Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear

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MIT Press, Aug 24, 2012 - Music - 296 pages

An exploration of the production, transmission, and mutation of affective tonality—when sound helps produce a bad vibe.

Sound can be deployed to produce discomfort, express a threat, or create an ambience of fear or dread—to produce a bad vibe. Sonic weapons of this sort include the “psychoacoustic correction” aimed at Panama strongman Manuel Noriega by the U.S. Army and at the Branch Davidians in Waco by the FBI, sonic booms (or “sound bombs”) over the Gaza Strip, and high-frequency rat repellants used against teenagers in malls. At the same time, artists and musicians generate intense frequencies in the search for new aesthetic experiences and new ways of mobilizing bodies in rhythm. In Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman explores these uses of acoustic force and how they affect populations.

Traversing philosophy, science, fiction, aesthetics, and popular culture, he maps a (dis)continuum of vibrational force, encompassing police and military research into acoustic means of crowd control, the corporate deployment of sonic branding, and the intense sonic encounters of sound art and music culture.

Goodman concludes with speculations on the not yet heard—the concept of unsound, which relates to both the peripheries of auditory perception and the unactualized nexus of rhythms and frequencies within audible bandwidths.

 

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User Review  - chriszodrow - LibraryThing

Incredibly esoteric, but interesting. I'm a fan (and buyer) of Goodman's music (as Kode9 and other artists on his Hyperdub label), so I was intrigued by his academic work. It reads like a dissertation ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mikeandsarahlibrary - LibraryThing

This is a solidly researched book that aims to unpack the affective ecology of sonic warfare. This book demonstrate what a good literature review looks like, for Goodman draws from a plethora of ... Read full review

Contents

1998 A Conceptual Event
1
2001 What Is Sonic Warfare?
5
24001400 BC Project Jericho
15
1946 Sonic Dominance
27
1933 Abusing the Military Entertainment Complex
31
403221 BC The Logistics of Deception
35
1944 The Ghost Army
41
1842 Sonic Effects
45
1992 The Throbbing Crowd
109
1993 Vorticist Rhythmachines
113
1946 Virtual Vibrations
117
2012 Artificial Acoustic Agencies
123
1877 Capitalism and Schizophonia
129
1976 Outbreak
133
1971 The Earworm
141
2025 Déjà Entendu
149

1977 A Sense of the Future
49
1913 The Art of War in the Art of Noise
55
1989 Apocalypse Then
59
1738 Bad Vibrations
63
1884 Dark Precursor
69
1999 Vibrational Anarchitecture
75
137 Billion BC The Ontology of Vibrational Force
81
1931 Rhythmanalysis
85
1900 The Vibrational Nexus
91
1929 Throbs of Experience
95
1677 Ecology of Speeds
99
9950 BC Rhythm out of Noise
105
1985 Dub Virology
155
1928 Contagious Orality
163
2020 Planet of Drums
171
2003 Contagious Transmission
177
2039 Holosonic Control
183
Conclusion UnsoundThe SubPoliticsof Frequency
189
Glossary
195
Notes
199
References
251
Index
265
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About the author (2012)

Steve Goodman is a Lecturer in Music Culture at the School of Sciences, Media, and Cultural Studies at the University of East London, a member of the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit), and the founder of the record label Hyperdub.

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