Jimi Hendrix: Soundscapes

Author(s): Marie Paule MacDonald

Reaktion Books | No Category | Biography

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes Jimi Hendrix as 'arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music'. He played at a time when electric amplification extended the scope of the instrument to three-dimensional, urban space. Bob Dylan theorized that Hendrix found new spaces in his songs.Jimi Hendrix: Soundscapes shows how Hendrix created music in particular places - from the California coast to New York City, his beginnings in Seattle and his end in London. Marie-Paule Macdonald shows Hendrix to be a city-dweller, nighthawk and wanderer who favoured the modest surroundings of ordinary buildings and public places and who loved to stumble upon seedy basement bars and intimate clubs - to both visit and perform in. She explores how the rumble, uproar, babble and discord of the city inspired and became part of Hendrix's powerful repertoire, and how he commissioned an architect and a sound engineer to create an urban recording studio to capture reverberation, bounce, sustain and echo.Hendrix led a collective musical revolution and performed in innovative, ad-hoc spaces: open-air festivals, inexpensive under-used music halls, dilapidated psychedelic ballrooms and any other reverberant spaces he could find. Jimi Hendrix: Soundscapes offers fascinating new insight into Hendrix's resounding talent and the way he exploited the physical places and noise around him to create his distinct, innovative sound.


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“In her introduction, Macdonald explains that she sees Soundscapes as her vehicle to “present a frame for perceiving the aural textures that Hendrix heard, invented, composed, edited and incorporated into his guitar and recording vocabulary”, and consider “the environments, territories and landscapes Hendrix encountered”. …[The] book still provides a concise, engaging read for the kind of dogged Hendrix completist who never tires of scouring anything concerning the solar system’s greatest guitarist for new nuggets of fact or wisdom.” 

- Record Collector Magazine (JC BookGrocer)

Marie-Paule Macdonald is a professor of architectural and urban design at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She is the author of "Rockspaces" and "Wild in the Streets."

General Fields

  • : 9781780235301
  • : Reaktion Books, Limited
  • : Reaktion Books
  • : 0.408
  • : March 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Marie Paule MacDonald
  • : Paperback
  • : 224