Displacing the Past. Mediated Nostalgia and Recorded Sound

Elodie A. Roy

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The audio past of the 20th century, as it is stored in both material and digital collections, is largely and almost effortlessly accessible to contemporary audiences. The recycling or revival of former musical pasts seems to be an inescapable and familiar reality (Reynolds, 2011). In light of two case studies borrowed from contemporary British audio culture, I determine how nostalgia has become a strong, yet paradoxical, shaping practice for contemporary independent record labels. The first case study is dedicated to Ghost Box records and examines the prevailing practices of hauntology and sampling. The second case study focuses on hyper-specialised British reissue record label Finders Keepers, which help to salvage and rehabilitate semi-forgotten recordings from bygone eras. In this article, the notion of nostalgia is constructed as a relevant dimension of contemporary audio cultures rather than its superficial (or fashionable) correlative. The links between early phonography as a technology of early presence and the rise of nostalgia are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-158
Number of pages15
JournalVolume! The French Journal of Popular Music Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


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