Turntable Materialities

Harris, Mark. 2017. Turntable Materialities. Seismograf, [Article]

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Mark Harris–Turntable Materialities–as published NC.doc - Accepted Version
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Abstract or Description

This article considers a history of electroacoustic music from the perspective of modified vinyl records, one of the media through which it has been disseminated and heard. It is argued that the physical alteration of 12” and 7” records attempts to make the materiality of the medium audible, and interrupts the otherwise seamless commerce of music that relies on a functional commodity. By interfering with the flow of music and noise, some of these initiatives show commitment to a negative engagement with sound, whereby its ready appreciation and interpretation are halted in favour of detours, complications, misinformation and uncertainty. These approaches are discussed in relation to the history of the evolving technologies of record production, where it can be seen that experimentation with material properties has been inherent to shellac and vinyl manufacturing.
These strategies of negation develop as legacies of early twentieth-century historical avant-gardes, which themselves find epistemological and procedural precedent in philosophies of refusal that initiate with Diderot, Hegel and Nietzsche, amongst other writers. The argument is made that as historic avant-gardes made visible the destruction of art, so modified records attempt to make audible the destruction of sound.

Item Type:



vinyl records, sound art, avant-garde, negative aesthetics, destruction, bad music, Hegel, Diderot, Nietzsche, Adorno, Vinyl Terror & Horror, Christian Marclay, John Cage, Chop Shop, Milan Knížák, Alain Badiou, Boris Groys, Jacques Attali, Paul Mann, The Desperate Bicycles, Gerry and the Holograms, The Freshies

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15 November 2017Published Online
15 November 2017Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

22 Nov 2017 16:28

Last Modified:

02 Aug 2018 08:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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