Sound American is an online music journal that trumpeter, composer, writer, Nate Wooley began publishing in 2012. The journal generally focuses on radical experimental music. Each issue is organized around a topic or theme. Sound American’s content is as serious and as high quality as any music oriented academic journal but without any of the trappings of academic writing. Contributing writers are critics, musicians and thinkers whom are able to communicate their ideas in plain language. Issues have focused on musicians such as Anthony Braxton, John Cage, Pauline Oliveros, David Dunn, Don Cherry, Christian Wolfe, and Cornelius Cardew. Topics such as Gospel Music, Networking, Instrument Building, Ritual, Jazz, and Propaganda have been explored.
The current issue Sound American No. 21 “The Change Issue” is a bit of a departure from the previous volumes. Nate Wooley remains the editor but has expanded the operation in terms of organization and formats. Behind the scenes Sound American has now expanded to more of an institutional framework with both advisory and editorial boards. Along with the freely available web version there are now print, print and audio, and digital subscription formats. The high-quality print format of Sound American No. 21 “The Change Issue” is beautifully done. The issue features words by or about Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste, Ornette Coleman, Nicole Kaack, Bradford Bailey, G. Lucas Crane, Jennie Gottschalk, Ambrose Akinmusire, Mats Gustafsson, Peter Margasak, Terry Riley, Kim Brandt, John Cage, Josh Sinton, Edgard Varése, Marc Hannaford, John Zorn, Matthew Mehlan, Million Tongues Festival, Alex Mincek, Lester St. Louis, and Steve Lehman.
Sound American is a great resource for anyone interested in experimental music. I find the journal’s writing to be passionate, informative and thought provoking. Each issue invites readers to explore new sounds and new ideas written by some of today’s most interesting writers, thinkers and musicians. Visit the site and check out the current issue. Browse the archive of back issues. You will most likely find yourself visiting the site again and again. If you find Sound American to be as valuable as I think it is, then please consider subscribing.
Chris De Chiara