Pink Noises

Women on Electronic Music and Sound

Pink Noises

Book Pages: 336 Illustrations: 38 illustrations Published: March 2010

Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Music > Sound Studies, Theater and Performance > Performance Art

Pink Noises brings together twenty-four interviews with women in electronic music and sound cultures, including club and radio DJs, remixers, composers, improvisers, instrument builders, and installation and performance artists. The collection is an extension of, the critically-acclaimed website founded by musician and scholar Tara Rodgers in 2000 to promote women in electronic music and make information about music production more accessible to women and girls. That site featured interviews that Rodgers conducted with women artists, exploring their personal histories, their creative methods, and the roles of gender in their work. This book offers new and lengthier interviews, a critical introduction, and resources for further research and technological engagement.

Contemporary electronic music practices are illuminated through the stories of women artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. They include the creators of ambient soundscapes, “performance novels,” sound sculptures, and custom software, as well as the developer of the Deep Listening philosophy and the founders of the Liquid Sound Lounge radio show and the monthly Basement Bhangra parties in New York. These and many other artists open up about topics such as their conflicted relationships to formal music training and mainstream media representations of women in electronic music. They discuss using sound to work creatively with structures of time and space, and voice and language; challenge distinctions of nature and culture; question norms of technological practice; and balance their needs for productive solitude with collaboration and community. Whether designing and building modular synthesizers with analog circuits or performing with a wearable apparatus that translates muscle movements into electronic sound, these artists expand notions of who and what counts in matters of invention, production, and noisemaking. Pink Noises is a powerful testimony to the presence and vitality of women in electronic music cultures, and to the relevance of sound to feminist concerns.

Interviewees: Maria Chavez, Beth Coleman (M. Singe), Antye Greie (AGF), Jeannie Hopper, Bevin Kelley (Blevin Blectum), Christina Kubisch, Le Tigre, Annea Lockwood, Giulia Loli (DJ Mutamassik), Rekha Malhotra (DJ Rekha), Riz Maslen (Neotropic), Kaffe Matthews, Susan Morabito, Ikue Mori, Pauline Oliveros, Pamela Z, Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix), Maggi Payne, Eliane Radigue, Jessica Rylan, Carla Scaletti, Laetitia Sonami, Bev Stanton (Arthur Loves Plastic), Keiko Uenishi (o.blaat)


“. . . [T]his book could be a valuable resource to emerging artists who would benefit from learning from a female role model.” — Mary Simoni, Computer Music Journal

“[A] good book that champions the musical output of a variety of female electronic instrumentalists who continue to challenge how we conceptualize popular music.” — Feminist Music Geek

“[A] welcome rethinking of the theory and practice of electronic aesthetics. . . . Though this volume cannot ultimately resolve the questions raised by the inherent conceptual incongruity between female difference and sonic difference (and given their disjunction, how could it?), the collective exuberance, eloquence, and authority conjured up within these conversations is ample compensation.” — Drew Daniel, Journal of Popular Music Studies

“[A]n in-depth look at forward-thinking modern music with a decidedly feminist slant.” — Kyle Olson, Hipster Book Club

“[T]he interviews offer rich, multi-generational accounts of lives spent creating in the field of electronic music. . . . One of the signal values of the book is the multiplicity of practices it encapsulates. . . . Again and again the books’ presentation of such neglected variety implicitly highlights the degree to which the standard story of electronic music history has been weighted on the side of male innovation and production.” — Nichola Scrutton, Popular Music

(Praise for “Acknowledges women’s space in the world of electronic music and celebrates it with information, education, and innovation.” — Flavorpill

“Considering an industry with early war associations and plagued with sexism today, it's no wonder that there are so few women involved. Pink Noises succeeds in immortalizing a talented, diverse collection of female artists, as well as encouraging women to get involved in creating for themselves.” — Jacquie Piasta, Feminist Review blog

(Praise for “Everything you ever wanted to know about electronic music and the women making it.” — Tamara Warren, Nylon

(Praise for “Go girls!” — Anne Hilde Neset, The Wire

Praise for “Great practical advice on music making.” — URB

(Praise for “Pinknoises doesn’t just talk girl power, they enable it.” — Soo-Hyun Chung, Mixer

“Rodgers addresses an unusually expansive range of topics with facility and respect to her interlocutors. Most importantly, her commitment to representing women from a variety of cultural, educational, and musical backgrounds who work in numerous genres shows both Rodgers’s depth of musical knowledge and her strong commitment to feminism. Through these interviews, Rodgers makes a convincing case for reconsidering the representation of women as a central part of the history of electronic music.” — Elizabeth K. Keenan, Current Musicology

(Praise for “Tara Rodgers . . . is as interested in the way these women do their work as what inspires it, or what it represents.” — Michael Paoletta, Billboard

“Tara Rodgers . . . is as interested in the way these women do their work as what inspires it, or what it represents.” — Michaelangelo Matos, The Onion AV Club

“Tara Rodgers has assembled an insightful series of interviews that do far more than entertain. Read this book.” — Arthur P., An Inaudible Hum blog

“The anthology is full of excellent insights into how these contemporary artists (including the likes of Antye Greie - AGF, Christina Kubisch, Keiko Uenishi - o.blaat, Le Tigre) work, create and question the norms and practices of sound/technology. In general, the book travels widely, a testament to the artists featured and Rodgers' own deep investment in these scenes, both as a scholar and a musician. . . . Basically, if you are a sound nerd, this is the kind of anthology you want in your studio/library.” — Meg Hewings, Hour

“The introductory essay is smart, political, thorough, thoughtful and filled with interesting references. . . . Acknowledging labourers, manufacturers, producers, musicians, composers, listeners, consumers and attendees as contributors to electronic music, Rodgers cracks open a narrow divide of written history and offers an inspiring read and dialogue for readers to engage in.” — Deanna Radford, Herizons

“What does it mean to be a female electronic musician? This seemingly simple question lies at the heart of Pink Noises, Tara Rodgers’s compelling exploration into the relationship between technology and gender. . . . Rodgers’s book serves as both an introduction to the world of music and technology, even providing an extensive glossary, and inspirational manifesto, revealing that to succeed as an artist is to follow one’s own unique path, no matter what.” — Nick Zurko, Tom Tom Magazine

Tara Rodgers’ Pink Noises: Women on Electronic Music and Sound fills an important void in the current literature dealing with experimental art. . . . Pink Noises challenges established narratives about the history and practice of electronic music by celebrating the works and ideas of female artists usually left out of ‘dominant gendered discourses.”’This Duke University Press publication is essential feminist reading. It is also meant to resonate forcefully beyond the realm of women’s studies. . . . [A] truly informative and engaging book.” — Eric Fillion,

Pink Noises is an extremely well informed, informative and inspiring discussion of some of the most crucial aspects and developments in electronic music. The innovators and actors behind these developments happen to be women and Pink Noises thereby highlights the astounding male centeredness in standard accounts and representation in electronic music.” — Anna Gavanas, Dancecult

Pink Noises is an original and important contribution to discourse in electronic music, musicology, and gender studies. Rodgers’s unique background as both electronic musician and scholar allows her to ask incisive questions about both creative process and cultural situation. And the introductory essay is nothing less than groundbreaking in its attempt to birth an alternate historiography for electronic music and to theorize the language and systems of electronic music.” — Betsey Biggs, Women and Music

“[A] vitally needed book, and it really is wonderful to read so many women talking passionately about the subject.” — Emily Manuel, Bitch

"I love opening this book and flipping to a random interview. Each one is extremely personal but also technical and conceptual, exploring the artist's unique relationship to sound and space. It's refreshing to read about these women's musical journeys in the context of a male-dominated field like electronic music." — Lyra Pramuk, Artforum

"Although this book was published in 2010, the answers are timeless and not based on one software or operating system. A reader from 2020 or even 2050 has something to gain here." — Nicole Kirch,

Pink Noises is a breath of fresh air when you look at how many electronic music books are about more of the same: boys with toys. From the Middle Eastern–inflected electronica of DJ Mutamassik, to the Punjabi rhythms of DJ Rekha, to the academix of Pamela Z and Pauline Oliveros, Tara Rodgers’s examination of women as central figures in the creative processes of twenty-first-century art and music is a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of music in our hyper-connected and hyper-post-everything contemporary life.” — Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky


Availability: In stock
Price: $27.95

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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Tara Rodgers (Analog Tara) is an independent writer, composer, and musician, and the founder of, a website devoted to women DJs, electronic musicians, and sound artists. Her electronic compositions have been released on several recordings and exhibited at venues including the Eyebeam Museum in New York City and the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto. She has received the New Genre Composition Prize from the International Alliance of Women in Music and a 2006 Frog Peak Experimental Music Award. Rodgers has an MFA in electronic music from Mills College. She is a Ph.D. candidate in communication studies at McGill University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Part 1. Time and Memory 25

Pauline Oliveros 27

Kaffe Matthews 34

Carla Scaletti 43

Eliane Radigue 54

Part 2. Space and Perspective 61

Maggi Payne 63

Ikue Mori 73

Beth Coleman (M. Singe) 81

Maria Chavez 94

Part 3. Nature and Synthetics 105

Christina Kubisch 107

Annea Lockwood 114

Chantal Passamonte (Mira Calix) 128

Jessica Rylan 139

Part 4. Circulation and Movements 157

Susan Morabito 159

Rekha Malhotra (DJ Rekha) 169

Giulia Loli (DJ Mtuamassik) 178

Jeannie Hopper 190

Part 5. Language, Machines, Embodiment 201

Antye Gueie (AGF) 203

Pamela Z 216

Laetitia Sonami 226

Bevin Kelley (Blevin Blectum) 235

Part 6. Alone/Together 243

Le Tigre 245

Bev Stanton (Arthur Loves Plastic) 255

Keiko Uenishi (o.blaat) 263

Riz Maslen (Neotropic) 273

Glossary 283

Discography 295

References 301

Index 313
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Winner, 2011 Pauline Alderman Award, presented by the International Alliance for Women in Music (IAWM)

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4673-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4661-6
Publicity material