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This essay argues for the concept of a utopian impulse, a liberating power possible in music and dance. With a focus on African music, the essay argues against conventional Eurocentric world-music commodification and points instead to new music movements from Congo and from Angola that, engaging...
Freestyle is both a musical genre and, as a multitude of fanzines will tell you, a lifestyle. The playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas evoked our teenage surround when he called it a "system of living." Described as "android descarga" by music critic Peter Shapiro and "a soap opera set to music" by...
The introduction to "The Politics of Recorded Sound," this special issue of Social Text , lays out the unifying mission of the diverse essays: to study sound recording within a wide-ranging, historicized understanding of mediation as a process embedded within networks of power. A significant...
This essay examines the sonic archive of tape recording artist Tony Schwartz, in particular his 1955 Folkways album Nueva York: A Tape Documentary of Puerto Rican New Yorkers . Working from assumptions located in sound studies, I argue that Schwartz's recordings are essential listening for two...
This article reframes the history of recorded sound to take phonographs and player-pianos into account on more or less equal terms. It argues that the two technologies developed in complementary, dialectical relation to each other: one analog, storing and conveying an acoustic event (i.e.,...
This essay examines 1890s commercial audio recordings—none of which is known to exist today—that reenacted lynchings of African Americans,in particular, the mass spectacle lynching of Henry Smith of Paris, Texas, in 1893. Despite rumors that the recordings were made live, they were in fact...
This article traces the history of speech wave visualization and the longstanding relationship between phonetics, communication engineering, and deaf oral education. American telephone engineers drew on this history to build the sound spectrograph in the 1940s, a machine that transformed the...
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