“Pretty much every modern electronic artist you consider ‘out-there’ will appear a lot more ‘in-here’ when you’ve heard this.”–Rob Fitzpatrick, writing for The Guardian, on Gordon Mumma’s Electronic Music of Theater and Public Activity.
A pioneer of electronic music, Gordon Mumma cofounded the Cooperative Studio for Electronic Music and played a role in organizing the historic ONCE Festivals of Contemporary Music. Mumma collaborated with John Cage, David Tudor, Robert Ashley, Marcel Duchamp and many others. He hooked up his French horn to a “cybersonic belt box.”
In Cybersonic Arts: Adventures in American New Music, Michelle Fillion curates a collection of Mumma’s writings which document his daring experiments with music and detail the approach to composition.
What becomes clear in the book is that many of Mumma’s experiments led to other experiments. As a composer and performer, Mumma never seemed to be afraid to go too far “out-there.”
Mumma’s perplexing sonic adventures have landed on the Guardian’s “101 strangest records on Spotify” list. You can listen to the 22-minute “Megaton for Wm. Burroughs,” which the Guardian describes as a “mesmerising, terrifying classic.”