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Sound Scripts

Sound Scripts

Article Title

No More Driver Call Me, Many Thousand Die': Improvised Sound Work as 21st Century Field Hollers

Abstract

This essay argues that the role of 'noise', or improvised sound work, in post-industrial society, is directly analogous to that of the blues in the plantation economy of the American South. The argument is developed through an analysis of the role of slavery in the creation of both industrial capitalism and post-Hegelian notions of freedom, and a parallel dissection of the newly proletarianised basis of the culture of knowledge-workers in the early 21st century. This discussion is developed with the use of concepts drawn from the works of Bourdieu, Zizek, Debord and Benjamin, as well as recourse to contemporary newspaper report age. The argument is structured around the textual analysis of an early twentieth century 'field holler', attempting to determine the true content of its ongoing resonance, even in a social structure far removed from that which gave rise to it nearly a century ago. In the process, light is cast on the analogous role of 'noise' in contemporary audio culture.

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