Blank Forms is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists working in a range of time-based and interdisciplinary art practices, including experimental music, performance, dance, and sound art.
Issue #9: The penultimate Blank Forms anthology presents new interviews with musicians Theo Parrish, Amelia Cuni, Akio Suzuki and more. At the centerpiece of Blank Forms 09: Sound Signatures is a career-spanning, twenty-hour conversation conducted over four days between producer, remixer, and Detroit house music legend Theo Parrish and veteran music journalist Mike Rubin. They go deep on Parrish’s childhood in Chicago’s South Side, sculptural training, and collaborations with Moodymann, Rick Wilhite, and Omar S, and explore how the social movements of 2020 have reshaped his practice and dance music at large. This volume also includes an illustrated discussion between Dhrupad singer Amelia Cuni and sound artist/tuning theorist Marcus Pal, covering Cuni’s years studying voice and dance in India, her interpretations of John Cage, and collaborations with the likes of Terry Riley and Catherine Christer Hennix—accompanied by deeply researched essays from Cuni on Hindustani classical music and avant-garde performance. Finally, the collection features reminiscences from composer and performer Akio Suzuki and musician Aki Onda on Fluxus pioneer and Taj Mahal Travellers founder Takehisa Kosugi, with newly translated criticism from Kosugi.
Issue #7 This iteration privileges new texts produced for the publication. These include an interview with the idiosyncratic Texan singer-songwriter and visual artist Terry Allen, conducted by curator Anthony Elms; a conversation between writers—and longtime friends—Thulani Davis and Jessica Hagedorn, on the occasion of Davis’ poetry collection Nothing But the Music; a discussion between composer Sarah Hennies and cellist Judith Hamann; and a conversation with composer-performers Tashi Wada and Charles Curtis, on the heels of a recent compilation of Curtis’ work, Performances & Recordings 1998–2018, produced by Wada. Also featured are reflections on legendary jazz percussionist and healer Milford Graves, by Ciarán Finlayson; English multimedia artist Graham Lambkin’s beguiling 2011 album Amateur Doubles, by Alan Licht; and the UK-based experimental music trio Still House Plants, by Joe Bucciero. The interviews and essays are complemented by three poets, René Daumal, Thulani Davis and Jessica Hagedorn.
Issue #6: Don Cherry and Moki Karlsson met in Sweden in the late ’60s. They married and began to perform together, dubbing their mix of communal art, social and environmental activism, children’s education and pan-ethnic expression “Organic Music.” Their home in Tågarp became a locus of artistic production, attracting free-spirited musicians, poets, actors and artists with the promise of collective life. There, Keith Knox assembled Tågarp Publication Number One to document the collectivistic practices blooming under the Cherrys’ guidance. Reproduced here, the text includes interviews with Terry Riley and Cherry, a piece on Pandit Pran Nath, a report on the Bombay Free School and a survey of the esoteric Forest University by Bengt af Kintberg. This book explores Don Cherry’s work of the period through additional interviews by Knox, a piece on his Relativity Suite and an essay by Fumi Okiji. Moki’s writings on her workshops are featured alongside full-color reproductions of her tapestries, used as performance environments by Don’s ensembles. Cherry collaborators Bengt Berger and Christer Bothén contribute travelogues from the era.
Issue #5: Aspirations of Madness, Blank Forms’ fifth collection of archival, unpublished, or newly translated texts, takes its title from a series of interviews with Japanese free jazz pioneer Masayuki Takayangi that were published in Japanese in 1975–76 and are published here in English for the first time. The interviews provide a rare look at Takayanagi’s eccentric practice and personality, both long under-recognized by audiences outside (and often, inside) of Japan. The postwar Japanese history that Takayanagi describes also surfaces in this publication’s opening piece, a poetic tribute by the writer and artist Louise Landes Levi to one of Takayanagi’s contemporaries, the poet Kazuko Shiraishi. Aspirations of Madness includes a second Levi poem as well, “A Deep River,” written while at La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House in 2003. Complementing this tradition of Japanese free improvisation and poetry is the republication of a 1977 interview with Joseph Jarman, the great composer, poet, and multi-instrumentalist. We also feature Charles Stein’s introduction to Being = Space x Action. Further along, Aspirations of Madness features an excerpt from The Tree of Music, a cross-cultural treatise by the Russian musicologist Genrich “Henry” Orlov, the English translation of which has never been published before. Aspirations of Madness closes with one of Maryanne Amacher’s final pieces of writing, “The Agreement,” from 2009. The text takes the form of a letter between Amacher and the Open Ended Group, with whom she had planned to collaborate on her final, unfinished project, Lagrange: A Four Part Mini Series.