Alexander G. Weheliye: Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity (2005)

9 June 2020, dusan

Phonographies explores the numerous links and relays between twentieth-century black cultural production and sound technologies from the phonograph to the Walkman. Highlighting how black authors, filmmakers, and musicians have actively engaged with recorded sound in their work, Alexander G. Weheliye contends that the interplay between sound technologies and black music and speech enabled the emergence of modern black culture, of what he terms ‘sonic Afro-modernity’. He shows that by separating music and speech from their human sources, sound-recording technologies beginning with the phonograph generated new modes of thinking, being, and becoming. Black artists used these new possibilities to revamp key notions of modernity—among these, ideas of subjectivity, temporality, and community. Phonographies is a powerful argument that sound technologies are integral to black culture, which is, in turn, fundamental to Western modernity.

Weheliye surveys literature, film, and music to focus on engagements with recorded sound. He offers substantial new readings of canonical texts by W. E. B. Du Bois and Ralph Ellison, establishing dialogues between these writers and popular music and film ranging from Louis Armstrong’s voice to DJ mixing techniques to Darnell Martin’s 1994 movie I Like It Like That. Looking at how questions of diasporic belonging are articulated in contemporary black musical practices, Weheliye analyzes three contemporary Afro-diasporic musical acts: the Haitian and African American rap group the Fugees, the Afro- and Italian-German rap collective Advanced Chemistry, and black British artist Tricky and his partner Martina. Phonographies imagines the African diaspora as a virtual sounding space, one that is marked, in the twentieth century and twenty-first, by the circulation of culture via technological reproductions—records and tapes, dubbing and mixing, and more.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, NC, 2005
ISBN 0822335778, 9780822335771
xii+286 pages

Reviews: Matthew Somoroff (NewBlackMan, 2006), Greg Tate (Souls, 2007), Emma Louise Kilkelly (Journal of American Studies, 2007), George Lipsitz (Journal of the Society for American Music, 2008).

Commentary: Alexander G. Weheliye (Small Axe, 2014), Tavia Nyong’o (Small Axe, 2014).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (updated on 2021-4-13)

Peter Shapiro (ed.): Modulations: A History of Electronic Music: Throbbing Words on Sound (2000)

29 July 2017, dusan

Modulations contains several large essays written by music critics and musicians that provide historical and critical survey of electronic music by genre, discussing labels, sub-genres, stylistic developments, musicians, and records.

Chapters by Rob Young (Pioneers), Simon Reynolds (Krautrock), Peter Shapiro (Disco, Post Punk), Kodwo Eshun (House), David Toop (Hip-Hop), Mike Rubin (Techno), Chris Sharp (Jungle), Tony Marcus (Ambient), Kurt Reighley (Downtempo), and Michael Berk (Technology).

Project director: Iara Lee
Publisher Caipirinha Productions, New York, 2000
ISBN 189102406X, 9781891024061
255 pages

Film reviews: Stephen Holden (NYT, 1998), Tony Ramos (Hyperreal, n.d.).

Wikipedia
Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (39 MB, no OCR)
See also film documentary, dir. Iara Lee, 1998, 75 min.

Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies (2011)

18 July 2014, dusan

“Written by the leading scholars and researchers in the emerging field of sound studies, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies offers new and fully engaging perspectives on the significance of sound in its material and cultural forms. The book considers sounds and music as experienced in such diverse settings as shop floors, laboratories, clinics, design studios, homes, and clubs, across an impressively broad range of historical periods and national and cultural contexts.

Science has traditionally been understood as a visual matter, a study which has historically been undertaken with optical technologies such as slides, graphs, and telescopes. This book questions that notion powerfully by showing how listening has contributed to scientific practice. Sounds have always been a part of human experience, shaping and transforming the world in which we live in ways that often go unnoticed. Sounds and music, the authors argue, are embedded in the fabric of everyday life, art, commerce, and politics in ways which impact our perception of the world. Through an extraordinarily diverse set of case studies, authors illustrate how sounds — from the sounds of industrialization, to the sounds of automobiles, to sounds in underwater music and hip-hop, to the sounds of nanotechnology — give rise to new forms listening practices. In addition, the book discusses the rise of new public problems such as noise pollution, hearing loss, and the “end” of the amateur musician that stem from the spread and appropriation of new sound- and music-related technologies, analog and digital, in many domains of life.”

Publisher Oxford University Press, 2011
ISBN 0199995818, 9780195388947
624 pages

Reviews: John F. Barber (Leonardo, 2012), Bruce Johnson (Popular Music, 2013), William Cheng (Journal of the American Musicological Society, 2014).

Companion website
Publisher

PDF, PDF (56 MB)