Exciting beginnings of a conceptual framework that might shine light on structural functions throughout the infinite territories of "musicking"-- music as it's played, rather than as a fixed/discrete object. This is a theory of Music Space-- all possible music-- and its subsets, music spaces, which might be: instruments, works, styles, -- maybe all of these things simultaneously ('alien genres'? great speculative chapter on these near the end). Formal musical models ringing with a kind of vitality once again (this is nothing if not a book of beautifully imagined musics)-- a new process music, a theory of objects and variability across all scales, a theory of movement, tactics of 'dequantization' woven throughout.
A new object-oriented formalism, a kind of serialism for our times-- a connection made explicit in the introduction, recalling the early 20th century's own theory of variability which opened new spaces, which said "yes" to the affective forces of all twelve equal-tempered tones and their combinations-- with Harper's ontology, a new "YES" to all the materials that we have at our disposal, all objects, all spaces. Infinite Music reads as a proud inheritor of Modernist ideals, a kind of response to the helplessness of 'retromania' that Simon Reynolds and others have identified in recent years. Is pop culture obsessed with its own past? Dequantize it!
The language can be a bit dry if you're not prepared for it. The imagined musics here are revealed as architectural constructions rather than poetic flows-- for the most part, it's our own imaginary drifts through the spaces that fill them in with "content", the book merely setting the stage. Remember, though, it's about "Music Space" & its territories/structures-- the stage/space itself (in motion) is the subject.
In any case-- a very inspiring read. Highly recommended for anyone interested in where music is at, and where we might "musick" it from here. It's a landmark, as far as I'm concerned, in the formal project of dissolving music objects-- something that we hear in classical "transition liquidations", in improvisation, in open-form composition, in collage, remixes, music software spaces, etc. Aesthetics of fluidity, dispersion-- a powerful trajectory of musical development with many bright futures ahead of it.