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The San Francisco Tape Music Center

1960s Counterculture and the Avant-Garde

David Bernstein (Editor), John Rockwell (Foreword), Johannes Goebel (Preface)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 344 pages
ISBN: 9780520256170
July 2008
$34.95, £27.00
This book tells the story of the influential group of creative artists—Pauline Oliveros, Morton Subotnick, Ramon Sender, William Maginnis, and Tony Martin—who connected music to technology during a legendary era in California's cultural history. An integral part of the robust San Francisco “scene,” the San Francisco Tape Music Center developed new art forms through collaborations with Terry Riley, Steve Reich, David Tudor, Ken Dewey, Lee Breuer, the San Francisco Actor's Workshop, the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the Ann Halprin Dancers' Workshop, Canyon Cinema, and others. Told through vivid personal accounts, interviews, and retrospective essays by leading scholars and artists, this work, capturing the heady experimental milieu of the sixties, is the first comprehensive history of the San Francisco Tape Music Center.
Foreword, by John Rockwell
Then, Now, and Then Again (A Preface), by Johannes Goebel
Introduction, by David W. Bernstein

The SFTMC: Emerging Art Forms and the American Counterculture, by David W. Bernstein
The SFTMC: A Report, by Ramon Sender
Overview of the Tape Music Center's Goals, by Ramon Sender
Ramon Sender and William Maginnis, interviewed by David W. Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Memoir of a Community Enterprise, by Pauline Oliveros
Pauline Oliveros, interviewed by David W. Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Music as Studio Art, by Morton Subotnick
Morton Subotnick, interviewed by David W. Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Composing with Light, by Tony Martin
Tony Martin, interviewed by David W. Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Don Buchla, interviewed by David W.Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Michael Callahan, interviewed by Thomas M. Welsh
The Great Grand Kludge! by William Maginnis
Terry Riley, interviewed by David W. Bernstein and Maggi Payne
Anna Halprin, interviewed by David W. Bernstein
Stewart Brand, interviewed by David W. Bernstein
Stuart Dempster, interviewed by Thomas M. Welsh
Chronology, by Thomas M. Welsh

Archival Recordings
DVD Program Notes
List of Illustrations
David W. Bernstein is Professor of Music and Head of the Music Department at Mills College. He is coeditor, with Christopher Hatch, of Writings Through John Cage’s Music, Poetry, and Art and Music Theory and the Exploration of the Past.
“An outlandish episode on nearly every page of this book. . . . A probing account.”—Los Angeles Times
“The excitement of exploration and the delight in fortuitous accident come through in the many firstperson accounts and interviews which make up the bulk of David W. Bernstein's marvellous account of the Center.”—Times Literary Supplement (TLS)
“[An] extremely accessible and often inspiring book . . . . Comprehensive [and] fascinating.”—Stephen Vitiello Modern Painters
“Provides the first comprehensive history of the Tape Music Center . . . . The collision of historically incompatible characters is hard to believe: It is a Kevin Bacon game . . . of avant-garde and pop culture in the ‘60s.”—Cory Arcangel Artforum
“This volume provides a rich and multilayered history of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, and the many scholars and artists involved in its production should be proud to have created a lasting document of this significant period of activity in twentieth-century intermedia music and art. In the process they have shed light on a little-discussed corner of 1960s counterculture in the United States.”—Journal Of The Society For American Music (Jsam)
“From its handsome design to its wealth of vibrant photos, [this book] stands apart from the usual academic press fare, which is fitting considering its subject. . . . A document of ballsy innovation and gutsy invention.”—Skyscraper
“Highly recommended!”—Aquarius Records
“Lively . . . [It} not only deflates the notion of New York as the center of experimental music innovation in the second half of the 20th century, but testifies to the ingenuity and invention of a ragtag band of composers, musicians, dancers, visual artists, and explorers.”—The Score
“A wonderfully rich read.”—The Wire
"Who knew, prior to this lovingly detailed account, that five musical discontents could construct what amounted to a cultural particle accelerator in a small San Franciscan house? This book allows readers a window onto the confluence of artistry, innovation, drugs, sexuality, poverty, resourcefulness and, most importantly, the sense of fun that permeated the air during those years."—Richard Henderson, critic for The Wire magazine

"As I devoured this vibrantly detailed history of the San Francisco Tape Music Center in the 1960s, I found myself wishing repeatedly that I'd been born a couple of decades earlier, so I could have been present for a string of historic events: the debut of the Don Buchla synthesizer, the premiere of Terry Riley's In C, Ramon Sender's Tropical Fish Opera, Pauline Oliveros's multimedia concert at the Trips Festival. The heroes of the Center were in the business of realizing unimagined possibilities, and they did much to shape the legendary culture of San Francisco in the later sixties."—Alex Ross

"Hats off to David Bernstein for flooding a dark corner of recent musical history with new light, as warm as it is brilliant."—Richard Taruskin, author of The Oxford History of Western Music

"This high-voltage oral history takes us straight back to the West Coast epicenter of experimental music in the early 1960s, where synthesizers and tape loops met light shows and LSD, and Merry Pranksters hung with the masters of minimalism. Reading it is like visiting a foreign country and realizing you were born there."—Fred Turner, author of From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism

1) Oliveros, Martin, Circuitry

2) Subotnick, Until Spring Revisted

3) Martin, Silent Light (1)

4) Sender, Tropical Fish Opera

5) Oliveros, Bye Bye Butterfly

6) Sender, Great Grandpa Lemuel’s

7) Improvisation (1)

8) Sender, Kore

9) Improvisation (2)

10) Oliveros, Apple Box Double

11) Sender/Martin, Desert Ambulance

12) Martin, Silent Light (2)

13) Oliveros, Pauline’s Solo

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