Music after the Fall: Spotify playlists

A couple of days ago I discovered – via Twitter, where else? – that people have been making Spotify playlists out of Music after the Fall. Among those people is Andrew Tholl (@andrewtholl), violinist, drummer, composer and co-founder of the excellent populist records, who has made chapter-by-chapter lists for use in classes at UC Santa Barbara. After making my own (enormous) playlist summary of the whole book, I’ve meant for a long time to put together more detailed chapter-length lists. I was therefore delighted when Andrew made his lists public and allowed me to share them here. You can find them all at the following links:

 

Necessarily, lists like these are partial – not everything in the book is available on Spotify, for a start. And some of it is too long to make much sense in a playlist. So there’s a process of curation that goes on, choosing movements, or maybe a similar work by the same composer. What about order? And what about works that are mentioned only in passing versus those that get more detailed attention? There’s more going on here than just typing things into a search bar.

At the risk of adding even more self-indulgence to this short post, I want to end by noting how touched I am that people are doing this sort of thing in response to my work; it feels like a very special kind of reading, so thank you.

If any of my readers have made playlists of their own, or are aware of others out there, I would love to hear about them – please leave links in the comments.

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After the launch

Well I had an absolutely fantastic evening on Thursday at The Word Bookshop in New Cross, celebrating Music after the Fall‘s arrival into the world. Huge thanks to everyone who came, to David and Annette at The Word for hosting, to Wiley for getting the books to us (we sold out!), and to Amy of Stanley’s Cake Boutique for fulfilling a near-impossible brief to render 25 years of contemporary music in flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Following the Ozzy theme of the book’s cover image, she produced a creation in the form of one of Ross Bolleter’s ruined pianos in the Australian outback. Amazing, and delicious.

Incredibly, we actually sold out of books on the night. Moreover, there aren’t any more coming into the country until next month – so if you see one, snap it up!

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Before: Chapter 6: Superabundance
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The author in full flow

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Cake + book (photo by @Wordbookshop)

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After: Chapter 7: Loss

Music after the Fall: A Spotify Walkthrough

Music after the Fall introduces quite a lot of music, some of which may be unfamiliar to some readers. With that in mind, I’ve put together a playlist walkthrough of the whole thing on Spotify, to help with orientation, and perhaps introduce you to some music you didn’t know you liked.

Be warned, though, it’s a long playlist: almost 20 hours. Chapter-by-chapter breakdowns will follow soon.

Not everything talked about in the book is recorded, of course, and not all of it can be recorded, even. And even then not everything on record is on Spotify – ECM and Wandelweiser are just two labels featured prominently in the book that are almost entirely absent from the streaming site (and I expect will be for the foreseeable future).

I also haven’t included everything that is featured in the book: at my last count there were something like 190 composers mentioned in the book, many of them linked to two or more of their works – far too many for a comprehensive list. I’ve also given one (occasionally two) movements of multi-movement pieces where possible, so as to keep the length down a bit. Sometimes, however, very long works have been recorded as a single track (Francisco López, La selva; Steve Roden, Forms of Paper; Gavin Bryars, The Sinking of the Titanic; Georg Friedrich Haas, in vain), and it hasn’t been possible to focus in.

On other occasions, the actual piece I wanted to include wasn’t available, so I included the nearest equivalent I could find (examples include Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Scorched instead of Anna Nicole; Pamela Z’s Crosstalk instead of Giajin).

Despite those caveats, the full list should give a pretty good idea of what is in the book, and serve as a reasonably good quick reference to have close to hand. Some of it can be listened to while doing other things (see Chapter 2); some of it maybe even while you’re reading, although I couldn’t possibly recommend that …

Music After the Fall

It’s official!

My book has a webpage! Music After the Fall: Modern Composition and Culture Since 1989 will be published in February 2017 by University of California Press. And it will look like this:

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That’s Roseanne Hunt of ELISION, surgically attacking her cello in a performance of John Rodgers’ TULP: the body public.

Still some way to go before the book hits the shelves, but this feels like a big moment. Here’s the official blurb:

Music after the Fall is the first book to survey contemporary Western art music within the transformed political, cultural, and technological environment of the post–Cold War era. In this book, Tim Rutherford-Johnson considers musical composition against this changed backdrop, placing it in the context of globalization, digitization, and new media. Drawing connections with the other arts, in particular visual art and architecture, he expands the definition of Western art music to include forms of composition, experimental music, sound art, and crossover work from across the spectrum, inside and beyond the concert hall.

Each chapter is a critical consideration of a wide range of composers, performers, works, and institutions, and develops a broad and rich picture of the new music ecosystem, from North American string quartets to Lebanese improvisers, from electroacoustic music studios in South America to ruined pianos in the Australian outback. Rutherford-Johnson puts forth a new approach to the study of contemporary music that relies less on taxonomies of style and technique than on the comparison of different responses to common themes of permission, fluidity, excess, and loss.

To purchase, request an exam copy, or find more information, please visit Music After the Fall at University of California Press.

And for details of launch events, etc, stay tuned.