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Punk Ethnography
Artists & Scholars Listen to Sublime Frequencies
Michael E. Veal, ed.; E. Tammy Kim, ed.


2016 • 440 pp. 12 illus. (1 map, 2 tables) 6 x 9"
Ethnomusicology / Music History & Criticism

$27.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7653-8
$22.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7654-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Edited by Michael Veal and E. Tammy Kim, the book [Punk Ethnography] is a thoroughly engaging survey and analysis of the label’s legacy and its future. It is also a very timely... [continued in Reviews below]”—Chris Becker, Chris Becker

A critical companion to the radical DIY record label that challenges the conventions of ethnography, representation, and the category of “world music”

This ground-breaking case study examines record production as ethnographic work. Since its founding in 2003, Seattle-based record label Sublime Frequencies has produced world music recordings that have been received as radical, sometimes problematic critiques of the practices of sound ethnography. Founded by punk rocker brothers Alan and Richard Bishop, along with filmmaker Hisham Mayet, the label’s releases encompass collagist sound travelogues; individual artist compilations; national, regional and genre surveys; and DVDs—all designed in a distinctive graphic style recalling the DIY aesthetic of punk and indie rock. Sublime Frequencies’ producers position themselves as heirs to canonical ethnographic labels such as Folkways, Nonesuch, and Musique du Monde, but their aesthetic and philosophical roots in punk, indie rock, and experimental music effectively distinguish their work from more conventional ethnographic norms. Situated at the intersection of ethnomusicology, sound studies, cultural anthropology, and popular music studies, the essays in this volume explore the issues surrounding the label—including appropriation and intellectual property—while providing critical commentary and charting the impact of the label through listener interviews.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Edited by Michael Veal and E. Tammy Kim, the book [Punk Ethnography] is a thoroughly engaging survey and analysis of the label’s legacy and its future. It is also a very timely read, given the current climate of isolationism, racism, and anti-intellectualism here in the U.S. and many other parts of the world.”—Chris Becker, Chris Becker

“The Sublime Frequencies indie label curates albums of music from the Middle East, Asia and Africa—often culled from flea market cassettes and taped radio broadcasts—that transcend the stuffiness of academic ethnomusicology and the calculations of corporate world music. Its aesthetic is steeped in the pointed irony and rule-breaking spirit of punk rock.”—David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

“This original and timely collection raises key questions about the purpose and practice of ethnomusicology in the 21st century, especially in relation to products of research and politics of representation.” —Eliot Bates, University of Birmingham

“As much an ethnography of Sublime Frequencies as it is a study of them as ethnographers, Punk Ethnography is a gloriously multiform study, a rich investigation of their defiant, unaffiliated, grass roots take on the ethnomusicological enterprise, fearlessly interspersing essays with interviews, posing difficult questions and drawing out the nuances of SF’s gleefully rogue persona.” —John Corbett, author of Microgroove: Forays into Other Music


Short-Listed for the Best Historical Research in Record Labels - ARSC Awards for Excellence (2017)
Short-Listed for the ARSC Awards for Excellence – Best Historical Research in Record Labels (2017)

MICHAEL E. VEAL is a musician and professor of ethnomusicology at Yale University. He is the author of several books, including Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon and Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae. E. TAMMY KIM is a writer and member of The New Yorker's editorial staff. She previously worked as a staff writer at Al Jazeera America and as a social justice lawyer.

Wed, 17 Oct 2018 11:55:30 -0500