Anthony ReedJan 28, 2023
Race, Sound, and Poetry in Production
Duke University Press 2020
In Soundworks: Race, Sound, and Poetry in Production (Duke UP, 2020), Anthony Reed argues that studying sound requires conceiving it as process and as work. Since the long Black Arts era (ca. 1958–1974), intellectuals, poets, and musicians have defined black sound as radical aesthetic practice. Through their recorded collaborations as well as the accompanying interviews, essays, liner notes, and other media, they continually reinvent black sound conceptually and materially.
Soundwork is Reed’s term for that material and conceptual labor of experimental sound practice framed by the institutions of the culture industry and shifting historical contexts. Through analyses of Langston Hughes’s collaboration with Charles Mingus, Amiri Baraka’s work with the New York Art Quartet, Jayne Cortez’s albums with the Firespitters, and the multimedia projects of Archie Shepp, Matana Roberts, Cecil Taylor, and Jeanne Lee, Reed shows that to grasp black sound as a radical philosophical and aesthetic insurgence requires attending to it as the product of material, technical, sensual, and ideological processes.
Henry Ivry is a Lecturer in 20th and 21st Century Literature in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow.