Check-in
Paper Session
Nov 12, 2021 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM(America/Chicago)
20211112T1400 20211112T1450 America/Chicago Feeling Powerful—Sonics, Politics, and Affective Regimes

The physical aspects of music and sound, or "vibrational practice," in Nina Sun Eidsheim's terms (2015), rely on a contextualized experience that elicits an affective response. By revisiting definitions of sonic "power" (Walser 1993), in which power comes from feelings of controlling sound, this panel suggests how shared physical experience may be differently felt and contextualized through affect and embodiment. Connecting to discussions in affect theory (Ngai 2005, Hofman 2015, Berlant 2019) and sound studies (Cusick 2006, Daughtry 2015, Tausig 2019), we emphasize the transformational affective potential of sonic embodiment (Eidsheim 2015, Cox 2016, Hofman 2020) that allows individuals to be "…in on the event together, but […] in it together differently" (Massumi 2016, 114). Across these papers, we link cultural responses to the "affective regimes," defined broadly as the often overlapping and sometimes contradictory logics of capital, technological development, urban space, and governance that inform the sounded dimensions of contemporary social life (Mankekar and Gupta 2016; Navaro 2019). Considering affective regimes as a means of analysis enables us to foreground "the corporeal body whose bodily processes are being reshaped by the logics of capital and technology, in short, not just the laboring body but the feeling body" (Mankekar and Gupta 2016, 38), and to suggest that embodied emotion constitutes a type of power within encounter. The various case studies presented on this panel--extremist politics in Metal music; affective curation in professional experimental choral performance; and the use of found acoustics in chant-driven protest--show how sound can overwhelm, subvert, and channel power through controlling emotional guidelines ...

AMS 2021 ams@amsmusicology.org

The physical aspects of music and sound, or "vibrational practice," in Nina Sun Eidsheim's terms (2015), rely on a contextualized experience that elicits an affective response. By revisiting definitions of sonic "power" (Walser 1993), in which power comes from feelings of controlling sound, this panel suggests how shared physical experience may be differently felt and contextualized through affect and embodiment. Connecting to discussions in affect theory (Ngai 2005, Hofman 2015, Berlant 2019) and sound studies (Cusick 2006, Daughtry 2015, Tausig 2019), we emphasize the transformational affective potential of sonic embodiment (Eidsheim 2015, Cox 2016, Hofman 2020) that allows individuals to be "…in on the event together, but […] in it together differently" (Massumi 2016, 114). Across these papers, we link cultural responses to the "affective regimes," defined broadly as the often overlapping and sometimes contradictory logics of capital, technological development, urban space, and governance that inform the sounded dimensions of contemporary social life (Mankekar and Gupta 2016; Navaro 2019). Considering affective regimes as a means of analysis enables us to foreground "the corporeal body whose bodily processes are being reshaped by the logics of capital and technology, in short, not just the laboring body but the feeling body" (Mankekar and Gupta 2016, 38), and to suggest that embodied emotion constitutes a type of power within encounter. The various case studies presented on this panel--extremist politics in Metal music; affective curation in professional experimental choral performance; and the use of found acoustics in chant-driven protest--show how sound can overwhelm, subvert, and channel power through controlling emotional guidelines and embodied experience. These papers suggest an expanded definition of power that affords new ways to theorize physical experience as connected to political kineticism via physicality and affective drive. Moreover, this scholarship explores the tenuous distinctions between _being_ powerful and _feeling_ powerful in sonic practices produced and experienced by participants in shared acoustic space.

If it growls like a Nazi…: The Role of Noise and Affect in National Socialist Black Metal
Session 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 20:50:00 UTC

Music within politically radical scenes has become a recent trend in scholarship (Love 2016, Pieslak 2015, Teitelbaum 2017). While this scholarship has painstakingly traced various social/political scenes, there has been less attention given to the chosen musical aesthetics. In this paper I explore questions of generic appeal for extremist political recruitment through a timbral analysis of National Socialist Black Metal (NSBM). Although Nancy Love's monograph touches on metal aesthetics in a discussion of metal's "angry" sound, and its effects when combined with racist lyrics, the emphasis placed on the music's emotional content has not lent itself to a more robust exploration of the music's soundscape and its importance to the circulation of these groups' political beliefs. As a result, scholarship around political extremism has focused on how music has been used to recruit and enforce political ideologies. The question of why certain genres are chosen has been less readily discussed in terms of their musical qualities.


Focusing on the Polish NSBM band Graveland and their song "White Beasts of Wotan," I discuss the importance of both lyrics and genre signifiers in creating political messages and reinforcing political ideologies for both musicians and listeners through spectrographic analysis. This analysis emphasizes the role of timbre in black metal, particularly the use of distortion in the guitar and vocals, to create a noisy soundscape that is heightened through the genre's emphasis on loudness. Using Michael Heller's (2015) and Arnie Cox's (2016) theories on music and embodied experiences, I argue that metal's emphasis on noise and loudness create an overwhelming response that forces listeners into a state of affective overdrive. Adapting George Bataille's theory of the "accursed share" (1988, 37), or an excess of energy, I further posit that bands working within Neo-Nazi and extreme right-wing ideological frameworks manipulate this affective excess to push listeners towards these political aims while simultaneously using noise and distortion to initially disguise these political interests to draw a larger potential audience.

Presenters
JF
Jillian Fischer
University Of California, Santa Barbara
Affective Power and Ethics in Choral Experimentalism: Considering Roomful of Teeth
Session 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 20:50:00 UTC

Scholarship in voice studies has focused on the aspects of vocality that imbricate singers and non-singers alike in physically shared space (Eidsheim 2015), and suggested that hearing voices-our own and others'-attaches us subjectively to each other via a visceral empathy particular to vocality (Frith 1998). In this paper, I suggest that the ties between body, space, voice, and affect are even more integral in choral practices due to the diagnostic embodiment and relational acoustic adjustment required in choral singing and listening. If voice engages listening bodies through sympathetic feeling in space, choral practice, where multiple bodies engage with each other and the space in which they are contained, can link sound, embodied and acoustic spaces of encounter, cultural politics, community awareness, personal and aggregate vocality, and affect, highlighting the affective regimes (Mankekar and Gupta 2016) that govern these cultural practices.


Building on observations of experimental vocal group Roomful of Teeth in rehearsal and performance, this paper draws connections between voice, body, space, place, and affect inherent in professional choral practice. First, I focus on Roomful of Teeth's reworking of David Lang's _The Little Match Girl Passion_ during their 2018 residency at MassMoCA, and show how embodiment and spatial acoustics are illuminated by subverted choral performance norms. Moving on to discussion of the 2019 controversy surrounding Roomful of Teeth's use of throat-singing approaches drawn from Inuit _katajjak_ in Caroline Shaw's Partita for 8, I show how this vocalism is used to shift affect; and how that deliberate affective shift can validate protests of this use of Indigenous vocal heritage. Considering sensual and embodied "erotics" (Wong 2016) as well as embodied memory and cultural awareness (Ochoa Gautier 2014), I suggest that performers and composers who shift affective regimes by subverting choral tradition take powerful advantage of  "the circulation of nervous impulses" (Feldman 2007, 43). These repertoire-focused case studies suggest that political/cultural mores feed into affective regimes during encounter; and, through these examples, it is possible to see how unexpectedly redirecting feeling through performance can necessitate a new category of sonic ethics.

Presenters Eugenia Siegel Conte
University Of California, Santa Barbara
On the Desire to Be Seen: Voicing Protest at Eis Hockey Club Dynamo Berlin
Session 02:00 PM - 02:50 PM (America/Chicago) 2021/11/12 20:00:00 UTC - 2021/11/12 20:50:00 UTC

Exploring the interrelationship between sound, affect and power (Cusick 2006, Goodman 2010, Eidsheim 2015, Hofman 2015, Daughtry 2015), I examine hardcore fans called ultras at Eis Hockey Club Dynamo Berlin who support the team through continuous singing, clapping, flag-waving, and the (illegal) lighting of marine flares. In this paper, I focus specifically on a protest led by the ultras that ensued after their clubhouse located near the stadium was demolished to make room for commercial development. Rising ticket prices to hockey games and the ongoing gentrification of the surrounding neighborhood have threatened hardcore fans' ability to attend matches, creating an adversarial relationship between the ultras, the casual attendees, and the influx of shoppers coming to a neighborhood that has effectively become a commercial district in Berlin. Expanding upon the sounded and performative dimensions of public assembly (Warner 2002, Novak 2010, Butler 2015, Tausig 2019), I approach the ultras' use of voice as a means of intensifying and distilling feelings as an estranged form of public address.

 

As the ultras march and chant through a shopping mall next to the arena, the ensuing reactions of fascination and fear toward the protest exemplify the ways in which "affective regimes" (Mankekar and Gupta 2016) guide, delimit, and compel action in ways that reproduce socially conceived categories and make them visible. While the performance disrupted the shopping experiences of passersby, the action was in part motivated by the fans' preexisting feelings of outsidership within a middle-class social milieu such as the newly built East Side Mall. Building upon and complicating notions of voice as expressive of identity (Eidsheim 2019, Meizel 2020) and agency (Couldry 2010), I posit that voice serves as a form of poesis with an ability to transform emotional dynamics through an engagement with the acoustic-vibrational possibilities of physical space. Capturing attention through expressive inflections of difference, making a scene in public through the act of music-making flips the social logics and organization of a place, revealing public space as a site of contestation characterized by the unequal flow and uneven habitability of different types of human bodies.

Presenters
MJ
Max Z. Jack
Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of California, Santa Barbara
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions (Local time)