As John Zorn outlines in his introduction to the book, he assembled this project as a reaction to the lack of insightful critical writing about the generation of adventurous musicians he is a part of. This group of artists and their work is not easily defined, although critics have tried applying ambiguous terms like 'comprovisation,' 'postmodernism,' and 'totalism." Anyone familiar with the output of record labels like Tzadik, Avant, Atavistic, and Knitting Factory will recognize several names among the contributors. Unlike the usual music essay which dissects an artist's recordings, most of these are very informal and intriguing peeks into the thought processes and compositional practices of the musicians themselves. Bill Frisell provides an approach to guitar fingering, Marc Ribot talks about earplugs, Ikue Mori discusses how she works with drum machines, and Bob Ostertag details how he adapted the sounds of a queer riot for string quartet. There's a discussion on plunderphonics with John Oswald, an overview from Elliott Sharp on his group Carbon, and David Mahler expounds his responses to a set of nine questions posed by Pauline Oliveros. The writings range from brief 2 or 3 page entries (Mike Patton's "How We Eat Our Young," Marilyn Crispell's "Elements of Improvisation") to long and elaborate essays (Scott Johnson's "Counterpoint," David Rosenboom's "Propositional Music"). Some of the contributions are more unusual, such as Zorn's "Treatment for a Film in Fifteen Scenes," Fred Frith's notebook extracts, or Peter Garland's journal of his trip to Australia's Northern Territory. All of them provide for inspiring and thought-provoking reading, making this an invaluable book for both fans of these artists and aspiring musicians of the avant garde. An appendix of brief bios for each artist ends the book, along with short lists of recommended listenings.