogene, and the manual references "Microsound". I'll have to get that soon, too.

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Post by thelizard » Sun Aug 23, 2015 3:34 pm

I helped edit the Rhythm chapter! He's my academic advisor and a good friend.

He and I have taught a course on Modular Synthesis and Composition over the past two years. I'm trying to distill the essence of the course down into a textbook as part of my dissertation. It's coming along, and I've received helpful feedback from a number of modular musicians and manufacturers.

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myecholalia
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Post by myecholalia » Sun Aug 23, 2015 6:06 pm

Sounds good, thelizard
Anything about modulars and composition is appreciated.
Keep us updated about publishing details of your book when the time is right.

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Post by sleestack777 » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:16 pm

looks good!

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Post by Jumbuktu » Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:37 am

I have the Kindle version. It is great reading, particularly to get a feel for the history of electronic music (if you don't already have it).

It won't tell you how to compose, but there are lots of approaches to think about, and a website with soundbites.

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Post by Rhizomatics » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:11 pm

I find his Microsound to be fairly interesting reading... as a conceptual framework.

The discussion of time-scales etc particularly.

--

Conceptually speaking I found this text rather interesting in terms of recent theory regarding "electronic" and "experimental music".

http://www.zero-books.net/books/infinite-music

--

As an aside - I am involved in running a reading group at the Sonic Arts gallery that I work at. We read a chapter, essay, extract etc from an applicable text monthly: http://auricle.org.nz/reading-group/

Are there any specific chapter/s from Roads "Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic" that people would recommend for these purposes?

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Post by aaooaa » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:32 pm

Is there an ebook version anywhere?

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Post by kisielk » Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:57 pm

aaooaa wrote:Is there an ebook version anywhere?
Just bought it for Kindle from Amazon.

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xclark
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Post by xclark » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:32 am

kisielk wrote:Just bought it for Kindle from Amazon.
Are the audio examples linked (included) within the Kindle version?

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Post by kisielk » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:39 am

xclark wrote:
kisielk wrote:Just bought it for Kindle from Amazon.
Are the audio examples linked (included) within the Kindle version?
They're not embedded, you have to go to the companion site yourself to listen to them.

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