COMMENT: Julie Martin

“I had the distinct privilege of attending the performances of David Tudor’s seminal work, Bandoneon ! at 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, and later worked with him on numerous E.A.T. projects. Especially memorable is a glorious two-week stay on a Swedish island with David in the early 1970s, where we were exploring its sound and environmental properties with the goal of his mounting a concert there. The concert was never performed, but our friendship continued for many years.

David’s work has become increasingly relevant to composers working today and of increasing interest to new music historians and scholars. As Tudor himself put it, he worked “inside electronics”, building, rebuilding, reusing and even “abusing” electronic components that he connected together and activated during his performances. For Tudor performing was composing.

Nakai’s wide-ranging research of what he terms “David Tudor’s music” included close study of Tudor’s scores, system diagrams, and performance notes housed at the Getty Research Institute, that he correlated with what remains of Tudor’s electronic “instruments” held at Wesleyan University. He also made use of multiple recording of Tudor’s works and of recorded material Tudor used as input into his electronic systems. He was thus able to extensively document Tudor’s works from Fluorescent Sound in 1964 through the Neural Synthesis series in the 1990s.

Nakai’s work illuminates the mystery between the inputs Tudor used to activate his electronic systems, the actions he took during his performances and the output of the sounds the audience hears. Reminded by the Instruments, one can say with confidence, is the definitive book on Tudor’s compositions and compositional practices and is invaluable for scholars, musicians and composers who want to understand Tudor’s processes and, in the future, perform them.”

Julie Martin
Director, Experiments in Art and Technology

COMMENT: Nicolas Collins

“In the 1970s, when I was learning how to build musical circuits from pioneering composer-luthiers like David Tudor and David Behrman, my peers and I often spoke of “the circuit as score”.  The notion that musical form, as well as sound, sprang from the silicon rather than the composer’s ego achieved mantra-like status. Now You Nakai has done what musicologists should have been doing for the last five decades: analyzing Tudor’s arrays of circuits as if they were indeed scores, subjecting them to the same scrutiny that would be brought to bear on the manuscripts of Bach or Boulez. As a result, we have a groundbreaking book that not only provides unique insight into the work of one of America’s most influential if enigmatic electronic pioneers, but shifts the very paradigm of musical analysis in the aftermath of the transistor.”

Nicolas Collins
Professor, Department of Sound, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Author, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking (Routledge)