It's not every day we can post that you can see one of
our authors in concert, but this Saturday, September 7, at Hopscotch Music
Festival in Raleigh you have the chance to do just that. David Grubbs, author
of the forthcoming book Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage,
the Sixties, and Sound Recording (March 2014),
will play at the Kennedy Theater at 11 p.m.
As someone who has
released twelve solo albums and appeared on more than 150 commercially-released
recordings, Grubbs writes about recordings from an informed perspective. However
John Cage didn't embrace recordings in the same way, and the title for Grubbs's
book—Records Ruin the Landscape—comes
from a comment Cage made during an interview. Cage repeatedly spoke of the ways
in which recorded music was antithetical to his work.
In Records Ruin the
Landscape, Grubbs argues that, following Cage, new genres in experimental
and avant-garde music in the 1960s were particularly ill-suited to be
represented in the form of a recording. Even those works that were recorded had
limited releases. By contrast, contemporary listeners can encounter works not
only through a flood LP and CD releases of archival recordings, but also in
even greater volume through the Internet, particularly through websites like UbuWeb. Present-day
listeners are coming to know that era's experimental music through the recorded
artifacts of composers and musicians who largely disavowed recordings. In Records
Ruin the Landscape, Grubbs thinks through the implications of this irony.
Author photo by Thatcher Keats.