Sound American 30 · The Thirtieth Issue
Liner Notes   Cat. No. SA030     Release Date: 2023-09-15
Landmark events should be celebrated, even when they lead us to the edge of a lacuna, when they denote the first moments of, what will hopefully be a short, silence. SA30:The Thirtieth Issue is such an event. In the last ten years, Sound American has grown naturally from its very humble roots as a DIY online publication. And it has done so while remaining small and intimate — with no advertising or outside economic influence — and with an ear toward the words of musicians and the passions of listeners like you.

Now is the time to take a break, however. For many reasons, economic as well as philosophical and personal, SA cannot continue. This will be our last issue. I prefer to think of it as the end of an edition, with the hope that a wave of resources allows for a new beginning on edition two, but for now, it is a moment to celebrate the past thirty issues, the over-half-a-million words on music that Sound American has leveled on the world, and the warm and inviting community that has built itself around the journal in the past decade.

This issue is a celebration of work: how we do it, why we do it, and the doubts and triumphs we experience as we blunder our way toward some fuzzy creative resolution. To that end, the issue consists of interviews with artists from different milieus — all with a connection to the music that SA has championed over the years — about their working lives. Poet Eileen Myles, pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz, painter Albert Oehlen, and dancer/organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker talk with editor Nate Wooley about finding their modes of expression, how they are able to remain dedicated to the work and community they have developed, the moments insecurity and indecision that have cycled in and out of their career, and how music has affected what they have chosen to do with their lives. Wooley’s conversations with composer Nico Muhly, iconoclastic sound artist Ellen Fullman, and improvising bassist Brandon Lopez go deep into the creative process of making music and the personal ups and downs as living as a musician in America. Percussionist and composer Lesley Mok contributes a conceptually stunning standalone composition for our final Exquisite Corpse.

Sound American Publications began as a website in 2014. Each issue works on the basic premise that the best way to accomplish this is by creating a direct intellectual, social, and emotional bridge that links audiences and artists. Since 2014, SA has released twenty-nine issues and, in 2019, it expanded to print. (All issues of SA also exist free online at Sound American also expanded into special releases of audio and published works including 2020’s Something To Hunt, an art book and CD release of composer Ash Fure’s electro-acoustic work, which was included in multiple 2020 best-of lists including the New York Times.

Sound American was started on the idea of exciting readers about experimental music: its ability to provoke and move the listener and the human desire to explore—even if that means failing—that is a part of this world is a buoy in a cultural ocean that has grown increasingly stormy. SA30 is a love letter to the creative humanity that the journal has tried to illuminate since its first issue. The journal has—with each interview, article, essay, and score—attempted to give our readers something to think about, inspiration to act and create, and hopefully a feeling that the world has some beauty in it. In my ten years as founder and editor, I can say that my collaborators, the contributors, and this audience has done that for me.

More soon, with much hopefulness – Nate Wooley

Sound American

Sound American 30 · The Thirtieth Issue

Print Edition $14.99

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