Dr James Mooney – principal investigator on the Hugh Davies project – has recently published a journal article on ‘Hugh Davies’s Electronic Music Documentation 1961–1968.’ The article appears in the international, peer-reviewed journal Organised Sound, and (apart from Davies’s own writings) is the first detailed study of Davies’s work to be published.
The article focuses on how Davies, via his research and documentation in the 1960s, provided a radical new vision of electronic music as a truly international, interdisciplinary activity. It begins with a discussion of several texts on electronic music that were published between 1952 and 1962—before Davies carried out his research, that is. These publications tended only to discuss electronic music activities in a small handful of Western European and North American countries (France, Germany, the United States, and their close neighbours). They also tended to treat electronic music as the preserve of an elite group of avant-garde composers, with little or no discussion of the use of electronic music techniques in other musical or creative disciplines.
Davies’s work, by complete contrast, charted the development of electronic music in at least 39 different countries, as well as documenting the use of electronic music techniques in other musical, artistic, and technical disciplines, including sculpture, painting, poetry, synthesizers, and computers, as well as popular music and jazz. Hugh Davies, in other words, showed electronic music to be a far broader phenomenon—in terms of its international reach and interdisciplinary scope—than had ever been previously recognised.
The article also discusses Davies’s motivation for representing electronic music in this way, which has to do with his belief in international, interdisciplinary exchange as the bringers of aesthetic and artistic diversification. The article’s abstract (and the full article, for Organised Sound subscribers) is available via the publisher’s website at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1355771814000521. The full article, minus typesetting and correct pagination, is also freely available via the White Rose Research Online repository: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/80587.