Andrew Ford

Book review: Earth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive

Earth Dances: Music in Search of the PrimitiveEarth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive by Andrew Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Andrew Ford is a noted broadcaster, writer and composer. He’s intelligent and considered, and has authored a number of books on music, with Earth Dances being his most recent, and one which has a quartet of radio shows attached.

The book and the series examine the idea of the primitive in music. Ford is careful to describe the term as that in line with minimalism, pre-verbal or savage impulses rather than more culturally loaded definitions often applied to non-Western cultures. To this end, Ford switches between chapters of criticism and interviews with composers, including Brian Eno, Liza Lim and Pauline Oliveros. Music of all stripes is covered, lest anyone be frightened off by the prospect of a classical-only examination: equal weight is given to the primal nature of rock as is any modern classical ululation interpretation. (more…)