Musics (magazine)

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Musics was an independent magazine (ISSN: 0307-2924) launched with Issue No. 1 April/May 1975 of MUSICS an impromental experivisation arts magazine. It was dedicated to the coverage of free improvised music. Its need was originally suggested in a conversation between Evan Parker and Madelaine and Martin Davidson.

In 1975 Derek Bailey, Steve Beresford, Max Boucher. Paul Burwell, Jack Cooke, Peter Cusack, Hugh Davies, Madelaine and Martin Davidson, Richard Leigh, Evan Parker, John Russell, David Toop, Philipp Wachsmann and Colin Wood formed the journal. The journal moved quickly to discard much of its jazz-dependence on personalities to become a collective.

Mandy Davidson edited the first issue. Soon afterwards she moved to the USA and it was decided that there would be no permanent editor. Max Boucher was appointed as Production Editor.

The journal was distributed through postal subscriptions and through a network of alternative bookshops and similar outlets worldwide. For example this author[who?] purchased his copies in Black Swan records in Vancouver BC, Canada. The Musics collective took the principled position of relying on this form of direct finance from readers, rather than seeking income from advertising or grant-aid.

Musics came out six times a year. With full respect to Bells and The Grackle (sold in the same shops), the content of its 23 issues made it arguably the most significant publication in the history of improvised music in the 1970s.

MUSICS argued for the destruction of artificial boundaries and linked jazz, the music of composers such as John Cage, and indigenous and non-European musics. It was significant in the discussion of traditional Asian instruments (Clive Bell) as paths of equal value for the performance of musics, a term that discarded the use of the word jazz. Early issues covered audio soundscape work reviewing performance events ranging from a cliff-top piano hurling festival or burning pianos, trap set improvisation against a rising sea tide that drowned cymbals and floated and retuned toms, or drummer Han Bennick's inclusion of saws and power tools into his percussion set. Electronics were explored as micro-environments at a level of equality with acoustic instruments in the precursors of glitch, such as the STEIM experiments with the cracklebox or the circuit board work of Hugh Davies (1943–2005), and a furious attack on the supposed limits to what was possible with brass instruments, notably by Steve Lacy and Evan Parker. Co-conspirators in this cultural discovery of new world MUSICS and improvisation included baritone saxophonist Anthony Braxton, the Chicago school of jazz collectives, the revolutionary German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorf (1928–2005), both American and European Free jazz, Michel Waisvisz of STEIM in the Netherherlands, and connections to the ECM record label.

However the real contribution of the journal was not about reviewing or diffusing techniques, such as circular breathing, but in its deeply rooted discussions of philosophical questions and positions on the basic nature of music, improvisation, and filters of race, gender, traditional approaches, or audience expectations.[citation needed] For instance analyses Lindsay Cooper in her legendary[citation needed] essay Women, Music, Feminism – notes in Musics #14 (October 1977) in a differentiated way the specific difficulties in music to overcome societal defined gender roles.

The magazine collective convened and organised the inaugural meeting of the London Musicians Collective in 1975.