edited by Michael Goddard, Benjamin Halligan, Nicola Spelman – Resonances: Noise and Contemporary Music


Bloomsbury Academic, ISBN-13: 978-1441159373, English, 288 pages, 2013, USA

The book is the follow-up to “Bigger than Words, Wider than Pictures: Noise, Affect, Politics”, an international conference hosted at the University of Salford, and to its companion volume “Reverberations” published one year before. It’s an edited compendium of texts on a very debated sound topic (“noise”), coalescing an ample spectrum of musical territories that have been affected, pervaded or are rooted into it (the authors define them as a “continuum”). In fact beyond the unavoidable references to Attali and Adorno the analysis starts in the sixties, and involves many different approaches from Hendrix to Metal Machine Music, from Einstürzende Neubauten to Xenakis, from feminine noise to Pussy Riot, composing a detailed and multifaceted picture of noise embodiment in quite different cultural fields. That’s why the value of this anthology resides in its attempt to be as comprehensive as possible, including perspectives usually undervalued, like composition and glitch, for example, becoming part of the abundant current production of critical texts about noise, especially in the digital humanities. And this extreme heterogeneity characterises noise as a compelling “object” for media culture, since it can transverse fields and techniques, being found in pop and underground music, or being totally improvised or very carefully designed. Understanding this emblematic and controversial role, the impact that noise and its inner narrative have made on sound culture emerges in its full extent.