Hearing the Cloud
How do platform technologies change the way we listen, and can music help reimagine the future?
Can music be a curse? Here is an alternate history of online politics and new technology from the perspective of listening, typing, composing, and shared hearing.
Emile Frankel presents a rigorous account of a world felt to be in crisis. The aesthetic and tonal ramifications for such feelings are twisted within the oppressive online structures mediating new music. The legacies of Silicon Valley digitalism, 4chan, Less Wrong, and Chaos Magic are compared to the magical thinking which underlies stochastic composition, and the aesthetics of deconstructed club music. Despite a pessimistic account of Accelerationism and reactionary philosophy, Frankel's spirited writing is full of hope. Hearing the Cloud considers the communal online conversations we engage in daily as profound acts of defiance. Sweet, lithe, oily, and honest music is shown to be an important source of togetherness.
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Hearing the Cloud guides us through the soundscapes of contemporary neoliberal capitalism, from chillstep to nightcore, and recaptures the possibilities of collective listening embedded within these musical forms. Emile Frankel traces a pattern recognition of our moment, poised between dystopian nihilism and the receding possibilities of utopia. Against irony, fragmentation, and chaos, Hearing the Cloud helps us hear the material presence of sound in our lives and the whispers of a better future. ~ Benjamin Noys, author of Malign Velocities: Accelerationism and Capitalism