Media, Materiality and Memory: Grounding the Groove examines the entwinement of material music objects, technology and memory in relation to a range of independent record labels, including Sarah Records, Ghost Box and Finders Keepers. Moving from Edison’s phonograph to digital music files, from record collections to online archives, Roy argues that materiality plays a crucial role in constructing and understanding the territory of recorded sound. How do musical objects ‘write’ cultural narratives? How can we unearth and reactivate past histories by looking at yesterday’s media formats? What is the nature, and fate, of the physical archive in an increasingly dematerialized world? In what ways do physical and digital musical objects coexist and intersect? With its innovative theoretical approach, the book explores the implications of materialization in the fashioning of a musical world and its cultural transmission. A substantial contribution to the field of music and material culture studies, Media, Materiality and Memory also provides a nuanced and timely reflection on nostalgia and forgetting in the digital age.
Contents: Introduction: music, material culture and archaeologies; Sarah Records (1987-1995) and the everyday; Ghost Box Records (2004-): materiality, technological mediation and the birth of ghosts; From collecting to curating and reissuing the recorded past: Finders Keepers (2004-) and reissue record labels; YouTube archivists, e-collectors and digital flâneurs: the internet and the future of phonography; Conclusion: the afterlife of music objects; Select bibliography; Index.
Music and Material Culture provides a new platform for methodological innovations in research on the relationship between music and its objects. In a sense, musicology has always dealt with material culture; the study of manuscripts, print sources, instruments and other physical media associated with the production and reception of music is central to its understanding. Recent scholarship within the humanities has increasingly shifted its focus onto the objects themselves and there is now a particular need for musicology to be part of this broader ‘material turn’. A growing reliance on digital and online media as sources for the creation and consumption of music is changing the way we experience music by increasingly divorcing it from tangible matter. This is rejuvenating discussion of our relationship with music’s objects and the importance of such objects both as a means of understanding past cultures and negotiating current needs and social practices. Broadly interdisciplinary in nature, this series seeks to examine critically the materiality of music and its artefacts as an explicit part of culture rather than simply an accepted means of music-making. Proposals are welcomed on the material culture of music from any period and genre, particularly on topics within the fields of cultural theory, source studies, organology, ritual, anthropology, collecting, archiving, media archaeology, new media and aesthetics.