Background Noise, Second Edition: Perspectives on Sound Art, Edition 2

Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Free sample

Background Noise follows the development of sound as an artistic medium and illustrates how sound is put to use within modes of composition, installation, and performance. While chronological in its structure, Brandon LaBelle's book is informed by spatial thinking - weaving architecture, environments, and the specifics of location into the work of sound, with the aim of formulating an expansive history and understanding of sound art.

At its center the book presupposes an intrinsic relation between sound and its location, galvanizing acoustics, sound phenomena, and the environmental with the tensions inherent in what LaBelle identifies as sound's relational dynamic. For the author, this is embedded within sound's tendency to become public expressed in its ability to travel distances, foster cultural expression, and define spaces while being radically flexible.

This second expanded edition includes a new chapter on the non-human and subnatural tendencies in sound art, revisions to the text as well as a new preface by the author. Intersecting material analysis with theoretical frameworks spanning art and architectural theory, performance studies and media theory, Background Noise makes the case that sound and sound art are central to understandings of contemporary culture.
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About the author

Brandon LaBelle is an artist and writer working with sound culture and locational identities. His previous book, Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art, was published in 2006 by Bloomsbury Academic. He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and organizer of the related Surface Tension project. He is currently Professor at the National Academy of the Arts in Bergen, Norway.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bloomsbury Publishing USA
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Published on
Jan 29, 2015
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Pages
376
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ISBN
9781628923537
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Music / Genres & Styles / General
Music / History & Criticism
Music / Instruction & Study / Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Lexicon of the Mouth surveys the oral cavity as the central channel by which self and surrounding are brought into relation. Questions of embodiment and agency, attachment and loss, incorporation and hunger, locution and the non-sensical are critically examined. In doing so, LaBelle emphasizes the mouth as a vital conduit for negotiating "the foundational narrative of proper speech." Lexicon of the Mouth aims for a viscous, poetic and resonant discourse of subjectivity, detailed through the "micro-oralities" of laughing and whispering, stuttering and reciting, eating and kissing, among others. The oral cavity is posed as an impressionable arena, susceptible to all types of material input, contamination and intervention, while also enabling powerful forms of resistance, attachment and conversation, as well as radical imagination.

Lexicon of the Mouth argues for the revolutionary promise of the laugh, the spirited mythologies of the whisper, the schizophonics of self-talk, and the primal noise of gibberish, suggesting that the significance of voicing is fundamentally bound to the exertions of the mouth. Subsequently, assumptions around voice and vocality are unsettled in favor of an epistemology of the oral, highlighting the acts of the tongue, the lips and the throat as primary mediations between interior and exterior, social structures and embodied expressions. LaBelle makes a significant contribution to currents in sound and voice studies by reminding that to hear the voice, and to consider a politics of speech, is first and foremost to assume the mouth.
The groundbreaking Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (Continuum; September 2004; paperback original) maps the aural and discursive terrain of vanguard music today. Rather than offering a history of contemporary music, Audio Culture traces the genealogy of current musical practices and theoretical concerns, drawing lines of connection between recent musical production and earlier moments of sonic experimentation. It aims to foreground the various rewirings of musical composition and performance that have taken place in the past few decades and to provide a critical and theoretical language for this new audio culture.

This new and expanded edition of the Audio Culture contains twenty-five additional essays, including four newly-commissioned pieces. Taken as a whole, the book explores the interconnections among such forms as minimalism, indeterminacy, musique concrète, free improvisation, experimental music, avant-rock, dub reggae, ambient music, hip hop, and techno via writings by philosophers, cultural theorists, and composers. Instead of focusing on some "crossover" between "high art" and "popular culture," Audio Culture takes all these musics as experimental practices on par with, and linked to, one another. While cultural studies has tended to look at music (primarily popular music) from a sociological perspective, the concern here is philosophical, musical, and historical.

Audio Culture includes writing by some of the most important musical thinkers of the past half-century, among them John Cage, Brian Eno, Ornette Coleman, Pauline Oliveros, Maryanne Amacher, Glenn Gould, Umberto Eco, Jacques Attali, Simon Reynolds, Eliane Radigue, David Toop, John Zorn, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and many others. Each essay has its own short introduction, helping the reader to place the essay within musical, historical, and conceptual contexts, and the volume concludes with a glossary, a timeline, and an extensive discography.
How we experience space by listening: the concepts of aural architecture, with examples ranging from Gothic cathedrals to surround sound home theater.

We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening. Every environment has an aural architecture.The audible attributes of physical space have always contributed to the fabric of human culture, as demonstrated by prehistoric multimedia cave paintings, classical Greek open-air theaters, Gothic cathedrals, acoustic geography of French villages, modern music reproduction, and virtual spaces in home theaters. Auditory spatial awareness is a prism that reveals a culture's attitudes toward hearing and space. Some listeners can learn to "see" objects with their ears, but even without training, we can all hear spatial geometry such as an open door or low ceiling.

Integrating contributions from a wide range of disciplines—including architecture, music, acoustics, evolution, anthropology, cognitive psychology, audio engineering, and many others—Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? establishes the concepts and language of aural architecture. These concepts provide an interdisciplinary guide for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding of how space enhances our well-being. Aural architecture is not the exclusive domain of specialists. Accidentally or intentionally, we all function as aural architects.

An ear-opening reassessment of sonic art from World War II to the present

Marcel Duchamp famously championed a "non-retinal" visual art, rejecting judgments of taste and beauty. In the Blink of an Ear is the first book to ask why the sonic arts did not experience a parallel turn toward a non-cochlear sonic art, imagined as both a response and a complement to Duchamp's conceptualism. Rather than treat sound art as an artistic practice unto itself-or as the unwanted child of music-artist and theorist Seth Kim-Cohen relates the post-War sonic arts to contemporaneous movements in the gallery arts. Applying key ideas from poststructuralism, deconstruction, and art history, In the Blink of an Ear suggests that the sonic arts have been subject to the same cultural pressures that have shaped minimalism, conceptualism, appropriation, and relational aesthetics. Sonic practice and theory have downplayed - or, in many cases, completely rejected - the de-formalization of the artwork and its simultaneous animation in the conceptual realm.
Starting in 1948, the simultaneous examples of John Cage and Pierre Schaeffer initiated a sonic theory-in-practice, fusing clement Greenberg's media-specificity with a phenomenological emphasis on perception. Subsequently, the "sound-in-itself" tendency has become the dominant paradigm for the production and reception of sound art. Engaged with critical texts by Jacques Derrida, Rosalind Krauss, Friedrich Kittler, Jean François Lyotard, and Jacques Attali, among others, Seth Kim-Cohen convincingly argues for a reassessment of the short history of sound art, rejecting sound-in-itself in favor of a reading of sound's expanded situation and its uncontainable textuality. At the same time, this important book establishes the principles for a nascent non-cochlear sonic practice, embracing the inevitable interaction of sound with the social, the linguistic, the philosophical, the political, and the technological.

Artists discussed include:

George Brecht
John Cage
Janet Cardiff
Marcel Duchamp
Bob Dylan
Valie Export
Luc Ferrari
Jarrod Fowler
Jacob Kirkegaard
Alvin Lucier
Robert Morris
Muddy Waters
John Oswald
Marina Rosenfeld
Pierre Schaeffer
Stephen Vitiello
La Monte Young
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