Music as a Predictive Science

Jaques Attali

In the first edition of my book, “Noise: the political economy of music”, published in 1977, I was arguing that music is not coincidental. That there is nothing random about it. Nor is it anecdotal in the history of societies. Fundamentally, music is a metaphor for putting in order. Indeed, by transforming noise into harmony,… Read more »

The Crannies of the Present/Such as it is

Brian Massumi

Part 1: The Crannies of the Present This essay revisits the infamous “Libet lag”: the discovery of a half-second gap in conscious awareness during which perception is forming and liable to modulation by nonconscious cues that appreciably modulate subsequent action. The debate aroused by this discovery has traditionally centered on the question of its implications… Read more »

Sadistic Listening

Steven Connor

Listening has a very good reputation. We seem thoroughly persuaded that looking is active while listening is passive. So looking is always liable to become a violating, objectifying and diminishing action, while listening is thought of not only as harmless but as positively nurturing and concernful. Looking is full of the violent certainty that distance… Read more »

TEMP”AURAL” MEMORY The role of historicity, recollection, recording and archives in sonic culture

Wolfgang Ernst

That the socio-cultures of hearing and the sonospheres of listening have been extended by the impact of technical media in modernity is an academic commonplace by now. The following thoughts rather focus on technologies themselves as archaeologists of acoustic and sonic phenomena such as the Siren songs and archaic sound recording, confronting “hearing history” with… Read more »

Improvisation, Action Understanding, and Music Cognition with and without Bodies

Vijay Iyer

A preliminary definition of improvisation encompasses such a broad range of human actions that it is helpful to consider both improvisation and rhythm in terms of embodied cognition and a notion of bodily empathy. This suggests a possible (though unstable and inconclusive) connection to action understanding, empathy, and mirror neurons, while acknowledging the latter’s disputed… Read more »

Earless Hearing

Mara Mills

At first glance, the history of institutional responses to deafness in Europe and the United States seems to exemplify the trajectory of biomedicalization, as described by Adele Clarke and her former graduate students.1 Their periodization begins with “the rise of medicine” in the late nineteenth century, followed around 1940 by the era of medicalization—in which… Read more »

Cycling, Going, Grooving: On Repetition and Dynamism in Electronic Dance Music

Mark J. Butler

In electronic dance music (EDM), recorded objects—vinyl records, digital files, loops, and samples—form the bases of fluid improvised performances. Music that can be held in one’s hand, that is not only precomposed but also inscribed onto wax grooves, is made to dissolve, recombine, and sound anew through the creative metallurgy of DJ and laptop sets…. Read more »

Acoustic Master Narratives and Paralogies

Veit Erlmann

Following Lyotard’s famous phrase of the grands récits that legitimize modernity’s claims to truth one may ask: what about sound? Is there such a thing as an acoustic meta-narrative that legitimizes modern knowledge through sound? Conversely, might there be an acoustic “paralogy” in which “sound-games” displace modernity’s totalizing claims? Using three historical works of reference… Read more »