Now That the Audience Is Assembled (Paperback)

Staff Pick Logo
Now That the Audience Is Assembled Cover Image
On Our Shelves Now
McNally Jackson Soho
12 on hand, as of Oct 15 11:45pm
McNally Jackson Williamsburg
1 on hand, as of Oct 16 5:45am

Staff Reviews

In an unexpected follow-up to his excellent book on John Cage and recording, David Grubbs offers a scrupulously detailed account of an imaginary, infinite musical performance: “All present, dreaming and otherwise, can’t believe what they’ve heard.” A prose poem of sorts, both hazily dreamlike and abstract in its exactitude, Now that the audience is assembled puts a serious onus on the reader to think alongside its pataphysical flights of fancy, and in so doing doubles as an interactive performance.

— Cam


Following his investigation into experimental music and sound recording in Records Ruin the Landscape, David Grubbs turns his attention to the live performance of improvised music with an altogether different form of writing. Now that the audience is assembled is a book-length prose poem that describes a fictional musical performance during which an unnamed musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep. Over the course of this phantasmagorical all-night concert, repeated interruptions take the form of in-depth discussions and musical demonstrations. Both a work of literature and a study of music, Now that the audience is assembled explores the categories of improvised music, solo performance, text scores, instrument building, aesthetic deskilling and reskilling, and the odd fate of the composer in experimental music.

About the Author

David Grubbs is Professor of Music at Brooklyn College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author of Records Ruin the Landscape: John Cage, the Sixties, and Sound Recording, also published by Duke University Press. As a musician, he has released fourteen solo albums and appeared on more than 180 commercially released recordings. Grubbs is known for his cross-disciplinary collaborations with poet Susan Howe and visual artists Angela Bulloch and Anthony McCall, and his work has been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Tate Modern, and the Centre Pompidou. Grubbs was a founding member of the groups Gastr del Sol, Bastro, and Squirrel Bait, and has appeared on recordings by Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, Will Oldham, and Matmos, among other artists. Grubbs has written for The Wire, BOMB, Bookforum, and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780822371472
ISBN-10: 0822371472
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication Date: April 13th, 2018
Pages: 152
Language: English