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Review of Timothy D. Taylor. Strange Sounds: Music, Technology, and Culture. New York: Routledge, 2001. x, 278 pp.

Zak III, Albin J.

Strange Sounds is among the growing literature concerned with the interface
of technology and musical practice, reception, and use (referred to in
this book, as in many others, as "production" and "consumption"). More
specifically, the author is concerned with the ways "that digital technology
shapes the three areas that have historically been so affected by technology:
music production, storage/distribution, and consumption" (15), with
a particular focus on the latter two. The ability to capture sound as digital
information is, of course, an outgrowth of analog sound recording, and is
thus only the latest chapter in a history of technological evolution that has
both shaped and been shaped by the forces of musical culture. The field
of potential inquiry for such a project is vast, and from the complex of
relevant topics Taylor takes up a subset focusing on "agency" and "ideologies
of technology" (9), with the aim of probing the social dimensions of
the music/ technology interface. What emerges is a somewhat idiosyncratic
investigation that draws attention to several unlikely historical and aesthetic



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Columbia University
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November 16, 2014