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.