John Maus relaxes with a copy of Infinite Music.
Photographed by Patrick Barrett, London, November 17th 2011.
Thought I'd do a roundup of some of the material that's come up on the subject of my book Infinite Music: Imagining the Next Millennium of Human Music-Making since its publication.
In Wire magazine #336, Chris Sharp reviewed Infinite Music, calling it:
"A painstaking conceptual dissection... which... sets out to atomise and reconfigure every last assumption about what music is and how it can be made - revealing even the most catholic taste to be inherently limited... Infinite Music is not about the music that you already know - that narrow range of tonal, textual and rhytmic tactics that the last millennium of music makers have seen fit to employ. Instead, it's a futuristic manifesto for a revitalised musical modernism, a thought-strategy designed to unchain us from our hoary old traditions, a framework for the imagination which calls into being an uncharted cosmos of musical possibility."Tom Astley reviewed it for Oxonian Review (click here), saying:
"Harper is searching for a more holistic musical egalitarianism, one that treats timbre, instrumentation, and performance conventions with the same levelling hand as serialism did pitch. “No restrictions whatsoever” is what Harper demands of this new modernism, and it is a cri de coeur that is as meticulously and thoroughly explained as it is inspiringly progressive...If there is a danger that a manifesto such as Harper’s—one that propounds a more egalitarian musical world and seeks to imagine the future—should drift into idealism and daydream, or worse, into the very type of proscriptive demagoguery that it seeks to dispel, then Harper counteracts it by providing a framework for reassessing music-making that is practical and thorough, wide-ranging and speculative, yet honest and humble in its intentions... “Why shouldn’t we try to imagine another thousand years of musical history?” asks Harper, defiantly. And in imagining a music with infinite possibility, Harper sees an inspiring, albeit tentative, precursor of this future."Reviewing (in German) for Groove Magazine, Philipp Rhensius says (and I translate):
"With his book Infinite Music Adam Harper provides answers that clean away the old structures of thought and make a realistic Utopia of music visible. He grabs the culture of pessimism by the collar and reminds it that music means more than organised sound... The music of the future is in our hands."Further to his comments on the back of the book, electronic composer Cristian Vogel wrote on his blog:
"It's a very important text for composers today and in the future, and for disillusioned listeners who may feel the need to re-engage with the massive significance of music and music creation in our times... Adam’s book describes the spirit of an open-ended system of continuous, multidimensional musical complexity, based on intuition and technology, culture and community."I was interviewed about Infinite Music by Ben-Beaumont Thomas for a feature on one of the Guardian's Music Weekly Podcasts, which also featured Dan Hancox and Alexis Petridis - click here to listen to or download it.
The talk I gave on IM at Café OTO in January on the book was recorded by NTS, and I've uploaded it to my SoundCloud - listen or download below:
At a conference at Warwick University in February, Daniel Neofetou delivered a fascinating response to IM, do read it here. I hope to follow it up soon.
In other news, I wrote a piece for Dummy about some of the aesthetic polarities conjured and challenged by [Scratcha] DVA's new album Pretty Ugly - read it here.