The Ubiquity of Sound

By Karim Wissa

Michel Chion. Sound: An Acoulogical Treatise. Duke University Press, 2016. 300 pp.

First published in French in 1998, Sound, An Acoulogical Treatise is a broad collection of essays that appears oddly disjointed, traversing disparate disciplinary polemics and philosophical dilemmas, while introducing a dizzying series of new concepts in each chapter.
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A Latent History of Everything: Hillel Schwartz’s “Reverb: Notes”

By John Melillo

Hillel Schwartz. “Reverb: Notes,” the endnotes to Making Noise: From the Big Bang to Babel and Beyond. Zone Books, 2011. 349 pp.

Hillel Schwartz’s 2011 history of noise, Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang and Beyond, offers—through more than 900 pages of sonorous, often punning prose—nothing less than what the titles of its three main “rounds” suggest: a history of sound “everywhere,” “everywhen/everyone” and “everyhow.” In this review, however, I will examine the book’s 349 pages of endnotes, entitled “Reverb: Notes,” that, because of printing costs, could not be included with the published text.
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A Call to Theoretical Indiscipline

By Carolyn Elerding

Jonathan Sterne. MP3: The Meaning of a Format. Duke University Press, 2012. 341 pp.

The last decade has been a truly exciting one in cultural studies of sound, largely due to the generous and catalytic contributions of Jonathan Sterne. These include several significant articles, a strong intellectual and activist web presence, and a provocative genealogy of early sound reproduction and transmission entitled The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction.
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The False Freedom of Rock Stardom

By Sarah Brouillette

Matt Stahl. Unfree Masters: Recording Artists and the Politics of Work. Duke University Press, 2012. 296 pp.

Academic and policy studies of creative labour have tended to suggest that creative work is unique and desirable because it is more autonomous than regular employment, meaning that it is more self-directed, expressive, and self-actualizing, and also more authentically separable from employers’ prerogatives.
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