Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul's Recording Studio Culture by Eliot Bates (review)


"The author effectively deploys multiple overarching framing devices, including the central one of the book's title: that developing versions of "traditional" musical products have been innovated through new digital means of audio recording and editing, enabling a "cut-and-paste" methodology where musical fragments can be intensively rearranged—with resultantly shifting aesthetic values. [...]the creation of "ethnic" music in the popular realm in Turkey in recent generations, while drawing on some musical elements of established customary use in certain locales, is as much dependent on arbitrary choices of other musical practices integrated into composite productions by professional studio practitioners. "Latency" is one especially generative notion the author proposes in tracking "lags" across different domains—from historical cultural values and social negotiations to cognitive psychology to the physics of temporal duration in translations from acoustical to analog electrical to digital signals and back again. Some close attention to extended performance techniques and customizing of traditional musical instruments precedes more substantial examples of how digital audio workstations changed compositional practices and creative roles among musicians, arrangers, and engineers."


Authors: Brian Karl
Type: journal article
Publication: Technology and Culture (2018), vol. 59 no. 4, p. 1000-1002

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