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Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life Paperback – April 1, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic (April 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441161368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441161369
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #551,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Acoustic Territories takes account of contemporary urban space by listening to it... From the underground to the sky, this groundbreaking book explores the sonorities of everyday life, identifies the major stakes and challenges, and leads us brilliantly towards an auditory paradigm of urban experience." - Jean-Paul Thibaud, CNRS researcher at CRESSON, scientific coordinator of the International Ambiances Network (ambiances.net)


"LaBelle argues that everyday acoustic life has an unbounded, yet highly differentiated, nature which offers new interdisciplinary modes of thinking to contemporary questions of global inhabitation, relation and disruption. In doing so, he makes a valuable contribution to the expanding field of sonic research"
-Peg Rawes, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London

Author article and book mention in The Wire, April 2010

"LaBelle, a sound artist and an academic, writes with a fluid brillianceabout the way that sound interacts with the other elements of ourexperience with a kind of comprehension and comprehensiveness that cansuggest Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media or Siegfried Giedion's Mechanization Takes Command,resulting in a visionary tome linking history, subcultures and streetart. It's not a book about music per se, but it's hard to imagine areading of it not interacting creatively with anyone's thinking onmusical practice and meaning.
LaBelle has a kind of accepting overview that I can't help admiring.It's too easy to simply decry noise pollution or the behaviouralengineering of public space without actually exploring what a specificevent might mean (e.g., how sound is wrapped up in identity and issuesof private and public space), but LaBelle has the ability to keepthinking where many others would just react. It's an ability that makesthis one of the more stimulating reads of the year."
-Point of Departure

"LaBelle, a sound artist and an academic, writes with a fluid brillianceabout the way that sound interacts with the other elements of ourexperience with a kind of comprehension and comprehensiveness that cansuggest Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media  or Siegfried Giedion’s Mechanization Takes Command,resulting in a visionary tome linking history, subcultures and streetart. It’s not a book about music per se, but it’s hard to imagine areading of it not interacting creatively with anyone’s thinking onmusical practice and meaning.
LaBelle has a kind of accepting overview that I can’t help admiring.It’s too easy to simply decry noise pollution or the behaviouralengineering of public space without actually exploring what a specificevent might mean (e.g., how sound is wrapped up in identity and issuesof private and public space), but LaBelle has the ability to keepthinking where many others would just react. It’s an ability that makesthis one of the more stimulating reads of the year."
-Point of Departure

About the Author

Brandon LaBelle is an artist and writer working with sound culture and locational identities. His previous book, Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art, was published in 2006 also by Continuum. He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and organizer of the related Surface Tension project. He is currently Professor at the National Academy of the Arts in Bergen, Norway.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Azazello on October 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
I really appreciated LaBelle's brief critique of acoustic ecology in his last book (Background Noise), so I had high hopes for this one - especially as the title seems to announce an even more direct engagement with the role of the soundscape in everyday life. Unfortunately the book fails to significantly develop the argument from the last book in any substantial way. Instead, it pedals around its topic for over 200 pages, in chapters very loosely oriented around archetypal urban spaces (underground, home, sidewalk, street, shopping mall, sky). LaBelle often departs from focusing on sound culture in particular to rhapsodize about urban space more generally. This isn't inherently a problem, except the book switches subjects so rapidly (every few pages) it often fails to convince on any given point. LaBelle breezily quotes all manner of theorists and artists without contextualizing their work or building their ideas into a larger argument of his own. This left me wishing that the author had at least done some 'everyday life' research on his own, but there isn't much in this respect aside from a few personal anecdotes. Perhaps tellingly, the book lacks a concluding chapter (or even a concluding paragraph!), and ends when the last chapter on 'sky' runs out of steam. And at that point he wasn't really talking about skies anyway.
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LaBelle explores evocative language and "case studies" of sorts to convey his theoretical understanding of "sound culture and everyday life." I understand it's not everyone's cup of tea but if you're interested in performance studies, sound studies, critical theory pertaining to everyday life or finding vocabulary to handle the abstract to the material, this is a good starting point.
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