Cracked Media: The Sound of Malfunction by Caleb Kelly

By Caleb Kelly

From the mid-twentieth century into the twenty-first, artists and musicians manipulated, cracked, and broke audio media applied sciences to supply novel sounds and performances. Artists and musicians, together with John Cage, Nam June Paik, Yasunao Tone, and Oval, pulled aside either playback units (phonographs and compact disc avid gamers) and the recorded media (vinyl documents and compact discs) to create a longer sound palette. In Cracked Media, Caleb Kelly explores how the planned usage of the quite often bad (a crack, a holiday) has develop into the location of effective construction. Cracked media, Kelly writes, slides throughout disciplines, via song, sound, and noise. Cracked media encompasses every little thing from Cage's silences and indeterminacies, to Paik's frequently funny tape works, to the chilly and fresh sounds of electronic glitch within the paintings of Tone and Oval. Kelly deals an in depth historic account of those practices, arguing that they are often learn as precursors to modern new media.

Kelly seems on the nature of recording expertise and the track on the subject of the crack and the holiday, and discusses a number of the manifestations of noise, concluding that neither theories of recording nor theories of noise provide an sufficient framework for figuring out cracked media. Connecting the historic avant-garde to modern day turntablism, and predigital harmful suggestions to the electronic ticks, pops, and clicks of the glitch, Kelly proposes new media theorizations of cracked media that target materiality and the typical.

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As mentioned earlier, this could include applying tape or impermanent marker to the substrate of a CD; the technique does not harm the system in any way, and in the end the CD can simply be cleaned and returned in its original condition. 34 Introduction Closer to the break is the permanent crack, an example of which is the scratched record. Records are delicate objects, which can easily be scratched; once a record has been scratched, the tick or pop caused by the needle hitting the mark on the vinyl surface can never be removed, and the data flow is permanently damaged by the mark.

This is a major shift in the history of music, a shift that dramatically changes the form of music as it is molded to fit its new place in capitalist society. The record object is the mediating device between production and consumption. This mediation, however, does not simply flow in one direction. Instead the act of consumption changes the actual production and performance of music, as music is now created for the consumption of the record object. If, as Adorno argues, recordings are shadows of the real act of music, its performance, then the creation of music for the recording industry is the deliberate creation of a debased musical object.

Tape technologies were used as an important form of composition in the second half of the twentieth century, but for the most part this was achieved through the legitimate practices of editing and the extended practices of looping. Although this study considers practices that use specific media technologies, it is not about technologies as such. It is not a study of technology driving creative practice—a form of technological determinism. Jonathan Sterne, in his book The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction, argues that technologies cannot be simply read through “impact narratives”: In “impact” narratives, technologies are mysterious beings with obscure origins that come down from the sky to “impact” human relations.

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