My review of the new book Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (MIT Press), edited by Paul D. Miller, is in the latest issue of Nature magazine, dated May 1 — founded in 1869, Nature is now by far the oldest magazine to which I have ever contributed. (The next eldest would be Down Beat, which was founded in 1935.) For the time being, the full Sound Unbound review is up at nature.com, though at some point it will be placed behind a paid-archive wall. Miller is better known as DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid. Included among the book’s 36 chapters are “The Ecstasy of Influence” by Jonathan Lethem (the piece originally appeared in Harper’s last year) and the essay on bells that Brian Eno wrote for his 2003 album January 07003. Other highlights are a piece by Daphne Keller on legal challenges in the age of sampling, as well as an interview with legendary album-art designer Alex Steinweiss.
The MIT site lists the complete contributors as David Allenby, Pierre Boulez, Catherine Corman, Chuck D, Erik Davis, Scott De Lahunta, Manuel DeLanda, Cory Doctorow, Eveline Domnitch, Frances Dyson, Ron Eglash, Brian Eno, Dmitry Gelfand, Dick Hebdige, Lee Hirsch, Vijay Iyer, Ken Jordan, Douglas Kahn, Daphne Keller, Beryl Korot, Jaron Lanier, Joseph Lanza, Jonathan Lethem, Carlo McCormick, Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Moby, Naeem Mohaiemen, Alondra Nelson, Keith and Mendi Obadike, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Pauline Oliveros, Philippe Parreno, Ibrahim Quraishi, Steve Reich, Simon Reynolds, Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud, Nadine Robinson, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Alex Steinweiss, Bruce Sterling, Lucy Walker, Saul Williams, and Jeff E. Winner. Just to be clear, some of those contributors are, in fact, the subjects of interviews that appear in the book. An added CD features everything from Sun Ra to William S. Burroughs to Terry Riley. More on the book at mitpress.mit.edu.
In case you’re wondering, according to the Nature website, the magazine’s cover image shows “RNA granules (blue) at the tip of a cell protrusion, which has also been stained for actin filaments.”