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Home » Full Catalogue » LICHT, ALAN: Sound Art (book + CD)

LICHT, ALAN: Sound Art (book + CD)
A high quality 300pp hardback art publication, 16 x 23.5 cm, printed on glossy paper with lots of white space, and lavishly illustrated with (mostly) full colour photographs of artworks and installations. The text is wide-ranging, taking a descriptive and very selective lightening tour through the byways and connections between visual arts, recording arts, radio arts, pop music, avant- gardes of all stripes, alongside sound experiments both within and beyond the discipline of music, to try to construct a narrative about the emergence - and an account of the forms taken by - what is now lumped together under the rubric 'sound art' - meaning for this author, mostly, sound beyond 'music' often with a visual counterpart, whose natural home seems to be event, gallery or installation. As such it's a useful resource, a nice compendium, a name-checked reference, handy for further research; and it ranges wide, though it's focus on the Sound Art field itself is very sketchy. Coming from a quasi-internationalist American perspective, inevitably much is missing and much that is there, if Sound Art really is the topic, is there rather mysteriously. It may be that the book just has the wrong title. Its subtitle: beyond music, between categories sums up the discursive nature of the project better. This book is wholly non-analytical and its connectivities are all sympathetic, speculative and superficial; there are no theoretical insights - or even propositions made; in fact, it's a bit of a ragbag. A perfectly untilitarian ragbag, full of references, information and usefully assembled documentation of diverse - if rather arbitrarily selected - works, nicely presented (though it must be said, the pictures are not adequately captioned; you want to know more about the works depicted, and explanations are not forthcoming). The research and breadth of approach is useful, and there is insider knowledge. Included are 34pp of artist biographies which, depending on your perspective, feature many unaccountable omissions - or strange inclusions - but are, nevertheless both informed and informative about their subjects. If you take it as a personal essay by an alert practitioner, it's impossible to complain, but for a clarification of the field and the questions that vex it, you will have to look elsewhere. A mixed blessing, then. Worth having because it contains much raw data, if partial, scattershot and curiously uncritical. The CD contains pieces by Bill Fontana (Harmonic bridge), Steve Roden, Jean Dubuffet, Destroy All Monsters (?!), Anthony Burr and Charles Curtis (Alvin Lucier) and Bernhard Gal, which are interesting enough in their own right but not terribly informative on the topic of the book, and - like most of the photographs - they remain unaccountably unexplained and uncontextualised.

Code: lichSoundArt
Price: £29.00