The Fourth of July is a noisy holiday, and this year it’s going to be even noisier, as it’s Black Scat’s 10th anniversary. Thus, it’s fitting that we’ve launched Luigi Russolo‘s Italian Futurist classic, THE ART OF NOISES, in a new translation by Doug Skinner. The book includes a seminal introduction by Skinner, as well as his copious notes on the translation. Originally released in Milan by Edizioni Futuriste di Poesia in 1916, this text was a sonic boom that awakened 20th-century avant-garde musical aesthetics and inspired generations of experimental composers.
In the words of Daniel Matei, it was THE ART OF NOISES that “elevated Russolo to the level of Marinetti and Boccioni.”
Artist Norman Conquest has designed our edition and crafted a near facsimile of the original Italian volume, while adding a few obstreperous flourishes of his own. We hope you’ll celebrate Scat’s ten years by ordering a copy of this gem — #44 in our legendary Absurdist Texts & Documents series.
Have a BLAST this summer and make some noise!
THE ART OF NOISES
Translated from the Italian by Doug Skinner
Absurdist Texts & Documents No. 44
—A Zang Tumb Tumb Edition—
Paperback, illustrated; 134 pp., $15
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Luigi Russolo (1885-1947) was born into a musical family in Portogruaro, Italy. As a child, he studied violin and piano, but decided to switch to painting. When F. T. Marinetti launched Futurism in 1909, Russolo soon became one of its principal members. In 1913, he wrote a manifesto, “L’Arte dei rumori” (“The Art of Noises”), proclaiming a new music based on noises; he spent the next few years building instruments, giving concerts, and expanding his manifesto into a book. A war injury in 1917 slowed him down, but he continued painting and giving concerts throughout the ‘20s, as well as building several “noise harmoniums.” In the ‘30s he became interested in the occult, and wrote a long philosophical dialogue called Al di là della materia (Beyond Matter), arguing for a society based on spirituality. He died in 1947. Although his scores and instruments were lost in World War II, his ideas continue to fascinate and influence many musicians.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR
Doug Skinner has translated many books from the French and Italian, including works by Alphonse Allais, Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, Caroline Crépiat, Charles Cros, Alfred Jarry, and Giovanni Battista Nazari. Black Scat has published several books of his fiction (Sleepytime Cemetery, The Snowman Three Doors Down), cartoons (The Unknown Adjective, Shorten the Classics), and music (The Doug Skinner Songbook). He has contributed to The Fortean Times, Strange Attractor Journal, Cabinet, Fate, Weirdo, Nickelodeon, Black Scat Review, and other fine periodicals. His musical activities include scores for dance (ODC-San Francisco, Margaret Jenkins), as well as several shows by actor/clown Bill Irwin, including The Regard of Flight, The Courtroom, and The Harlequin Studies; his albums That Regrettable Weekend and It All Went Pfft are available on Bandcamp.