David Novak, "Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation" (Duke UP, 2013)


Thinking about "Noise" in the history and practice of music means thinking in opposites. Noise is both a musical genre, and is not. It both produces a global circulation and emerges from it. It has depended on the live-ness of embodied performance while flourishing in the context of "dead" recordings. In Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press, 2013), David Novak offers a wonderfully engaging and subtle narrative of noise, Japan, and their confluence. A series of chapters each bring the reader into a crucial scene of the production of "Japanoise," from the No Fun Fest to the Nihilist Spasm Band, in each case using an exploration of the history and culture of noise to think carefully about conceptual tools that potentially extend well beyond the binding of the book, including the model of "circulation" as an explanatory frame, the importance of feedback, the spaces and experiences of listening and producing, and the intimacies of human and machine. It is a fascinating story and has changed the way I think about listening, making, and sound. Enjoy!

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