REVIEW: Ezra J. Teboul | Computer Music Journal

“Nakai’s book is monumental in the detail with which it ruthlessly rewrites the dissertation to thread a meticulous tracing of the development of the majority of Tudor’s projects, systems, and recordings, into an awe-inspiring assessment of the humor, mystery, and earnest weirdness with which Tudor operated.
Nakai elucidates the complex, ad hoc development of each piece, and in doing so achieves the rare elucidation of technical or physical decisions as a source of audible results. As an in-depth analysis of the majority of Tudor’s pieces, the primary accomplishment of the book, therefore, is to make what Tudor left behind legible to the investigator and reader. It can be considered a shift, taking a musicological focus from sound, notation, and recordings, and extending it to technical objects (Simondon 2016) and their associated abstractions (diagrams, schematics, patching notes, etc.). It can also be considered a recontextualization of the object of study, acknowledging the deep musicality inherent in those technical objects and abstractions. I leave this discussion to future publications, but regardless of future discussion, the grace with which Nakai operates this shift shines as a reference to which future scholarship on Tudor and the music “implicit” in technology (Collins 2007) will inevitably and necessarily be compared. That Nakai managed to do this without Tudor present to answer further questions adds to the shining achievement at hand, and holds promise for other research on artists whose technical legacy remains to be investigated post-mortem, such as that of Tudor’s close friend Pauline Oliveros. It will also stand as, more generally, an epistemological tour de force, making the highly idiosyncratic technicality of Tudor’s legacy accessible to humanists.”

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