BOOK - Alien Territory: Radical, Experimental, & Irrelevant Music in 1970s San Diego by Bill Perrine
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"A long-awaited reply to Kyle Gann's 1997 American Music book. Finally, the West Coast gets the consideration it so richly deserves. A great read". - Warren Burt
"Any music book that can actively turn you on to new sounds is a success, and Perrine has done just that with Alien Territory." - Byron Coley, The Wire.
From trailer park punks to Pulitzer Prize winners, this is the untold story of a sleepy Navy town that became the unlikely gathering point for some of the most innovative, unclassifiable American artists of their time. The late 60s arrival of Harry Partch — hobo composer, iconoclast and inventor of instruments such as the Harmonic Canon and Quadrangularis Reversum — jump started a revolution that was as much social as it was musical, drawing on the occult, self-realization and radical political movements of 70s Southern California.
Artists such as Partch, Pauline Oliveros, Kenneth Gaburo, Roger Reynolds, Diamanda Galás, Warren Burt, David Dunn, Robert Turman and Master Wilburn Burchette may have pursued different paths — Sonic Meditations, compositional linguistics, microtonal scales, invented instruments, cutting edge electronics, underwater synthesizers, Tibetan throat singing, environmental sound, pure noise — but they also sought to dismantle the systems of American life and replace them with a radically inclusive and socially responsive aesthetic that looked to the future even when it sometimes referenced a distant, idyllically imagined past. In their pursuit of “Irrelevant Music” — Kenneth Gaburo’s term for an untainted music free of constraint and compromise — these disparate artists constitute a shadow history of American experimental music far removed from the European and East Coast models of the time.
264 pages, paperback, stuffed with photos. Published by Termite House, May, 2023.