Sound transformed British life in the "age of noise" between 1914 and 1945. The sonic maelstrom of mechanized society bred anger and anxiety and even led observers to forecast the end of civilization. The noise was, as James G. Mansell shows, modernity itself, expressed in aural form, with immense implications for the construction of the self. Tracing the ideas, feelings, and representations prompted by life in early twentieth century Britain, Mansell examines how and why sound shaped the self. He works at the crux of cultural and intellectual history, analyzing the meanings that were attached to different types of sound, who created these typologies and why, and how these meanings connected to debates about modernity. From traffic noise to air raids, everyday sounds elicited new ways of thinking about being modern. Each individual negotiated his or her own subjective meanings through hopes or fears for sound. As Mansell considers the different ways Britons heard their world, he reveals why we must take sound into account in our studies of cultural and social history.
Beloved as the city of light, Paris in the nineteenth century sparked the acclaim of poets and the odium of the bourgeois with its distinctive sounds. Street vendors bellowed songs known as the Cris de Paris that had been associated with their trades since the Middle Ages; musicians itinerant and otherwise played for change; and flâneurs-writers, fascinated with the city's underside, listened and recorded much about what they heard.
Aimée Boutin tours the sonic space that orchestrated the different, often conflicting sound cultures that defined the street ambience of Paris. Mining accounts that range from guidebooks to verse, Boutin braids literary, cultural, and social history to reconstruct a lost auditory environment. Throughout, impressions of street noise shape writers' sense of place and perception of modern social relations. As Boutin shows, the din of the Cris contrasted economic abundance with the disparities of the capital, old and new traditions, and the vibrancy of street commerce with an increasing bourgeois demand for quiet. In time, peddlers who provided the soundtrack for Paris's narrow streets yielded to modernity, with its taciturn shopkeepers and wide-open boulevards, and the fading songs of the Cris became a dirge for the passing of old ways.
". . . a great blow-by-blow account of an exciting and still-legendary scene."
From the early days of John Lee Hooker to the heyday of Motown and beyond, Detroit has enjoyed a long reputation as one of the crucibles of American pop music. In Grit, Noise, and Revolution, David Carson turns the spotlight on those hard-rocking, long-haired musicians-influenced by Detroit's R&B heritage-who ultimately helped change the face of rock 'n' roll.
Carson tells the story of some of the great garage-inspired, blue-collar Motor City rock 'n' roll bands that exemplified the Detroit rock sound: The MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges, Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, SRC, the Bob Seger System, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, and Grand Funk Railroad.
An indispensable guide for rock aficionados, Grit, Noise, and Revolution features stories of these groundbreaking groups and is the first book to survey Detroit music of the 1960s and 70s-a pivotal era in rock music history.
For almost sixty years, media technologies have promised users the ability to create sonic safe spaces for themselves—from bedside white noise machines to Beats by Dre's “Hear What You Want” ad campaign, in which Colin Kaepernick's headphones protect him from taunting crowds. In Hush, Mack Hagood draws evidence from noise-canceling headphones, tinnitus maskers, LPs that play ocean sounds, nature-sound mobile apps, and in-ear smart technologies to argue the true purpose of media is not information transmission, but rather the control of how we engage our environment. These devices, which Hagood calls orphic media, give users the freedom to remain unaffected in the changeable and distracting spaces of contemporary capitalism and reveal how racial, gendered, ableist, and class ideologies shape our desire to block unwanted sounds. In a noisy world of haters, trolls, and information overload, guarded listening can be a necessity for self-care, but Hagood argues our efforts to shield ourselves can also decrease our tolerance for sonic and social difference. Challenging our self-defeating attempts to be free of one another, he rethinks media theory, sound studies, and the very definition of media.
Jim Jarmusch: Music, Words and Noise is the first book to examine the films of Jim Jarmusch from a sound-oriented perspective. The three essential acoustic elements that structure a film— music, words and noise—propel this book’s fascinating journey through his work. Exploring the director’s extensive back catalogue, including Stranger Than Paradise, Down By Law, Dead Man, and Only Lovers Left Alive, Sara Piazza’s unique reading reveals how Jarmusch created a form of “sound democracy” in film, in which all acoustic layers are capable of infiltrating each other and in which sound is not subordinate to the visual. In his cultural melting pot, hierarchies are irrelevant: Schubert and Japanese noise-bands, Marlowe and Betty Boop, can coexist easily side-by-side. Developing the innovative idea of a “silent-sound film,” Piazza identifies prefiguring elements from pre-sound-era film in Jarmusch’s work.
Highlighting the importance of Jarmusch’s treatment of sound, Piazza investigates how the director’s distinctive reputation consolidated itself over the course of a thirty-year career. Based in New York, Jarmusch was able to develop a fiercely personal vision far from the commercial pressures of Hollywood. The book uses wide-ranging examples from music, film, literature, and visual art, and features interviews with many prominent figures, including Ennio Morricone, Luc Sante, Roberto Benigni, John Lurie, and Jarmusch himself.
An innovative account of a much-admired body of work, Jim Jarmusch will appeal not only to the many fans of the director but all those interested in the connections between sound and film.
A series of disruptive, unnerving sounds haunts the fictional writings of Franz Kafka. These include the painful squeak in Gregor Samsa's voice, the indeterminate whistling of Josefine the singer, the relentless noise in "The Burrow," and telephonic disturbances in The Castle. In Kafka and Noise, Kata Gellen applies concepts and vocabulary from film theory to Kafka's works in order to account for these unsettling sounds. Rather than try to decode these noises, Gellen explores the complex role they play in Kafka's larger project.
Kafka and Noise offers a method for pursuing intermedial research in the humanities—namely, via the productive "misapplication" of theoretical tools, which exposes the contours, conditions, and expressive possibilities of the media in question. This book will be of interest to scholars of modernism, literature, cinema, and sound, as well as to anyone wishing to explore how artistic and technological media shape our experience of the world and the possibilities for representing it.
Lungs Full of Noise
Tessa Mellas University of Iowa Press, 2013 Library of Congress PS3613.E44655A6 2013 | Dewey Decimal 813.6
This prize-winning debut of twelve stories explores a femininity that is magical, raw, and grotesque. Aghast at the failings of their bodies, this cast of misfit women and girls sets out to remedy the misdirection of their lives in bold and reckless ways.
Figure skaters screw skate blades into the bones of their feet to master elusive jumps. A divorcee steals the severed arm of her ex to reclaim the fragments of a dissolved marriage. Following the advice of a fashion magazine, teenaged girls binge on grapes to dye their skin purple and attract prom dates. And a college freshman wages war on her roommate from Jupiter, who has inadvertently seduced all the boys in their dorm with her exotic hermaphroditic anatomy.
But it isn’t just the characters who are in crisis. In Lungs Full of Noise, personal disasters mirror the dissolution of the natural world. Written in lyrical prose with imagination and humor, Tessa Mellas’s collection is an aviary of feathered stories that are rich, emotive, and imbued with the strength to suspend strange new worlds on delicate wings.
Not since the Civil War had America been so divided by conflict. Religion was the prime agent in this unusual war: Left versus Right, Fundamentalists versus Modernists; Christians versus Jews; Protestant versus Catholic; white versus black. In this volume, Martin E. Marty tells the riveting story of how America has survived religious disturbances and culturally prospered from them.
"He tells the story [of the 1920s and 1930s] with a verve seldom equaled and manages to condense in one volume the results of dozens of specialized monographs. . . . [It] bears the usual hallmarks of a Marty book: a smoothly flowing narrative, passages studded with suggestive insight inviting further research, and apt quotations that capture the gist of complicated issues. . . . [A] splendid book. . . . Deserves a wide readership and undoubtedly will receive it." —James H. Moorhead, Chicago Sunday Tribune
"There is simply no better source, certainly none so engaging, for the interactions of religion and the larger culture in the interwar period." —Robert Booth Fowler, Journal of American History
"[This book is] not merely a history of American religion, but what might better be called a religious history" —David M. Kennedy, New York Times Book Review
Noise From The Writing Center
Elizabeth H. Boquet Utah State University Press, 2002 Library of Congress PE1404.B66 2002 | Dewey Decimal 808.0420711
In Noise from the Writing Center, Boquet develops a theory of "noise" and excess as an important element of difference between the pedagogy of writing centers and the academy in general. Addressing administrative issues, Boquet strains against the bean-counting anxiety that seems to drive so much of writing center administration. Pedagogically, she urges a more courageous practice, developed via metaphors of music and improvisation, and argues for "noise," excess, and performance as uniquely appropriate to the education of writers and tutors in the center.
Personal, even irreverent in style, Boquet is also theoretically sophisticated, and she draws from an eclectic range of work in academic and popular culture-from Foucault to Attali to Jimi Hendrix. She includes, as well, the voices of writing center tutors with whom she conducted research, and she finds some of her most inspiring moments in the words and work of those tutors.
We often think of finance as a glamorous world, a place where investment bankers amass huge profits in gleaming downtown skyscrapers. There’s another side to finance, though—the millions of amateurs who log on to their computers every day to make their own trades. The shocking truth, however, is that less than 2% of these amateur traders make a consistent profit. Why, then, do they do it?
In Noise, Alex Preda explores the world of the people who trade even when by all measures they would be better off not trading. Based on firsthand observations, interviews with traders and brokers, and on international direct trading experience, Preda’s fascinating ethnography investigates how ordinary people take up financial trading, how they form communities of their own behind their computer screens, and how electronic finance encourages them to trade more and more frequently. Along the way, Preda finds the answer to the paradox of amateur trading—the traders aren’t so much seeking monetary rewards in the financial markets, rather the trading itself helps them to fulfill their own personal goals and aspirations.
We think of noise as background sound that interferes with our ability to hear more interesting sounds. But noise is anything that interferes with the reception of signals of any sort. Whatever its cause, the consequence of noise is error by receivers, and these errors are the key to understanding how noise shapes the evolution of communication.
Osip Mandelstam has in recent years come to be seen as a central figure in European modernism. Though known primarily as a poet, Mandelstam worked in many styles: autobiography, short story, travel writing, and polemic. Mandelstam's biographer, Clarence Brown, presents a collection of the poet's prose works that illuminates Mandelstam's far-ranging talent and places him within the canon of European modernism.
This volume includes Mandelstam's "The Noise of Time," a series of autobiographical sketches; "The Egyptian Stamp," a novella; "Fourth Prose;" and the famous travel memoirs "Theodosia" and "Journey to Armenia."
“Noise is a model of cultural historiography. . . . In its general theoretical argument on the relations of culture to economy, but also in its specialized concentration, Noise has much that is of importance to critical theory today.” SubStance“For Attali, music is not simply a reflection of culture, but a harbinger of change, an anticipatory abstraction of the shape of things to come. The book’s title refers specifically to the reception of musics that sonically rival normative social orders. Noise is Attali’s metaphor for a broad, historical vanguardism, for the radical soundscapes of the western continuum that express structurally the course of social development.” EthnomusicologyJacques Attali is the author of numerous books, including Millennium: Winners and Losers in the Coming World Order and Labyrinth in Culture and Society.
Noise from Typewriter Keys is the tenth volume in the independent literary series, The Offbeat, devoted to publishing a diverse collection of voices, and to promoting contact and discussion among writers. The Offbeat is run entirely by Michigan State Undergraduates, and is centered in East Lansing. The mission of The Offbeat is to provide an alternative literary outlet for writers from Michigan and beyond, and to call attention to voices both emerging and established. The Offbeat: Noise from Typewriter Keys is an ensemble of voices and eruptions heard from the inside and out. This volume includes a wide variety of writers and focuses on the ambition of new creation. This part of the series seeks to capture movement of a writer while exploring the varied sounds that come from imagination.
Remapping Sound Studies
Gavin Steingo and Jim Sykes, editors Duke University Press, 2019 Library of Congress B105.S59R46 2019
The contributors to Remapping Sound Studies intervene in current trends and practices in sound studies by reorienting the field toward the global South. Attending to disparate aspects of sound in Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, Micronesia, and a Southern outpost in the global North, this volume broadens the scope of sound studies and challenges some of the field's central presuppositions. The contributors show how approaches to and uses of technology across the global South complicate narratives of technological modernity and how sound-making and listening in diverse global settings unsettle familiar binaries of sacred/secular, private/public, human/nonhuman, male/female, and nature/culture. Exploring a wide range of sonic phenomena and practices, from birdsong in the Marshall Islands to Zulu ululation, the contributors offer diverse ways to remap and decolonize modes of thinking about and listening to sound.
Contributors Tripta Chandola, Michele Friedner, Louise Meintjes, Jairo Moreno, Ana María Ochoa Gautier, Michael Birenbaum Quintero, Jeff Roy, Jessica Schwartz, Shayna Silverstein, Gavin Steingo, Jim Sykes, Benjamin Tausig, Hervé Tchumkam
You know it when you hear it, but can you say what it is? How you know? Why you either love or loathe it? What makes it original or derivative? To a music that tends to render its aficionados and detractors equally inarticulate, Theodore Gracyk brings a rare critical clarity. His book tells us once and for all what makes rock music rock. A happy marriage of aesthetic theory and the aesthetic practice that moved a generation, Rhythm and Noise is the only thorough-going account of rock as a distinct artistic medium rather than a species of popular culture. What’s in a name? “Rock” or “Rock ’n’ Roll?” Grayck argues that rock and roll is actually a performance style, one in a number of musical styles comprising rock. What distinguishes rock, Gracyk tells us, is how it is mediated by technology: The art is in the recording. The lesson is a heady one, entailing a tour through the history of rock music from Elvis Presley’s first recordings in 1954 to Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994. Gracyk takes us through key recordings, lets us hear what rock musicians and their critics have to say, shows us how other kinds of music compare, and gives us the philosophical background to make more than passing sense of the medium. His work takes up the common myths and stereotypes about rock, popular and academic, and focuses on the features of the music that electrify fans and consistently generate controversy. When Elvis came to town, did southern sheriffs say that rock was barbaric and addictive? Well so did Theodor Adorno, in his way, and Allan Bloom, in his, and Gracyk takes aim at this charge as it echoes through the era of recorded music. He looks at what rock has to do with romanticism and, even more, with commercialism. And he questions the orthodoxy of making grand distinctions between “serious” and “popular” art. Keenly attuned to the nuances of music and of all the ways that we can think about it, this exhilarating book tunes us in, as no other has, to the complex role of rock in American culture.
Mainstream media and film theory are based on the ways that media technologies operate in Europe and the United States. In this groundbreaking work, Brian Larkin provides a history and ethnography of media in Nigeria, asking what media theory looks like when Nigeria rather than a European nation or the United States is taken as the starting point. Concentrating on the Muslim city of Kano in the north of Nigeria, Larkin charts how the material qualities of technologies and the cultural ambitions they represent feed into the everyday experiences of urban Nigeria.
Media technologies were introduced to Nigeria by colonial regimes as part of an attempt to shape political subjects and create modern, urban Africans. Larkin considers the introduction of media along with electric plants and railroads as part of the wider infrastructural project of colonial and postcolonial urbanism. Focusing on radio networks, mobile cinema units, and the building of cinema theaters, he argues that what media come to be in Kano is the outcome of technology’s encounter with the social formations of northern Nigeria and with norms shaped by colonialism, postcolonial nationalism, and Islam. Larkin examines how media technologies produce the modes of leisure and cultural forms of urban Africa by analyzing the circulation of Hindi films to Muslim Nigeria, the leisure practices of Hausa cinemagoers in Kano, and the dynamic emergence of Nigerian video films. His analysis highlights the diverse, unexpected media forms and practices that thrive in urban Africa. Signal and Noise brings anthropology and media together in an original analysis of media’s place in urban life.