Damon Krukowski – Ways of Hearing


MIT Press, ISBN-13: 978-0262039648, English, 136 pages, 2019, USA

When design enables an underlying structural revelation, it transcends its usual purpose of supporting the enjoyment of content, elevating the printed medium to a higher level. This is what happens in this book, a transcription of Krukowski’s podcast ”Ways of Hearing” named after John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing”, the influential 1972 book about understanding visual culture. The author (ex Galaxy 500 drummer), elaborates on a few key aspects of the transition from the analogue to the digital, and on how the technical aspects have affected music as a whole system of economic, perceptual, cultural and social values. Krukowski talks about overlooked aspects, such as the digital ‘delay’ in reproduction, access to expertise only possible in specialised record shops, or the importance of ‘noise’ as a facilitator of experiential knowledge, in an enthralling sequence of convincing topics. On top of that, the book is also an experiment in transcribing a podcast onto the page. Printed in black and cyan, it openly uses a series of conventions to render the elements, timing and content of the podcast. Designer James Gogging uses graphic elements either as documentation or to evoke components of the talks, while Coss’ accurate glossary of the podcast helps to flawlessly represent on the page the whole process and content. A small gem, not to be missed.