Friday, November 25, 2011


As an audio signal,  pink noise has been described as a random distribution of all audible frequencies in which every octave has equal amplitude or loudness.  Allen Strange,  in his groundbreaking  book ELECTRONIC MUSIC (1972, 1983),  calls this signal "pink sound",  thus obviating the negative connotations of the word "noise".  Pink noise as an entity and as a frame of mind suggests an egalitarian and inclusive approach to music-making,  technology use,  and  gender roles.  This collection of interviews with female musicians,  DJs,  and instrument makers,  seeks to level the playing field while promoting feminist and social concerns.  To most folks,  noise-making is consigned to men like Merzbow,  Whitehouse,  and even  musique concrete maestro Pierre Schaeffer.  While Masami Akita's first wife Reiko was originally part of Merzbow's sonic maelstom,  few who bought their cassettes,  albums,  and CDs thought of Reiko as an integral part of the Merzbow experience.  I would have loved to have read an interview with her,  especially in light of Japanese culture's cult of female subservience.  Beyond this omission,  this publication (which started life in 2000 as brings together 24 interviews with a diverse group of women that range from composers to remixers to installation artists to synth-makers and beyond.  Some interviews garbbed me more than others,  but all are worthy of being read and discussed further. My particular favorites include synthesist Eliane Radigue,  drummer Ikue Mori, and musician/synth designer & builder Jessica Rylan.  They all tell stories of grappling with tired male attitudes concerning use of technology,  the creative process,  and  performance.  Rylan,  in particular sheds light on the beauty of circuit design and the moral dilemma of sweatshop production of those same circuit boards. Why do most of us set ourselves apart from that kind of social/moral concern? Could it be our particular gender circuits?  Tara Rodgers has assembled an insightful series of interviews that do far more than entertain. Read this book.

No comments:

Post a Comment