Well, I am really looking forward to talking about Frank Zappa for the first time in a couple of years this week. I am presenting at a panel as part of the book launch for The Oxford Handbook of Music and Virtuality, which contains a chapter from me on the ways in which Zappa’s music has a significant virtual dimension to it. The book has been edited by Shara Rambarran and the late Sheila Whiteley, so I feel really honoured to be part of the book launch, particular as the event is taking place in Sheila’s home town of Brighton. Although I have not worked my way through all of the chapters yet, the book is a fitting contribution to Sheila’s memory, being by far the most comprehensive contribution on this subject matter to date. In conjunction with Shara, we have set up a book blog, which we intend to use to encourage guest posts, in addition to opening up discussions based on the book . Although it is still in the early stages, please feel free to have a look and sign up so you can access future posts. The blog can be accessed here.
My chapter in the book discusses the creation and reception of the music of Frank Zappa, who overtly and purposively positioned his creative output in a virtual, often teleological dimension. Through the analysis of Zappa’s music, use of the recording studio and personal philosophies such as Xenochrony, Project/Object and Big Note, the chapter draws on the work of a range of scholars from Hanslick, Hagel, Nietzsche, Heidegger and Schopenhauer, to Bernard Russell, Jennifer Robertson and Leo Treitler, ultimately examining the broader question regarding the extent to which music has the capacity to be representational and/or ‘virtual’.
So, if you are around the Brighton area this week, look forward to seeing you there. Info on the IASPM conference can be found here.