Reactions to Analog Fetishism in Sound-Recording Cultures


Analog fetishism, a highly visible trend in the popular discussion of digital-age sound recording, embodies a technologically deterministic understanding of music and presumes a fundamental split between digital tools and their analog predecessors. This study situates the phenomenon in the context of sonic categories from which musical value systems draw their signifiers and to which digital-age advancements pose a disruption. The case of lo-fi music and home recording is given special consideration as an example of a musical genre ethic embedding specific relations to recording technologies. An examination of online sound-recording forums, alongside careful consideration of the technologies involved, reveals a strong tendency among recordist communities toward the rejection of technologically deterministic attitudes and toward the reemphasis of performative work as driving musical creation.