Add news
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010June 2010July 2010
August 2010
September 2010October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011March 2011April 2011May 2011June 2011July 2011August 2011September 2011October 2011November 2011December 2011January 2012February 2012March 2012April 2012May 2012June 2012July 2012August 2012September 2012October 2012November 2012December 2012January 2013February 2013March 2013April 2013May 2013June 2013July 2013August 2013September 2013October 2013November 2013December 2013January 2014February 2014March 2014April 2014May 2014June 2014July 2014August 2014September 2014October 2014November 2014December 2014January 2015February 2015March 2015April 2015May 2015June 2015July 2015August 2015September 2015October 2015November 2015December 2015January 2016February 2016March 2016April 2016May 2016June 2016July 2016August 2016September 2016October 2016November 2016December 2016January 2017February 2017March 2017April 2017May 2017June 2017July 2017August 2017September 2017October 2017November 2017December 2017January 2018February 2018March 2018April 2018May 2018June 2018July 2018August 2018September 2018October 2018November 2018December 2018January 2019February 2019March 2019April 2019May 2019June 2019July 2019August 2019September 2019October 2019November 2019December 2019January 2020February 2020March 2020April 2020May 2020June 2020July 2020August 2020September 2020October 2020November 2020December 2020January 2021
News Every Day |

New Documentary Sisters with Transistors Tells the Story of Electronic Music’s Female Pioneers

“Technology is a tremendous liberator,” says Laurie Anderson in her voiceover narration for the new documentary Sisters with Transistors, a look at the women who have pioneered electronic music since its beginnings and been integral to inventing new sounds and ways of making them. “Women were naturally drawn to electronic music. You didn’t have to be accepted by any of the male-dominated resources. You could make something with electronics, and you could present music directly to an audience.”

Technology as liberator may sound utopian to our jaded 21st century ears, accustomed as we are to focusing on tech’s misuses and abuses. But machines have very often been a means of social progress, just as when “bicycles promised freedom to women long accustomed to relying on men for transportation.” The creation and innovation of recording and broadcasting equipment deserves its own place in women’s history.

Radio in particular gave women the opportunity to experiment with sound and reach millions who might not otherwise give them a hearing. The influence of BBC radio composers like Delia Derbyshire and Daphne Oram, for example, remains pervasive, and the electronic soundscapes they created for radio and television helped define the sonic world we now inhabit. It is a world, director Lisa Rovner tells AFI’s Malin Kan below, permeated by electronic music.

“I can’t actually remember,” says Rovner, “a time when I wasn’t aware of electronic music. Electronic music penetrates pretty much every single aspect of my life since I was a kid, whether that’s stuff that’s on television or the video games that I played with my brother.” Her interest in the music’s “transcendent” qualities was first piqued, she says, at a rave. The film project happened to “check all the boxes” for her, with its focus not only on the electronic music women have made for over a century, but also on “the wider social, political and cultural context of the 20th century,” as the film’s site notes.

Sisters with Transistors covers a range of composers, several of whom we’ve previously featured on Open Culture, including Derbyshire, Oram, Clara Rockmore, Bebe Barron, Maryanne Amacher, Eliane Radigue, Suzanne Ciani, Laurie Spiegel, and Pauline Oliveros. “The history of women has been a history of silence,” Rovner writes. “Music is no exception.” Or as Oliveros put it in a 1970 New York Times Op-Ed:

Why have there been no “great” women composers? The question is often asked. The answer is no mystery. In the past, talent, education, ability, interests, motivation were irrelevant because being female was a unique qualification for domestic work and for continual obedience to and dependence upon men.

As Sisters with Transistors shows, new technologies broke that dependence for many women, including Oliveros, who provided us with a different answer to questions about the paucity of women composers. Why are there no “great” women in electronic music? Because you haven’t heard them yet. Learn their names and stories in the new documentary.

via Hyperallergic

Related Content:

Meet Clara Rockmore, the Pioneering Electronic Musician Who First Rocked the Theremin in the Early 1920s

The Deeply Meditative Electronic Music of Avant-Garde Composer Eliane Radigue

Two Documentaries Introduce Delia Derbyshire, the Pioneer in Electronic Music

Daphne Oram Created the BBC’s First-Ever Piece of Electronic Music (1957)

Hear Seven Hours of Women Making Electronic Music (1938-2014)

Meet Four Women Who Pioneered Electronic Music: Daphne Oram, Laurie Spiegel, Éliane Radigue & Pauline Oliveros

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

New Documentary <i>Sisters with Transistors</i> Tells the Story of Electronic Music’s Female Pioneers is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

Read also

How to make a background transparent in Photoshop in 2 ways

‘Sanctions guru’ who helped fire 1st shots in Russiagate saga to return as CIA’s deputy director under Biden

Paige Spiranac defends under-fire Tiger Woods over cheating scandal after explosive HBO documentary release

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here