As there are quite a few changes to this FAQ, with two entirely new sections, we're very open to comments. Are the new sections useful? Do you have anything else you'd like to add to the FAQ?
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In practice, there are several readily identifiable musical "genres" which fall under the post-classical heading, or overlap with it. These include musique concrete, minimalism, indeterminate and aleatoric composition, sound ecology, ambient and post-industrial musics, electro-acoustic music and several other areas. In general, "composed" music is post-classical while "improvised" music is not, but there are enough works that don't fit these tidy pigeonholes to ensure there's no precise boundary. More details can be found in section 10.
The CD Connection comes to us via the Internet and has a large selection of domestic and import CDs that pertain to post-classical music. The biggest benefit of CDC (aside from it's large selection) is its easy searching capabilities.
Isolation Tank is new mail order company that specializes in industrial, trance, electronic, experimental, ambient, and gothic music. A quick perusal through their catalog found titles by Laibach, Autopsia among others.
Metamkine distributes recordings of musique concrete, electro-acoustic and post-industrial experimentation from artists like Bernard Parmegiani, Luc Ferrari, P16D4 and Jim O'Rourke. Their own label has released two full-size CDs and an excellent series entitled "Collection Cinema pour l'oreille", with over a dozen mini-CD releases to date.
A label that specializes in 20th Century classical material like John Cage, Reich, Dresher, etc. Wayside (see below) carries a good portion of their selection as well.
The umbrella foundation acts as home to ?What Next? Recordings and the compilation CD series, The Aerial, which has featured work by artists as diverse as The Hafler Trio, Derek Bailey and Nicolas Collins. ?What Next? have releases by the Deep Listening Band, improvisors Ikue Mori & Tenko, the excellent Annea Lockwood, and others. They also distribute other items recorded by these artists.
They run a label, and a distribution service. Their mail-order catalogue runs to over 130 pages, with a wide variety of industrial, experimental and avant-garde recordings (including labels like Subterranean, RRR, Staalplaat, United Dairies, Sub Rosa and Multimood) and publications, taking in avant-jazz, musique concrete, and even On-U Sound along the way.
Playing By Ear has a wide variety of in-house selections covering all areas of the musical spectrum. If it's Paul Schutze, Art Zoyd, Shinjuku Thief, or Arvo Part you're looking for, chances are you'll find it here. PBE is also an official US distributor for releases on the Extreme label.
Chris Cutler's Recommended Records has become ReR, distributing and mail-ordering much the same sort of stuff as before; avant-classical; electro-acoustic; Rock in Opposition; groups like AMM, Cassiber, Faust, Magma, Negativland or The Work. They also still publish the ReR Quarterly, a well-respected magazine and accompanying music compilation.
Soleilmoon is probably the best source in the USA for industrial-related material. The likes of Morton Feldman, Giacinto Scelsi, C-Schulz, and Diamanda Galas can be found as well.
As well as the well-stocked and wide-ranging shop, open 12-5 Monday to Saturday, These Records do the same job with their mail-order catalogue. Lots of stuff from labels like ReR and Rec Rec, plus experimental artists from Faust through contemporary classical composers through improv groups to less categorisable types.
Wayside has a large selection that caters to the styles of experimental progressive rock, new age and ambient industrial. A good source for the likes of Art Zoyd, Daniel Denis, Tod Dockstader, Glenn Branca, and Elliot Sharp. Also check out PC-related artists on the New Albion label.
If it's diversity you're after then Audion is a definite possibility. Although its favourite genre remains '70's progressive rock, it's tentacles reach out into most areas of innovative new music. Featured artists have included John Cage, Xenakis, Lightwave, Steve Hackett, Arthur Brown, Peter Michael Hamel, and the forefather of noise music, Luigi Russolo.
Very in-depth technical journal on all aspects of computer music, but with some reviews of recordings and events, and announcements of new releases. Quarterly, $11 per issue/$42 per year.
EST is a large format zine devoted to all forms of experimental, avant-garde, industrial and post-classical music. Published by Brian Duguid, a regular contributor to PC-list!
This zine's tastes are best illustrated by some of the likes of Albert Ayler, Eugene Chadbourne, God, Kronos Quartet, Z'Ev. Record reviews are a cut above other zines' efforts, and the book/video reviews are particularly welcome.
If the conjunction of ethnic and avant-garde music is of any interest to you, this is probably the zine to get. I/E supports an attractive design and includes interviews and reviews from the likes of Jon Hassell, Mo Boma, Life Garden, Jeff Greinke, Steve Roach, Paul Schutze, and O Yuki Conjugate.
The Rolls-Royce of the zines aimed at the younger side of the electronic music audience. Everything from musique concrete to electrobeat is covered here. Focus centers on the reviews which are both timely and intellectually written.
Another British journal, slick and Option-like. Articles and interviews tend to be relatively superficial, though there have been some useful material. About 60-70% contemporary classical music in each issue. Monthly, $5 per issue/$60 per year.
This is one of the bigger underground electronic-ambient magazines. Very eclectic in style with an abundance of reviews of the latest releases. Some of the reviews lack depth, but overall ND gives more bang for the buck than most.
PC-list's own Scott Lewis writes the majority of post-classical reviews in this alternative zine! Option manages to be both intellectual and unpretentious in its tastes. Also includes lots of ads and a slick design to boot.
An American scholarly journal, with material ranging from highly technical discussions of compositional methods and approaches, to reviews of recordings and events and less technical articles. A solid read, but might be a bit technical for non-musicians. Bi-annual, $15 per issue (+$10 for CD)/$37 per year.
For those that can read French, this is a must-read. Coverage includes the likes of Etant Donnes, Art Zoyd, Henry Kaiser, Un Drame Musical Instantane, etc. A bit more artsy and intellectual than the rest of the pack.
Look for reviews by PC-list's Ashok Divakaran in this multi-dimensional zine! Covers a broad array of electronic music, from techno to ambient industrial. Good reviews and extremely solid interviews. Reviews cover everything from Amorphous Androgynous to John Watermann.
The best journal on contemporary classical music that I've come across. Very well-researched articles, generally balanced and informed reviews. The emphasis is more on European works and events. Quarterly, $6.50 per issue/$25 per year.
VITAL is a Dutch public-domain zine which aims to span both the academic realm and the underground. The music covered is strictly in the electronic/post-industrial vein and the reviews are somewhat technical and detail-oriented. Includes a healthy mix of both big and obscure names.
Each chapter of this book incorporates a theme and uses a composer/band to illustrate the theme. A good source of material on innovators such as Ernst Krenek, Milton Babbit, Elliot Carter, John Cage, Ralph Shapely, Frederic Rzewski, David Behrman, The Art Ensemble Of Chicago, & others.
Brief but informative factual discussions of the music of the four best known minimalists (Glass, Reich, Riley, Young) plus a slightly conventional discussion of compositional prehistory (Schoenberg, Webern, Stockhausen, Cage) and abstruse ideological philosophy drawing on the ideas of Adorno, Deleuze and Lyotard. Give me Jacques Attali any day. :-) [BD]
Interviews with pre and post minimalist composers inc Ashley, Glass, Reich, Riley, Young, Cage, Branca, Crumb, Lucier, Monk, Oliveros, Wolff, Lentz etc.
Reprints the writings of Futurist Russolo, whose words (if not his actual music) pre-figured several major developments in modern avant-garde composition: use of noise, collage of non-instrumental sounds, environmental sounds heard as music etc.
This book covers the regulars like Babbitt and Carter, but also has articles by Brian Eno and Steve Reich, material on Fluxus, and info on the Minimalists.
A flawed guide, but useful. Lists several important out-of-print electronic, new music and musique concrete albums, and explores the history of Theremin, Schaeffer, Cage, Stockhausen etc. without being afraid to mention names like Merzbow and Throbbing Gristle.
Roxy Music man's well-informed guide to the field stretches from Stevie Wonder to Iannis Xenakis. Lots of nice illustrations, but a bit dated.
A classic guide to 50s and 60s experimental music.
Opens with a solid introduction of the granddaddies of experimental music (Ives, Varese, Stravinsky, Cage) and then focuses primarily on concepts and composers of the 1960s (Reich, Cage, Lucier, Branca, Monk, Chatham, Jarre, Ashley etc). The book is directed more toward experimental music than experimental pop.
Excellent coverage of both contemporary and experimental classical music with some nice illustrations. This book serves as a good reference for those curious about the likes of Stravinsky, Concrete and Electronic Music, and computer-aided composition.
History of 20th century avant-garde composition, covering Luigi Russolo, Stockhausen, Cage, Xenakis, Parmegiani, Cowell, Nono, serialism, early electronic music, minimalism, musique concrete, sound sculpture, live electronics and more. Communicates enthusiasm, easy to find fault with but very useful.
A comprehensive directory of relevant artists, their recordings, and information pertaining to experimental music. Despite it's potential Windham Hill new age-ish bias, it's still the only book which mananges to mention Hildegarde von Bingen, Pauline Oliveros and John Zorn on the same page. John Schaeffer hosts the "New Sounds" radio show in NYC on 93.5 FM.
Glass isn't an inspiring writer, and this lengthy account of the musical and philosophical ideas behind his three major operas (Einstein on the Beach, Akhnaten, Satyagraha) frequently palls. Includes librettos, musical examples, photos and a catalogue of works.
Lengthy interview and articles about Glenn Branca, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Fred Frith and the Residents. Packed with information on all four, now slightly out of date. Enthusiastic writing style can be a bit irritating at times!
While the first volume centered on academic American composers, this volume features in-depth interviews with Glenn Branca, Anthony Braxton, Lou Harrison, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, Sun Ra, James Tenney, LaMonte Young, John Zorn, and others. Long discographies and plenty of cool facts and trivia.
Probably the best guide to the industrial end of the post-classical spectrum.
Includes recent interviews with Kagel, Crumb, Earl Brown, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Cage (ok, not so recent), and lots of others (Carter, Lutoslawski, etc).
Another comprehensive classic covering many modern composers. Older than the Griffiths' book listed above but with many similarities. A recommended collection which packs hoards of information into 250 pages.
Reprints of Village Voice new music articles from 1972-1982 by Tom Johnson, characterised by their straightforward open-mindedness. A crucial document of all the minimalists who DIDN'T achieve international fame.
Whenever anyone starts labelling music, they're always attacked by people who hate "categories", so to pre-empt any flames, the following are *not* categories, they're just terms used to identify common musical characteristics and traditions. :-)
|Beast Of Eden||Christopher Hanis||Harvey Thornburg|
|Richard Barnett||Malcolm Humes||Stephane Vuilleumier|
|Mike Borella||Scott Lewis||Matt White|
|Henry Burdett||Peter Miller||Gabriel Yedid|
|Michael DeMurga||Patrice L. Roussel||Dan Young|
|Ashok Divakaran||Daniel Selzer||Alex Zbyslaw|
|Brian Duguid||Jason S. Shapiro||Joseph Zitt|
|Bill Hsu||Andrew Brooks|
Special thanks to Dave Datta for providing the site to maintain the post-classical mailing list.
The post-classical FAQ was originally compiled by: Paul Rafanello (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tim Zeigler (email@example.com)
and is currently maintained by: Malcolm Humes (firstname.lastname@example.org) Brian Duguid (BD1@mm-croy.mottmac.co.uk)