Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience, despite remaining deeply underground. How did the submergent circulations of Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization, intercultural exchange and participatory media at the turn of the millennium? In this talk, David Novak traces the “cultural feedback” of Noise through the productive distortions of its mediated networks: its recorded forms, technologies of live performance, and into the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners.
David Novak teaches in the Music Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His work deals with the globalization of popular music, media technologies, experimental culture, and social practices of listening. He is the author of recent essays in Public Culture, Cultural Anthropology, and Popular Music, as well as the book Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press).
Cosponsored by the MIT Cool Japan Project.