(edited by) Miller Puckette and Kerry L. Hagan – Between the Tracks, Musicians on Selected Electronic Music


The MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262539302, English, 312 pages, 2020, USA

How much do we still value autonomous “choice” in music? With streaming as the dominant model of listening and the addictive combination of a very wide range of tracks (60 million on average for major streaming services) with systems for quantitatively profiling both users and tracks to automatically suggest attractive new ones, personal research and sharing seems long dead. Yet music journalists, experts and musicians themselves, often share their preferences. Between the tracks is a book constructed with a simple and effective idea: Ask experts to examine in depth an unrecognised exceptional piece of electronic music. Twelve chapters then form an extraordinary unpublished ‘playlist’, exploring very different approaches and techniques. From Jacqueline George’s use of field recording in Cairo to Charles Dodge’s use of brand new speech synthesis technology at Bell Labs, to Knut Wiggen’s work at the EMS studios in Stockholm, the texts are written with expertise and a healthy desire to discover and debate what has been missed. The selections are also balanced to be inclusive in scope and discover compositions off the beaten path. The concentration of expertise and novelty expressed here represents a luxury level of proposed ‘choice’, far beyond the (perhaps somewhat biased) machine-learned tastes and recommendations.