Digital signatures : the impact of digitization on popular music sound /

Publication Type:



Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press,, United States, p.ix, 188 pages : (2016)



Call Number:




Philosophy and aesthetics., Popular music, Production and direction., Recording and reproducing, Sound


Includes bibliographical references (pages 169-182) and index.Introduction : digital technology and popular music sound -- Making sense of digital spatiality : Kate Bush's eerie collage -- The instrument formerly known as the machine : hyperaccuracy and sonic richness in Prince's Kiss -- The rebirth of silence in the company of noise : Portishead going retro -- Cut-ups and glitches : the freeze and flow of Los Sampler's and Squarepusher -- Seasick computers : microrhythmic manipulation in the era of endless undo -- Autotuned voices : alienation and "brokenhearted androids" -- Popular music in the digital era.Is digital production killing the soul of music? Is Auto-Tune the nadir of creative expression? Digital technology has changed not only how music is produced, distributed, and consumed but also--equally important but not often considered--how music sounds. In this book, Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen and Anne Danielsen examine the impact of digitization on the aesthetics of popular music. They investigate sonically distinctive "digital signatures"--musical moments when the use of digital technology is revealed to the listener. The particular signatures of digital mediation they examine include digital reverb and delay, MIDI and sampling, digital silence, the virtual cut-and-paste tool, digital glitches, microrhythmic manipulation, and autotuning--all of which they analyze in specific works by popular artists. Combining technical and historical knowledge of music production with musical analyses, aesthetic interpretations, and theoretical discussions, Brøvig-Hanssen and Danielsen offer unique insights into how digitization has changed the sound of popular music and the listener's experience of it. For example, they show how digital reverb and delay have allowed experimentation with spatiality by analyzing Kate Bush's "Get Out of My House"; they examine the contrast between digital silence and the low-tech noises of tape hiss or vinyl crackle in Portishead's "Stranger"; and they describe the development of Auto-Tune--at first a tool for pitch correction--into an artistic effect, citing work by various hip-hop artists, Bon Iver, and Lady Gaga [Publisher description]