downloaded from the web on feb 5 1996 (C) 1995 Internet Underground Music Archive IUMA / Genre / Experimental 719w

* Holtzman, Steve / Los Altos, California, USA

Steve Holtzman is a composer, musician, and the author of the book Digital Mantras (The MIT Press, 1994). His musical works, digital, analog and instrumental have been performed in Europe and the United States. He has released two CDs on the Shriek! label: Guitar Travel and Digital Mantras (CD). His e-mail is

The CDs Guitar Travel and Digital Mantras can be ordered from .

The book Digital Mantras, published by The MIT Press, is available at all fine book stores.

For information or orders, contact: or write: Shriek! P.O. Box 1612 Los Altos, CA 94023

Recordings from Guitar Travel: Io and Jovian Cloud.

On Guitar Travel, all music is from guitars, and all guitars are played by Steve Holtzman. This CD includes unusual jazz combinations, such as Io and amore da fiesole, guitar synthesizers like never before in Europa and Jupiter, and heavy-metal guitar solos such as Jovian Cloud.

Io is for 2 guitars and a bass. Io, a moon of Jupiter, is one of the most active and interesting planetary bodies known. It is shaped by its combination of intense volcanic activity, exotic chemistry and complex interactions. So it the music.

Jovian Cloud is for solo guitar. Beyond the swirl of Jupiter, there is an echo of solitude...

Recording from Digital Mantras (CD): Machine Music ICL 2970.

Machine Music ICL 2970 is completely idiomatic digital sound. Discarding traditional acoustic models for describing sound that preexisted the computer -- Fourier synthesis, frequency modulation synthesis, and concepts such as frequency and harmony -- the question becomes how sound can be described in uniquely digital terms.

At the core of digital technology, there is a binary world, either zero or one. The most basic digital processes are machine operations that manipulate strings of bits of information. Computer operations store, retrieve, add, XOR, and shift a string of bits. At its most fundamental level, a computer executes machine operations that manipulate binary information.

The sounds of a computer executing these machine operations is a completely idiomatic digital sound. Machine Music ICL 2970 is the direct monitoring of every operation executed by an ICL 2970 mainframe computer. It's the sound of the computer's basic operations: store, retrieve, add, XOR, logical shift, and so on. Not sound described in terms of frequency or harmonic analyses or any other acoustic models that preexisted the computer; but machine instructions that were themselves conceived as part of the invention of the computer's architecture. Similar techniques were used to create the digital noises found in my After Artaud or After Schoenberg. The sounds generated cannot be conceived of in any terms that preexisted the computer.

The title of Machine Music ICL 2970, recorded in 1978, is a reference to Lou Reed's double-album Metal Machine Music from 1974.

Digital Mantras : The Languages of Abstract and Virtual Worlds (the book, published by The MIT Press, 1994)

In developing a new philosophy of creativity for the digital age, Steve Holtzman shows that the computer's influence on the way we create will be profound. Digital Mantras anticipates a day when computers will be fully integrated into the creative process.

Digital Mantras is a journey across centuries, hemispheres, and disciplines which seeks to understand our artistic inheritance at the level of structure, and to connect that legacy with exciting developments in music, language, the visual arts, and virtual reality today. At the heart of these developments is what Holtzman defines as the ultimate manipulator of abstract structure: the computer.

Thoughtful and thought-provoking. The New York Times

Holtzman preaches the virtues of structuralist aesthetics and computerized art with the fervor of a prophet; in the end, he provides one of the most insightful considerations of the aesthetics of digital culture to date. Kirkus Reviews

Digital Mantras is must-read material for any aspiring renaissance person in the digital age. Stephen Travis Pope, Editor, Computer Music Journal.

GUITAR TRAVEL Instrumental compositions for guitar, bass and Harp, guitar synthesizer, including Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Jupiter Total time: 32:02

DIGITAL MANTRAS Including After Artaud, After Schoenberg, For Solo Harp, Machine Music ICL 2970, and Titanic Suite. Time time: 73:33