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Musicology Colloquium: David Novak, "Cassette Cultures: Toward a Media Archeology of Popular Music"

Thursday, April 22, 2021 at 5:00pm

Virtual Event

Abstract: In this talk, I trace the contemporary circulation of “golden era” 1960s and 1970s Cambodian popular music recordings as a global media archeology. I seek to contextualize and historicize revivals of pre-Khmer Rouge “Cambodian Rock” through the mediated movements of cassette tapes among North American independent labels and the activities of online archivists and heritage centers in present-day Cambodia, as well as in the documentary film Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, the play Cambodian Rock Band, and the Los Angeles based group Dengue Fever. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with contemporary preservationists and reissue labels in Cambodia, California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, I consider the role of music in memories of genocide and war, the importance of physical materials in the global recognition of Southeast Asian history, and the ethical politics of media access in the transition to a digital archive.

Bio: David Novak is Associate Professor and Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (2103) and co-editor of Keywords in Sound (2015). His current book project, Diggers: A Media Archaeology of Global Popular Music, theorizes musical globalization through networks of record and cassette collectors, labels, archives, and digital preservation projects.

Presented by Music Graduate Association and GPSFAC

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