review by Stuart Brand
INSTRUMENTS OF CHANGE
Jaron Lanier; Point Music, Polygram, 1994.
EXOTIC INSTRUMENTS abound in Lanier's first album, including the piano and alto sax treated as if they were exotic instruments. He describes the Thai khaen (cuts # 2 and 14), for instance, as "a heart-stoppingly beautiful instrument that looks like a miniature hand-held bamboo forest and sounds like a whole horn section by itself." Lanier was an instrument collector, musician and composer before, during, and after his pioneering role with "virtual reality"--inventing the term, devising the "dataglove," and founding VPL Inc. Once upon a time he played clarinet in the New York subways. These days he is performing music, giving talks, writing books, and consulting on a dazzling variety of projects (some of them GBN gigs).
QUOTED FROM THE TEXT:
Musical instruments have often been the most advanced technologies around, sometimes surpassing even the instruments of war. More importantly, though, instruments are always the most eloquent technologies of an era. As the most eloquent machines, instruments predict the future of culture, when we will communicate increasingly through machines. --Jaron Lanier, liner notes