Cut it Up and Start Again: Dub Soundscapes and Aesthetic Solidarity




The boy did a handstand in the surf, laughing. He walked on his hands, then flipped out of the water. His eyes were Riveria’s, but there was no malice there. “To call up a demon you must learn its name. Men dreamed that, once, but now it is real in another way. You know that, Case. Your business is to learn the names of the programs, names the owners seek to conceal. True names…”i


Near the conclusion of William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer, the hacker Case jacks into cyberspace, the sprawling ‘consensual hallucination’ born from digital hyperconnectivity, and finds himself trapped in the simulation of a beach with the apparition of a dead woman who he had once loved. He believes he has flatlined, a state that in the ‘real’, physical world is depicted by EEG readout indicating brain death. “…the flatline is where everything happens, the Other Side, behind or beyond the screens (of subjectivity), site of primary processes where identity is produced (and dismantled): the line Outside.”ii In the end, it is an act of free will that marks Case’s exodus from this land beyond life and death, but it isn’t with the proper guide for his passage – Gibson deploys dub music, played for Case’s catatonic body out in the real, as the torch.


The text of Neuromancer is endlessly likening the developments of technology within the broken-down worldsystem of accelerating capitalism to the mystical and the esoteric; there are countless references to ghosts, demons, and spirits, with the artificial intelligence machines utilized by corrupt megacorporations being associated with these ethereal figures. Gibson goes further in the book’s sequels, as themes of voodoo and polytheism weave in and out of tales of techno-crime and political intrigue.


From the moment that human beings started communicating with electrical and electromagnetic signals, the ether has been a spooky place. Four years after Samuel Morse strung up his first telegraph wire in 1844, two young girls in upstate New York kick-started Spiritualism, a massively popular occult religion which attempted to fuse science and seance. One of the movement’s main newspapers was called “The Celestial Telegraph,” and many of the spirits contacted by mediums were electricity geeks. Totally legit scientists like Thomas Edison, the radiographer Sir Oliver Lodge, and Sir William Crookes (inventor of the cathode ray tube you are probably reading this on) all suspected that spirits were real and that the afterlife was electromagnetic in nature. Edison even built a device to communicate directly with the dead.iii




The name of Case’s redemptive music, dub, comes from the word dup, Jamacian patois for “ghost.”iv Dub itself is derived from reggae, but exists in sonic space as its spectral doppleganger. At the base the music presents itself as a rudimentary form of remixing and was geared towards the dance floor: Djs would take the instrumental tracks of popular reggae hits and subject them to extensive manipulating, dropping certain instruments while foregrounding the bass and drums (together referred to as the ‘riddim’) while interjecting blasts of noises foreign to the original tracks. At times fragments of the vocals remained, but these are frequently filtered with echoes and reverb to produce a ghostly sound, where the human voice is altered and stretched in a way that is strangely alien. In other instances, the dub remixes formed the backdrop for “toasting,” improvised spoken word pieces presented by Djs and poets.

The invention of dub in the 1960s was nothing short of a cultural revolution: when it crossed the Atlantic to Great Britain through immigrant migrations, it collided with other subcultural movements and changed the soundscape of these emergent musical paradigms. Traces of dub’s echoes and endless geometry became part of the soundtrack to England’s industrial degradation through its influence on the band Joy Division, while it also grounds much of the brooding, post-Situationist nihilism of Public Image Limited, the mutant dance-punk group that arose from the ashes of the Sex Pistols (The Clash, meanwhile, produced many dub remixes of their own tracks, especially on their 1982 album Sandinista!). In New York, the practice of remixing original track, foregrounding of the rhythm section and toasting helped incubate the early hip-hop scene. By the late 80s and 90s dub snaked through various electronic dance musics, from house to techno to trip-hop, and later, jungle, drum-n-bass, and dubstep.


Lee Scratch Perry’s work in dub reggae is particularly interesting in its interrogation of the line between techno-world and spirit world. When queried on the origins of dub’s use of sound effects various eccentric studio technique, Perry responded that they were ‘the ghosts in me coming out.”v


In Claude Shannon and Warren Weaver’s information theory, the transmission of a message – that, the signal as quantitative information – must be separated from noise, the entropic forces that could obscure and decay the relay. In dub, this paradigm reversed; the messages contained in the cultural dimensions of reggae music are deconstructed, saturated with noise.


Dub versions are the shavings of(f) the certainty of (Western) technology as the unmediated reproduction of a singer’s performance. Dub was a breakthrough because the seam of its recording was turned inside out for us to hear and exult in… Technology (from psychoanalysis to surveillance) has made us all


Dub’s literary counterpart part can be found in William Burrough’s cut-up technique, the destruction, splicing, unfolding and refolding of texts to eliminate the previous messages to produce new, unexpected and startling ones. While harkening back to certain avant-garde practices dating to at least the experiments of the Dadaists, the cut-up, for Burroughs, was a radical act designed specifically to counteract the compositions of control and power at the dawn of the information age. In Burrough’s quasi-system, language itself is the locus of control, the signs system as the despotic framing device on how experience is to be articulated, and by extension, how the conception of the self arises. Language, he tell us, is a virus that infects the host; it proliferates through the closed-communication circuits of communication technology. He refers, without naming names, to the work of Shannon and Weaver: “We first took our image and put it into code. A technical code developed by the information theorists. This code was written at the molecular level to save space, when it was found that the image material was not dead matter, but exhibited the same life cycle as the virus. This virus released upon the world would infect the entire population and turn them into our replicas, it was not safe to release the virus until we could be sure that the last groups to go replica would not notice. To this end we invented a variety in many forms, variety that is of information content in a molecule…”vii


The cut-up, then, disrupts the contagious pathways of the language virus (or more properly, the information virus) by drawing on the apparent chaos of noise, undoing the priority of the signal. But unlike Shannon and Weaver’s formulas, where noise is presented as forces from the outside that impede the linearity of the signal’s transmission, dub music and the cut-up both draw largely from what is already contained within the signal (with the exception of dub’s use of foreign sounds); it reveals an outside that is already present in the interior of the message. In doing so, the basis of the signal is revealed to be little more than a lie: the cut-up shows that information is little more than the motley organization of disparate strands and nuggets whose non-linearity has been reversed. Likewise, dub subverts reggae, a music inseparable from the cultural ferment that it was born from, the homeland. Dub tells us that there isn’t a homeland, and moreso, that there never was one.


Perhaps the binary distinction between signal and noise is, by this stage, a false one. In all the original theories of information, from Shannon and Weaver’s communication models to Norbert Wiener’s cybernetics, much ink and paper has been dedicated to the debate over the relationship between the entropy of noise and information itself: on one hand, noise is antithetical to information and represents its movement through degradation to its point of elimination. On the other hand, noise is a force of randomness, and its seepage into the message can be interpreted as an increase in information. In complex systems theory, we can find that randomness becomes the stuff of potentialities – and in the second-order cybernetics of Heinz von Forrester, the principle of noise itself becomes the force that can allow a system to make the critical jump into higher degrees of self-organization.


Dub breaks – intentionally, internally, massively – with the tradition of Tradition. Dub wrecks havoc, multiplying echoes… Layered ambivalence of its echowerk: how can we set store by any memorial overview once we know a ghost is loose in our ears?… Double economy of dub: agonal reverberation of that which opens><closes according to its phantasmic logic. Dub as simultaneously either-or, neither-nor; a double enunciation which unsettles such implicit assumptions as: local><universal; sacred><secular; black><white; urban><pastoral; archaic><modern; analogue><digital; Muzack><wakeup call; natural><artificial; roots><technology; homeland><exile.”viii


It was Steve Hickman who drew my attention to the hauntological dimensions imbedded within contemporary media systems: the subtle continuation and reinforcement of previous organizations of power and domination secreted way in postmodern network formations. This grafting of sovereign or disciplinary power – configured primarily the form of centralized or decentralized networks – into the current context produces what I call, drawing on Alexander Galloway, protocological governance: the regulation of bodies at their entry-point into environments that may seem, at first glance, to be rhizomatic in (non)order and autonomous in agency. In the immediacy of everyday life the internet itself emerges as the key example; on the macro-scale, the networking of sovereign entities (states) in relation to transnational governing bodies (the IMF, World Bank, etc, etc) and economic power blocs (William Robinson’s Transnational Capitalist Class) across a diffused, global plane.


The hauntological content of our global machinic systems is only intensified by the origins of much of the technology and the theories that enabled them from the military-industrial complex: Shannon and Weaver’s communication model, for one, was born work done at Bell Labs under the rubric of wartime imperatives, while its cousin, Wiener’s cybernetics, was produced by research done into anti-aircraft fire-control systems. The internet itself derived from the ARPAnet, the communication network produced in distributed form as made necessary by the existence of the atomic bomb. The digital computer, perhaps the single greatest icon of our world system, was an innovation driven by the need for complex information systems to deal, originally, with advanced simulations for experimental aircraft. On a cultural level, much of the technology that has enabled the creation of new musical soundscapes too finds its origins in wartime research and development. We could cite as an example here the vocoder, a mechanical system for reproducing the human voice, became prominent in electronic music (Kraftwerk), jazz (Herbie Hancock), soul (Stevie Wonder), rock (Pink Floyd), disco (Giorgio Moroder), contemporary dance (Daft Punk), pop (Michael Jackson), hip-hop (Michael Jonzun), and dub (current remixes of classics by King Tubby and Lee “Scratch” Perry), after being developed at Bell Labs by Alan Turing and, incidentally, Claude Shannon. The vocoder was a “wonder weapon that would make the transatlantic telephone conversations between Churchill and Roosevelt safe from interception by Canaris and the German Abwehr.”ix Turntables too found their wartime application in the cryptography SIGSALY system – a secure speech technology that originated by Bell Labs with the aid of Turing; SIGSALY would be the first instance of pulse-code modulation (PCM, a system of sampling analog signals for digitalization. The National Inventor’s Hall of Fame lists Shannon as one of the minds behind PCM, which today finds its applications in CDs and DVDs, digital telephone systems, compressed audio formats like MP3 and AAC, and complex data acquisition.




A fata morgana machine that can now be had around the globe. Without war, simply by paying an admission fee. For mechanization has also taken command over so-called times of leisure and peace… Deaf, mute, and blind, bodies are brought up to the reaction speed of World War n+I, as if housed in a gigantic simulation chamber. Computerized weapons systems are more demanding than automatized ones… Every culture has its zones of preparation that fuse lust and power, optically, acoustically, and so on. Our discos are preparing our youths for a retaliatory strike.x


Networked communication technology presents itself a liberating force, but beneath this it is built upon three registers: recording, transmission, storage. Each are bound together and utterly interrelated; the recording of speech, instrumentation, or thoughts (via writing) is capable of being transmitted to any point, while both the relationship between recording and transmission and the reception of the transmission are connected to the capabilities for storage in digital databases, be it a personal inventory or the data acquisition centers of the government and large corporations. “…postmodernity could be defined as the succumbing of historical time to the spectral time of recording devices.”xi Taking off from this notion, Mark Fisher presents his own hauntology that differs from our usage of the term here, while also maintaining crucial overlaps. This hauntology is fixed most specifically to recording process and its effects on the passage of time; the lynchpin here is Derrida, who famously argued in the face of Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man that the specter of Marx would continue to haunt civilization, just the specter of communism had once haunted Europe.


Fisher’s hauntology is a formless figure floating through the scrapheaps of the hyperstylized art market. Whereas postmodern art has seen a reduction in meaning to the point where it has become a mere, surface level sheen with no discernible past and no future to progress into, hauntological art presents a mutated ghost of modernity within postmodernity – a glimpse of some outside in a historical stage where, as Hardt and Negri argued, no practical outside is capable of existing within an Empire made global. Fisher’s Hauntology is not nostalgia proper, but an accumulation of the past’s tracings. Whereas the hauntology of power replicates its organization in hidden, altered forms, this manifestation is an expression of dissatisfaction with the now, or more properly, with the elimination of possible futures. Aesthetic or sonic hauntology is resistance, then, against the postmodern flattening of time, the temporal ether emanating from the proliferation in post-Fordism of what Marc Auge has called “non-places.”


Through their generic and transient qualities – workstations devoid of personal effects, relations with colleagues as fleeting as those with passengers on a commuter journey – many workplaces now resemble non-places, either literally, as in the case of the hotel, corporate coffee chain or out-of-town supermarket, or symbolically, in the form of temporary assignments for faceless employers (dis)located in anonymous buildings, where the worker-commuter then follows the same global timetables, navigates the same software applications and experiences the same place-lessness, the feeling of being mere data in the mainframe.xii

The primary musical example of hauntology, in Fisher’s argument, is the secretive British electronic artist Burial. Associated with the Hyperdub label (founded by Kode 9, the sonic warrior alter ego of Steve Goodman, originally from Sadie Plant and Nick Land’s Cybernetics Culture Research Unit alongside Mark Fisher), Burial’s sonic palette is both evocative of post-industrial malaise and ghostly in execution. “Audio hallucinations transform the city’s rhythms into inorganic beings, more dejected than malign,” Fisher writes. “You see faces in the clouds and hear voices in the crackle. What you momentarily thought was muffled bass turns out only to be the rumbling of tube trains.”xiii Simon Reynolds hones in on this sense of dejection, describing the music as something any metropolis-dweller anywhere on the planet will understand: sensations of grandeur and possibility battling with desolation and entrapment.”xiv Burial’s music was dubstep before the term became the commoditized label for frantic sound shards contorting across dance floors – its own aural geometries found their immediate sonic precedent in trip-hop, 2-step and garage. It exists, then, within the contagious continuum that radiates from London’s pirate radio stations broadcasting from the tower blocs, as discussed in Swarm Intermezzo. Furthermore, this continuum becomes contingent upon – albeit partially – on the specter of dubxv, with its own mutating logic of deconstruction and reco(r)ding.


If dub is a ghost itself, from what past does it propel itself into the uncertain future?


In the early centuries of expansion the Europeans’ generally low regard for African technological abilities was usually expressed indirectly through remarks on the poor quality and limited supply of African textiles and the primitive state of African warfare and agriculture. Tools and weapons, when mentioned, are more often merely described than evaluated, though their absence is sometimes pointedly noted… it is clear that European observers considered the Africans deficient in the invention of tools and weapons and in their application to production and war. Low esteem for African material culture is reflected in the products-mostly raw materials at first; later human beings as slaves that Europeans sought to obtain through trade with the coastal peoples.xvi


In the network age, the modernist notion of the ghost is presented as a threat that takes on both biological and digital dimensions. “The dub virus hacked the operating system of sonic reality and imploded it into a remixological field. The dub virus, taken in these terms, is a recipe for unraveling and recombining musical codes.”xvii The viral threat is a force from the outside, threatening to undo the carefully sculpted architecture of hyperconnection, just as the ghost was once the outside intruder which confronted the plotted rationality of scientifically-inclined rational order. As the above piece by Burning Spear illustrates, the ghost of dub is emanating from the most violent aspect of modernity’s exploitation: that of colonization and slavery. The symmetry of this movement becomes profound when one takes into consideration the relationship between European expansion into its outside and the Enlightenment rationality and its own relationship with technological worldview: the attitude of colonization is found upon a succession of binaries: civilization/primitive, man/machine, enlightenment/ignorance, future/past, and so on.

Dub’s hauntology side-steps each of these binaries, operating on a plateau of intensities between each of their oppositional stances. This passing through the center becomes not only an act of micropolitical dissent, but embodies the subjective viewpoint of living in existence as a part of a diaspora. Paul Gilroy defines this diaspora as a networked “black Atlanticism” – “the stereophonic, bilingual, or bifocal cultural forms originated by, but no longer the exclusive property of, blacks dispersed within the structures of feeling, production, communicating, and remembering” in the modernity of the Western world.xviii Dub’s deterritorialized spaces draws from this sensation of displacement while pushing forward, refusing to fall back on ideology of an idealized homeland, while its preoccupation with the modern or even futuristic (the technology it utilizes) alongside the ancient and archaic (the “roots” traditions and Biblical imagery – itself derived from colonialization) assaults head-on the binary of civilization/primitive. Lee “Scratch” Perry’s descriptions of the Black Ark, his famous recording studio, illustrates this clearly: “It was like a space craft. You could hear space in the tracks… I set it up like an ark… You have to be an ark to save the animals and nature music.”xix Elsewhere the Black Ark was not likened only to futuristic space crafts and ancient arks, but also to a “living thing… The machine must be alive and intelligent.” The machine here then is not only an essential component in the development of dub soundscapes, but something that exists in purely animistic terms – schizing the boundary between technology and life itself (we should keep in mind that it was Felix Guattari who argued that it would “be necessary to temporarily pass through animist thought in order to rid oneself of the ontological dualisms of modern thought.”xx)




In the era between the two world wars, the long-standing assumption that technological innovation was essential to progressive social development came to be viewed in terms of a necessary association between mechanization and modernity. As Richard Wilson has argued, in American thinking the “machine in all of its manifestations-as an object, a process, and ultimately a symbol-became the fundamental fact of modernism.” Modernization theory represented an extension of this association-which was grounded in the American and European historical experience-to the peoples and cultures of the non-Western world. Though the lexicon of American educators and policymakers in overseas areas remained rudimentary and their conceptualizations crude by the social science standards of the 1960s, many of the presuppositions that later informed paradigms of tradition and modernity were evident in their curricula and proposals for reform.xxi


In the process of modernization, the “roots” become wired and the physical spaces that one inhabits become augmented with the advance of the ether, the becoming-cloud in every conceivable application. The dub virologists, like many of their Afrofuturist counterparts in the Black Atlantic, recast the displacement of colonization and slavery in the figure of cyborgs that exist somewhere between human and machine, post/transhuman hybrids as a course plotted straight through the binaries of modernism. On another level, this cutting-up of the human body itself is complimented by the similarities that Armin Medosch has found between Rastafarianism (the “roots” of roots reggae) and the wired world of hacker subcultures.xxii Just as Rastafarianism, originating in the 1930s as a synthesis between synthesis of black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and the writings of Marcus Garvey, focused on displacement, so too do the hackers adopt a nomadic outlook on their work by writing software and coding outside the state-structures that dominate technological innovation (military-industrial establishment). Furthermore, Medosch argues, the usage of sampling, cutting-up, remixing, and reproducing popular dub riddims acts as an analogue to the digital attack on copyright and patents laws through p2p and other file-sharing platforms. Finally, he turns to Jaromil, a Rasta programmer and developer of “Dyne:bolic”, a program that allows users to install GNU/Linux with ease and specifically tailored toward multi-media practices. “The roots of Rasta culture can be found in resistance to slavery,” says Jaromil, describing Dyne:bolic. “This software is not a business. This software is free as of speech and is one step in the struggle for Redemption and Freedom. This software is dedicated to the memory of Patrice Lumumba, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Walter Rodney, Malcom X, Mumia Abu Jamal, Shaka Zulu, Steve Biko and all those who still resist to slavery, racism and oppression, who still fight imperialism and seek an alternative to the hegemony of capitalism in our world.”xxiii


Andreas Burckhardt gives us an equation describing the hyper-fast state of globalized neoliberalism that projects like Jaromil’s hopes to undo: “Noise = Chaos = Capitalism = Reality = Nature = Production = Man = Unsound = Vibrant Matter = Universal = Knowledge.”xxiv Neoliberalism has folded everything back into itself, its non-places bleeding together into a succession of non-spaces; the feverish exchange of goods by humans in the marketplace becomes inseparable from the computerized contortions of high-frequency traders, the accumulation of capital becomes inseparable from the endless production of production in nature, and the laws of ruthless privatization, labor, and rationalization becomes inscribed as the essence in the heart of man. No longer can the linear signal be wrought from non-linear noise, because capital itself is non-linear, non-dialectical, presented as a self-organizing spectacle (we reconfigure here precisely what was said earlier). Flashing through networks both immaterial (finance industries, digitialization) and material (transport and shipping, fiber optic wires), the compulsion of capitalism is the compulsion to communicate – every point must connect to every other point. In the end its all quantifiable; the content of the exchanges matter not. Just as Marx identified the alienation of the human through the body’s entry into the labor system, we now have the alienation of information itself, the separation of the information message from the body. For all the connectability we have, so much of it is rendered hollow.


Connection in the sovereign age meant the colonization of external spaces, the bringing in of the outside to increase the labor market and unload excess goods. Connection in the Imperial age, when there is not longer an outside, is marked by the internalized colonization of everyday life and its mental capacities. Depicted as a Spectacle by the Situationists and as the order of Simulacra by Jean Baudrillard, this is the legacy of cybernetics: the collapsing together of machine and man, the “unity of a functional process.”xxv Total Information Awareness, Total Information Capitalization. Burckhardt sees the reemergence of the classic mode of resistance, appropriation, as the necessary response – the reappropriation of noise, the picking up the pieces of postmodern fragments that are woven together in networks. But the ultimate threat may be silence – a critical disconnection. In dub, both appropriation and disconnection run together: appropriation of the forces of deterritorialization, and a disconnection from the network via the opening up of new messages through cutting-up and starting again. Amplification of the cracks.




In the 1950s, Max Bense wedded together poetry with Shannon and Weaver’s theory of communication into what he called “information aesthetics.” Just as information could become quantifiable, Bense, along with Abraham Moles, attempted to discern a method to “measure the amount and quality of information in an aesthetic objects, thus enabling an evaluation of art beyond ‘art historian chatter.’”xxvi Drawing on Wiener’s theories of feedback, Bense “devised a model for theorizing how the process of art production, consumption, and criticism is procedurally related in terms that suggest computation.” The implication was a purely objective lense through which art could be viewed, reacting to the subjective turn in modern art that was snaking through Dada (having innovated the cut-up through Tristan Tzara’s poetry) to surrealism and all other other avant-gardes. In 1959, an intervention was staged by the German section of the Situationist International, which announced a lecture by Bense to be given in “cybernetic form” over a tape recorder. In front of an audience, a cut-up was played of phrases in languages ranging from French to Latin, combined with snippits from Marx and Hegel. The audience applauded wildly at the end, but the Situationists had inverted Bense: “The stunt displayed that his attempt to do away with semantics has its blind spot precisely in the semantics of his own statements that negated semantics. Secondly, it debunked the concept of technologically produced information as objective which the Situationists countered with a post-romantic and post-surrealist concept of aesthetic subjectivity.”xxvii Not only can noise with meaning be interjected back into quantifiable information, but that meaning can take on autonomous dimensions.


My first article in the review Philosophies,” [Henri] Lefebvre said in 1975, looking back to 1924, “[was a] portrait of Dada. It brought me a lasting friendship with Tristan Tzara… I had written ‘Dada smashes the word, but the pieces are fine’… Each time I ran into Tristan Tzara, he’d say to me: ‘So? You’re picking up the pieces! Do you plan on putting them back together?’ I always answered: ‘No – I’m going to finish smashing them.”xxviii


iWilliam Gibson Neuromancer Ace Science Fiction, 1984, pg. 243

iiMark Fisher “Screams_Screens_Flatlines: Cybernetics, Postmodernism, and the Gothic” Flatline Constructs: Gothic Materialism and Cybernetic Theory-Fiction”

iiiErik Davis “Dead Machines: A Review of The Ghost Orchid and electromagnetic voice phenomena” Revolting August, 1999

ivJohn Corbett Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein Duke University Press, 1994, pg. 20


vi“Tricky: Black Secret Tricknology” The Wire March, 1995

viiWilliam Burroughs The Nova Express Grove, 1964, pg. 49 Importantly, we can take note that the character of the Dixie Flatline in Gibson’s Neuromancer, a construct-ghost that aids Case in his journey, was a “tribute” to William Burroughs by modeling the AI’s speech patterns on the writer’s. Meanwhile, in his essay “Academy Leader,” Gibson describes, in poetic form, “Inspector Lee [Burrough’s fictionalized version of himself in The Nova Express] taught a new angle – frequences of silence; blank walls at street level… All I did: folded words as taught. Now other words accrete in the interstices.” See Brent Wood “William S. Burroughs and the Language of Cyberpunk” Science Fiction Studies No. 68, Volume 23, March 1996

viii “Black Secret Tricknology” pg. 107

ixFriedrich Kittler Gramophone, Film, Typewriter Stanford University Press, 1999, pg. 49. The voder, a related machine, was also developed at Bell Laboratories by Homer Dudley, who would go on to assist Alan Turing in the SIGSALY project. The voder, designed to synthesize human speech by breaking down its acoustics components to be reassembled through the use of a keyboard, would greatly influence thinkers in the structuralist school of French theory such as the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss and Roman Jakobson. This was reflective of the general entry of information theory and cybernetics into intellectual discourse; in the case of the French theorists, this was propagated in part by the efforts of the Rockefeller Foundation – where Warren Weaver could be found heading up the sciences division – and MIT’s Center for International Studies, funded covertly by the Ford and Rockefeller Foundation and covertly by the CIA. For the relationship between wartime sciences and French theory, see Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan “From Information Theory to French Theory” Critical Inquiry No. 38, Autumn 2011. For further information on the Center for International Studies (and its connections with the Rockefeller Foundation, the CIA, information theory and Cold War politics), see Christopher Simpson Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare 1945-1960 Oxford University Press, 1996, pgs. 81-90; and Nils Gilman Mandarin of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America John Hopkins University Press, 2007

xIbid, pg. 140

xiMark Fisher “Phonograph Blues” K-Punk October 19th, 2006

xiiIvor Southwood Non-Stop Inertia Zero Books, 2011, pg. 32. See also Marc Auge Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity Verso, 2009

xiii Mark Fisher “London After the Rave” K-Punk April 14th, 2006,

xiv Simon Reynolds “Burial, Burial” The Observer, Saturday, June 17th, 2006

xvFor a briefly mapping of the filiation of these strands of British electronic music, see Lexis and Dr. Love’s “The History of the UK Garage Family Tree” The common strand is the prevalence of garage, which commonly incorporated dub remixes into DJ sets.

xvi Michael Adas Machines as Measure of Man: Science, Technology, and Ideologies of Western Dominance Cornell University Press, 2011, pg. 39-40

xvii Steve Goodman Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear MIT Press, 2012, pg. 159

xviii Paul Gilroy The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness Harvard University Press, 2005, pg. 3

xixErik Davis Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica Yeti Publishing, 2010, pg. 250

xxAngela Melitopoulos and Maurizo Lazzarto “Machinic Animism”

xxiAdas Machines as Measures of Man pg. 410

xxii Armin Medosch “Roots Culture: Software Vibrations ‘inna Babylon’” in Marleen Wyants and Jan Cornelis How Open is the Future? Economic, Social & Cultural Scenarios Inspired by Free & Open-Source Software VUB Brussels University Press, 2005

xxiii Ibid, pg. 236

xxiv Andreas Burckhardt A Sanctuary of Sounds Punctum Books, 2013

xxv Fisher “Screams_Screens_Flatlines”

xxvi Christopher Klutsch “Information Aesthetics and the Stuttgart School” in Hannah B. Higgins and Douglas Kahn (ed.) Mainframe Experimentalism: Early Computing and the Foundations of the Digital Arts University of California Press, 2012, pg. 67

xxvii Florian Cramer Words Made Flesh: Code, Culture, Imagination Piet Zwart Institute, 2005, pg. 70

xxviii Greil Marcus Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century Harvard University Press, 1990, pg. 19


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3 Responses to Cut it Up and Start Again: Dub Soundscapes and Aesthetic Solidarity

  1. dmf says:

    good stuff EB, the only part of London that I miss is pirate radio.

  2. Pingback: Excess, Machine, Culture: Three Plateaus on Noise Aesthetics | Deterritorial Investigations Unit

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