More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction: Concept Engineered
Music writer, theorist and film maker Kodwo Eshun's More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction is set to be republished some 20 years since first appeared in 1998. Covering the music of artists such as Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Lee Perry, Dr Octagon, Parliament and Underground Resistance, the book was revolutionary for the way Kodwo decoded the messages in jazz, dub, techno, funk, hiphop, jungle and much more in order to create new sonic possibilities and fictions. As Peter Shapiro said in The Wire 171, “This is the work of a writer who is desperately trying to break past language barriers to grasp at the ineffable qualities of music. It may not live up to the title, but it comes very close.”
Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear
Sound can be deployed to produce discomfort, express a threat, or create an ambience of fear or dread—to produce a bad vibe. Sonic weapons of this sort include the “psychoacoustic correction” aimed at Panama strongman Manuel Noriega by the U.S. Army and at the Branch Davidians in Waco by the FBI, sonic booms (or “sound bombs”) over the Gaza Strip, and high-frequency rat repellants used against teenagers in malls. At the same time, artists and musicians generate intense frequencies in the search for new aesthetic experiences and new ways of mobilizing bodies in rhythm. In Sonic Warfare, Steve Goodman explores these uses of acoustic force and how they affect populations. Traversing philosophy, science, fiction, aesthetics, and popular culture, he maps a (dis)continuum of vibrational force, encompassing police and military research into acoustic means of crowd control, the corporate deployment of sonic branding, and the intense sonic encounters of sound art and music culture. Goodman concludes with speculations on the not yet heard—the concept of unsound, which relates to both the peripheries of auditory perception and the unactualized nexus of rhythms and frequencies within audible bandwidths.