Ecotonality and Listening Praxis in Sound ecology, ambiences and popular music

So what questions am I trying to ask about sound ecologies and popular music? What implications do the interpretations of these books have for listening praxis, especially in urban environments?

Borrowing an idea from Donna Haraway (1988), I could describe each listening perspective as a partial perspective, partial in the sense of not being complete, as well as having certain tendencies and yearnings, certain desires: being partial to particular ideas and approaches, ways of representing sound environments and our experience of the world.

It is important to ask of each account: how is it partial? In what ways? When a listening or sound making praxis is represented by an author, how is the environment of listening and working discussed? Is it the control room or studio space only? What and who is the focus of attention and what is left out of the account? Does it include a larger context? How is it framed? Who and what inhabits that space, in this representation, and how do they inhabit the space? Is there talk-back? Does this representation consider different performance scenes? Does it approach different points of audition and listening rooms of various kinds with their attentive, distracted, and indifferent inhabitants? Does it address the academy with its disciplinary perspectives? Does it represent the wide range of architectural and intricate ecotonal environments encountered during field recording? What is meant by soundscape or sound ecology, in the context of popular music? If ecology is the attempt to study complex relationships in environmental systems, does it make sense to parse the idea of ecology into sound ecology, vibrational ecology, or an ecology of fear to simplify matters, to make generalizations about noise, frequency, or affect? Is it possible to approach complexity in our thinking about sound environments? How complex are these articulations? How much can we comprehend through this account, of overlapping, intermingled systems of listening and sound making practice?

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by Andra Mccartney

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