The accelerated processes of digitalisation revolutionize music production on many levels. The internet is an ever-expanding archive, and the cost of data storage on computers or in the cloud is getting lower and lower. Nearly every piece of music, every song, every sound, is only a couple of mouse clicks away. Acoustic data is both savable and easier than ever to process and edit with music software on computers and tablets or with new instruments (midi keyboards, controllers, and apps). In contemporary tracks, sound, music, and noise samples from international, regional, and local contexts are fused together into a single context. These samples are published as tracks on online platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, promoted worldwide on social networks, brought to life in concerts, performances, and installations, and in the process are both recontextualised and rewritten.
What role does "locating" play in digital music-making? How free of or bound to geography are tracks today? How are "places" enacted and interpreted in various contexts? This panel discusses these questions from both musical and social perspectives. It reveals the discourses and controversies that grow out of both free, lax work with references and more deliberate and scrupulous citation processes. Should there be ethical boundaries in the handling of war sounds, for example?
Theresa Beyer lives in Bern, Switzerland and is a music journalist, ethnomusicologist and cultural producer. Since she joined Norient in 2011, she has worked for its online magazine, managed different projects, co-edited Out of the Absurdity of Life – Globale Musik (Traversion 2012) and Seismographic Sounds –Visions of a New World (Norient Books 2015) and co-curated the exhibition "Seismographic Sounds".
Ascendant Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu combines the music of nomadic Ethiopian folk musicians with a self-described electronic "dream brew."
Anja Schwarz is junior professor of cultural studies at the University of Potsdam. She has published on reenactmtents, multicultural politics and the Australian beach as a postcolonial site of memory.
Bernard Clarke is an award-winning radio broadcaster with RTÉ lyric fm, Ireland. His new music programme, Nova, has won five consecutive PPI Radio Awards (National Irish Radio Awards) and one New York Festival’s award; he’s also won prizes for documentaries on Patrick Kavanagh, Glenn Gould, The Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.
Spirits @ work: Nkisi is an ambassador of new world music and a co-founder of NON, the politically charged collective championing cutting-edge sounds from Africa and the African diaspora. Raised in Belgium and currently based in London, Melika Ngombe Kolongo has been dubbed "a synthesist of new hardcore sounds."
Emily Bick, deputy editor at The Wire, is a music writer, web and technology specialist, and media and cultural studies lecturer.