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* An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2001 meeting of the American Musicological Society in Atlanta, Georgia. I would like to thank Seth Brodsky for indulging the conversations that started and propelled this project, and Paul Miller for lending his computer skills.

1. At 1:36 in the fifth movement of Webern’s Six Pieces, a marimba plays an ascending arpeggio punctuated with a triangle.

2. Manuel describes postmodern sampling as follows: “ … in most of these cases, the sampled passages function as simulacra … to be enjoyed for their very meaninglessness, their obvious artificiality, in a characteristically postmodern exhilaration of surfaces” (233).

3. While I have chosen to label Mono’s music as “ambient”—a label often used by fans and critics in reference to Mono—this is not a wholly satisfactory designation. Ambient music does not generally have a continuous beat, and the songs usually last far longer than the traditional 3–5 minutes. While “trip hop” perhaps more accurately describes Mono’s sound, in that most of Mono’s songs are short and do contain a dance beat more consistent with trip hop, I feel that ambient better describes the music’s mood and function. Although downtown and ambient both fall under the label of “electronica,” I find this to be an exhausted and relatively meaningless umbrella term that can apply to any and all synthesizer-based music.

4. A fairly complete index of these terms, along with definitions and musical examples of dance-related musics can be found at http://www.hyperreal.org/raves/altraveFAQ.html.

5. Both Roseberry and Remstein confuse the samples present in “Hello Cleveland!”

6. The complete Lyotard quote is as follows: “I define postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives. This incredulity is undoubtedly a product of progress in the sciences: but that progress in turn presupposes it. To the obsolescence of the metanarrative apparatus of legitimation corresponds, most notably, the crisis of metaphysical philosophy and of the university institution which in the past relied on it. The narrative function is losing its functors, its great hero, its great dangers, its great voyages, its great goal. It is being dispersed in clouds of narrative language elements—narrative, but also denotative, prescriptive, descriptive, and so on” (xxiv).


Baudrillard, Jean. “The Ecstasy of Communication.” The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. New York: The New Press, 1983. 126–134.

Dalmonte, Rossana and Bálint András Varga, eds. Luciano Berio: Two Interviews. New York: Marion Boyars, 1985.

Hilker, Chris. The Official alt.rave FAQ. 8 May 1994 <http://www.hyperreal.org/raves/altraveFAQ.html>.

Jameson, Fredric. “Postmodernism and Consumer Society.” The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. Ed. Hal Foster. New York: The New Press, 1983. 111–125.

Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ed. Richard Ellman. New York: Viking Press, 1964.

Lyotard, Jean-François. The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Manuel, Peter. “Music as Symbol, Music as Simulacrum: Postmodern, Pre-Modern, and Modern Aesthetics in Subcultual Popular Musics.” Popular Music 14.2 (May 1995): 227–239.

“Mono’s Official Webpage.” The Echo Label Website. 20 April 2001 <http://www.mono.echo.co.uk/html/biog.htm>. (No longer online).

Molineaux, Sam. “Martin Virgo of Mono: Recording Formica Blues.” 10 November 2001 <http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/jun98/articles/mono.html>.

Remstein, Bob. “CD Reviews: Mono, Formica Blues.” Wall of Sound. 2001 <http://www.wallofsound.go.com/archive/reviews/stories/3398_36Index.html>. (No longer online).

Roseberry, Craig. Review of Formica Blues, by Mono. 20 April 2001 <http://www.djmixed.com>. (No longer online).

Rousseau, Marcelle. “Review: Mono’s Blues Lives Up To Its Name.” Arcade Online 20 February 1998 <http://www.tulane.edu/~tuhulla/19980220/arcade/Mono.htm>.

Taylor, Charles. “Mono Tones: The Pleasure of Formica Blues.” Boston Phoenix (2–9 March 1998). 20 April 2001 <http://www.weeklywire.com/ww/03-02-98/boston_music_l.html>. (No longer online).

Toop, David. Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound and Imaginary Worlds. London: Serpent’s Tail, 1995.


Berg, Alban. Lulu Suite. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Cond. Simon Rattle. EMI Records Ltd., 1989.

Berio, Luciano. Sinfonia. Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. Cond. Riccardo Chailly. London Records, 1990.

Mono. Formica Blues. Echo/Mercury Records, 1997.

Satie, Eric. Gymnopédies. Satie: Piano Music. Perf. Frank Glazer, piano. Vox Box, 1990

Schoenberg, Arnold. Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 16. Cond. Simon Rattle. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. EMI Records Ltd., 1989.

Webern, Anton. Six Orchestral Pieces, Op. 6. Cond. Simon Rattle. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. EMI Records Ltd., 1989.

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“Hello Cleveland!”


Yatrika Shah-Rais

Review Essays


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