Ethnographically-grounded studies of technology in global music.
Wired for Sound is the first anthology to address the role of sound engineering technologies in the shaping of contemporary global music. Wired sound is at the basis of digital audio editing, multi-track recording, and other studio practices that have powerfully impacted the world's music. Distinctions between musicians and engineers increasingly blur, making it possible for people around the globe to imagine new sounds and construct new musical aesthetics. This collection of 11 essays employs primarily ethnographical, but also historical and psychological, approaches to examine a range of new, technology-intensive musics and musical practices such as: fusions of Indian film-song rhythms, heavy metal, and gamelan in Jakarta; urban Nepali pop which juxtaposes heavy metal, Tibetan Buddhist ritual chant, rap, and Himalayan folksongs; collaborations between Australian aboriginals and sound engineers; the production of “heaviness” in heavy metal music; and the production of the “Austin sound.” This anthology is must reading for anyone interested in the global character of contemporary music technology.
Contributors: Harris M. Berger, Beverley Diamond, Cornelia Fales, Ingemar Grandin, Louise Meintjes, Frederick J. Moehn, Karl Neunfeldt, Timothy D. Taylor, Jeremy Wallach.
Paul D. Greene —
Paul D. Greene is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Pennsylvania State University.
Thomas Porcell —
Thomas Porcello is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Vassar College.
Wired for sound: engineering and technologies in sonic cultures, ed. by Paul D. Greene and Thomas Porcello. Wesleyan University Press, 2005. 288p bibl discography index afp ISBN 0-8195-6516-4. Reviewed in 2005jul CHOICE.
This volume's 13 essays (by 11 contributors) confirm that ethnomusicology has gone high-tech. Wesleyan is firmly situated to take on this expanded discipline in publishing as well as teaching; with Wired for Sound, the press's "Music/Culture" series stands at 37 volumes, several of them cited in this book. Greene (Pennsylvania State Univ.) and Porcello (Vassar College) are particularly interested in the eclectic world music aired by university radio stations, so the reader looks over the shoulders of producers, musicians, and recording engineers as ethnic music evolves into music for clubs, films, and experimentation. For example, Karl Neuenfeldt looks at Nigel Pegrum and his collaborative production with Aborigine didgeridoo player David Hudson, and Louise Meintjes, one of the book's three female contributors, describes South Africa's new independence and its marketing of popular music. Timothy Taylor points out how even in radio's infancy its technicians and managers promoted "technological imperialism" and healing through music. Beverly Diamond discusses how contemporary Native women may take chances with studio recording when the environment feels right, whereas Native male drum groups adhere to traditional forms of presentation. This exciting and enlightening book will have special appeal for informed listeners, broadcasters, and young musicians.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. -- R. Welburn, University of Massachusetts at Amherst