Friday, December 10, 2010

Disco Edits and Their Discontents: The Persistence of the Analog in a Digital Era

I'm pleased to announce the online publication of "Disco Edits and Their Discontents: The Persistence of the Analog in a Digital Era", my scholarly consideration of Disco Edits in New Media and Society. (Access via a research library or by subscription. Email me if you don't have access to either.)


Disco edits and their discontents: The persistence of the analog in a digital era

Margie Borschke
University of New South Wales


This article foregrounds the distinction between two compositional forms and creative strategies in dance music – edits and remixes – as a way to gain a better understanding of the relationship between media use and media content, between producers and users, artifacts and events. It considers how the earliest disco edits in the 1970s were shaped by listeners (DJs and dancers) working in tandem with the material qualities and functional properties of vinyl records and other analog technologies and argues that while contemporary edits are made with digital tools, they continue to be in debt to their analog antecedents. In doing so this article critiques the enthusiastic adoption of ‘remix’ as a metaphor to describe digital culture and questions whether this rhetorical usage overshadows the aesthetic priorities and political implications of a variety of creative strategies that involve media use and re-use.

This essay takes a media studies approach to the subject, and I'm particularly interested in how media formats shape media content.

For those interested in Walter Gibbons, please see Tim Lawrence's work on Gibbons.

For those interested in disco acetates (and their collectors), see Disco Patrick.

For interest in contemporary edits:
A short documentary, Nu Disco (Re-edit Yourself) from The Art Pack, a video mag from France.

Andy Beta's "Disco Inferno 2.0" in The village Voice.

Or ask your local record store.

And many thanks to all the DJs, producers, dancers, and collectors for many spirited and enlightening discussions about edits in person and online.

Earlier versions of this article were given at the following conferences and workshops:

What’s it worth? ‘Value’ and Popular Music

Annual Conference of IASPM-ANZ
International Association for the Study of Popular Music
Australia-New Zealand branch
27-29 November 2009


ARC Cultural Research Network's Obsolescence Research Workshop
Obsolescence: Media history, policy and aesthetics Project
University of Wollongong
1 & 2 October 2009

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