How black electronic dance music makes it possible to reorganize life within the contemporary city.
Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski argues that Black electronic dance music produces sonic ecologies of Blackness that expose and reorder the contemporary racialization of the urban--ecologies that can never simply be reduced to their geographical and racial context. Dhanveer Singh Brar makes the case for Black electronic dance music as the cutting-edge aesthetic project of the diaspora, which due to the music's class character makes it possible to reorganize life within the contemporary city.
Closely analysing the Footwork scene in South and West Chicago, the Grime scene in East London, and the output of the South London producer Actress, Brar pays attention to the way each of these critically acclaimed musical projects experiment with aesthetic form through an experimentation of the social. Through explicitly theoretical means, Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski foregrounds the sonic specificity of 12" records, EPs, albums, radio broadcasts, and recorded performances to make the case that Footwork, Grime, and Actress dissolve racialized spatial constraints that are thought to surround Black social life.
Pushing the critical debates concerning the phonic materiality of blackness, undercommons, and aesthetic sociality in new directions, Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski rethinks these concepts through concrete examples of contemporary black electronic dance music production that allows for a theorization of the way Footwork, Grime, and Actress have--through their experiments in blackness--generated genuine alternatives to the functioning of the city under financialized racial capitalism.
About the Author
Dhanveer Singh Brar is a scholar of Black Studies, as it intersects with Cultural Studies, Sound Studies and Critical Theory. He has published in journals such as Social Text, Darkmatter, and Cesura // Acceso and is a founding member of the London based Black Study Group. He is lecturer in Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London and has previously held an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at University of Pennsylvania and a Junior Research Fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Studies, UCL.
“Dhanveer Singh Brar’s Teklife, Ghettoville, Eski: The Sonic Ecologies of Black Music in the Early 21st Century marks an important step in understanding the value of this music and how it allowed these black electronic musicians, DJ’s and MC’s to prosper against all the odds.”
"This book will be unlike anything you’ve ever read before: challenging and revealing, it refuses to pander to some of the more predictable observations of mainstream music coverage.”