World electronica

READING: Stolzoff, Norman C. 2000. Wake the Town and Tell the People: Dancehall Culture in Jamaica (excerpt). [If you’re running short of time you may want to skim this reading]

READING: Brewster, Bill and Frank Broughton. 2000. “Wreck Up A Version” in Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey.

Questions to consider: What is a sound system and what role does it play in Jamaican music culture? What kinds of records were played by the early sound systems in the 1950s? On what basis did they compete with one another? What is a sound clash? What were “versions” in this context? Who was King Tubby and what was his significance?What innovation did “deejays” like Count Machuki and U-Roy introduce? 

READING:  Short readings on dub from Modulations: A History of Electronic Music (Peter Shapiro, 2000) and Reggae, Rasta, Revolution (ed. Chris Potash, 2000). [skim or come back later to the Lee “Scratch” Perry article if time is short]


READING: Tanaka, Yuji. 2014. “Yellow Magic Orchestra: The Pre-MIDI Technology Behind Their Anthems.”

BONUS READING: “The History of Japanese Techno.”

READING: Aitken, Stuart. 2011. “Charanjit Singh on How He Invented Acid House…By Mistake.” 

BONUS READING:  A little more info. (and the original LP cover) of Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat.


READING: Lynksey, Dorian. 2013. “The Five Year Quest to Reissue William Onyeabor.”

BONUS READINGS & AUDIO:  Interview with Ghanian Electronic Musician Oy // Her album Kokoyinaka streaming in full // “The 14 Best South African Electronic Music Classics According to Spoek Mathambo” // “Die Antwoord: Afrikaans Has Never Been This Cool Before” // “Die Antwoord’s Revival of Blackface does South Africa No Favors” // Podcast: Interview with South African producer DJ Spoko on Afropop Worldwide

READING: Rammant, Hélène. 2005. “Bhangra Now.” fRoots magazine.

Questions to consider: Where did bhangra music originate and who created it? What new setting did it expand into, and why, following Partition in 1947? How did the music’s style and production techniques evolve as it as it shifted from a folk to a popular form? What new purposes, and new debates, did it fulfill/provoke in its new environment?

BONUS READING: Patil, Adwait. 2015. “Beats Beyond Bhangra: Ten Rising Producers from India You Should Know.”

READING: D’Angelo, Sandra. 2015. “Sampling the Sense of Place in Baile Funk Music.” In Relocating Popular Music.

Questions to consider: Where was the birthplace of baile funk? What is a favela? How do baile funk and samba depict interactions between Brazilian social classes differently? How do baile funk and hip hop differ in their representational aesthetics? What technique is used in baile funk to “absorb the sonic environment of other places”? What sonic hallmark of Rio’s slums is commonly employed as a percussive sound effect in baile funk? How are perceptions of space manipulated in the genre, and how does this relate to postmodernism?

BONUS READING: Lhooq, Michelle. 2015. “This Syrian Refugee is Using Electronic Music as Political Resistance.”