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Defining the Discographic SelfDesert Island Discs in Context$
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Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, and Stephen Cottrell

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266175

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266175.001.0001

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Desert island discomorphoses: Listening formations and the material cultures of music

Desert island discomorphoses: Listening formations and the material cultures of music

Chapter:
(p.67) 4 Desert island discomorphoses: Listening formations and the material cultures of music
Source:
Defining the Discographic Self
Author(s):

Kyle Devine

, Julie Brown, Nicholas Cook, Stephen Cottrell
Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197266175.003.0005

Musical identities are forged in relation to the material properties of media formats. The cultures of listening and modes of identification fostered by the 78-rpm disc, for example, are not the same as those that took shape around the LP or the MP3. Each technology affords different modes of musical identification, fandom, enjoyment, and taste. To read Desert Island Discs as a continuous archive of self-presentation or a straightforward reflection of musical taste is thus to overlook a key point: the programme equally reflects seven decades of change in the material cultures of music. This chapter combs the online Desert Island Discs archive for evidence of the relationship between the discographic self and the ‘discomorphosis’ of music, focusing on such conjunctures as the hypothetical wind-up gramophone that furnished the island in 1942, the introduction of the LP and transistor radios around 1950, and the introduction of the iPod in 2001.

Keywords:   material culture, mediation, listening formation, gramophone, LP, radio, iPod

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