Iara Lee's stylish and informative survey of the ever-evolving world of contemporary electronic music -- "electronica" -- is so up-to-the-minute it will soon be outdated. But it's a handy primer to a complex scene with a complicated history. Like many of the artists
profiled, Lee celebrates electronica's cut-and-paste, press 'n' play approach to composition (which uses the technology of sound reproduction -- samplers, sequencers, tape-decks and turntables -- as instruments) as the perfect soundtrack for our postmodern condition. Lee dates electronica's
history back to Luigi Russolo, the early 20th-century, Italian Futurist who theorized an "art of noises," in which...