Charles Fourier imagined a whole society structured by music. Hector Berlioz wrote science fiction. Hugo Gernsback looked forward to telematic operas. John Cage imagined an infinite sound palette. But where are today's musical futurists? The Music of the Future is not a book of predictions or speculations about how to save the music business or the bleeding edge of technologies. Rather, is is more like a history of failures, mapping 200 years of attempts by composers, performers and critics to imagine a future for music. Encompassing utopian dream cities, temporal dislocations and projects for the emancipation of all sounds, The Music of the Future is finally a sort of call to arms for everyone engaged in music: to fail again, fail better.
Robert Barry is a freelance writer and composer, based in London. A regular contributor to Frieze, The Wire, Art Review, and Fact, he is also visual arts editor at The Quietus and digital culture editor at Review 31. His music has been featured in films and published, in the form of prose scores, by BCNVT of Stockholm, Sweden.