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Nomads In Sound: a groundbreaking audiotextual project

08.06.2011 - (idw) Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

How does one address collective musical experiences that escape verbal articulation and presuppose wordlessness? It is difficult, if not impossible, to capture the work of sound in music culture by means of text. To capture the ineffable experience of community on the dancefloor and the energy that connects people, sound, technology and space. Social Anthropologist and Associate Professor Anna Gavanas at the Institute for Futures Studies has studied electronic dance music culture. 2011-13-06

She solves this dilemma by developing an approach to address electronic dance music via sound --complementary to writing about it. There will be an audiovisual presentation of this project, Nomads In Sound, at the international Cultural Studies conference ACSIS (Norrköping/ Sweden June 16:th). The presentation will take place at an international session on DJ culture and coincide with the publication of the project in a special issue on DJ culture in Dancecult, the international journal of electronic dance music culture (see

In the audiotextual project Nomads In Sound, Gavanas teams up with electronic music producers Aimnbreak, DJ Aroma, Bass Trolls, Foona, jgb, Kutterfugel, Nuphlo and Ombudsman. Based in Sweden, the UK and Germany these artists have composed tracks for a joint compilation that illustrates the ways electronic dance music scenes may further a range of intents beyond the music itself; community, resistance, solace, soulfulness, collective visions and freezones from oppression.

It is a common prejudice that electronic dance music is inherently apolitical and devoid of meaning or intent because it rarely revolves around lyrics. As opposed to styles like rock or hip hop, electronic dance music rarely centers around text but still operates at political and spiritual levels. Its sounds operate as portals to private and collective memories and imaginations, triggers emotions, inspires communities and mobilises struggles. In this context, DJs/ producers are specialised guides to musical worlds, as a complement to the textual tools of the scholar that attempts to nail music down with words:

DJs/producers tell their stories through soundscapes, weaving together auditory elements and influencing the bodies, moods and emotions of dance crowds; within and beyond language, says Anna Gavanas.

In addition, DJs/ producers possess something like a sixth sense that discerns the moods of crowds and communicates beyond verbal concepts and categories:

-DJs/producers develop their senses to perceive phenomena which everyday listeners do not; they are like infrasensual cyborgs whose bodies extend by their technologies, and they modulate the bodies, minds and emotions of dancers, says Anna Gavanas.

For more information, please contact:
Anna Gavanas, Institute for Futures Studies, 08-402 12 50,

Here is the compilation Nomads In Sound:
here are Weitere Informationen: Here is the compilation Nomads In Sound earlier texts by Gavanas on electronic dance music scenes
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