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BCMCR Research Seminar: Popular Music

May 30, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

BCMCR Research Seminar – Pop Music: Heavy metal cultural translation
1600-1730 Wednesday 30 May *please note room change*
C424, Curzon, Birmingham City University

Free registration at this 
Prof. Karl Spracklen (Leeds Beckett University)- Throat-singing as extreme Other: an exploration of Mongolian and Central Asian style in extreme metal
Throat-singing is a form of singing practiced in a number of cultures, but it is not part of the pre-modern folk cultures of Western Europe that shaped contemporary Western popular culture. In contemporary Western music, throat-singing from Central Asia is used or sampled in global fusion and dance music as an example of the mystical, timeless orient. In world music, another Western form of music, artists from China, Mongolia and Tuva who incorporate throat-singing and roots music forms have become popular acts at festivals and the touring circuit. Throat-singing has also been used by extreme metal bands from Asia to signify their authenticity and their connection to this traditional culture. In this paper, I explore how throat-singing is used by performers and consumers to construct belonging, authenticity, identity and extremity. I focus in particular on how throat-singing and traditional cultural tropes are used by the Chinese folk metal band Tengger Cavalry and Darkestrah, a black metal band from Kyrgyzstan.
Dr. Niall Scott (University of Central Lancashire) – Magic moments and metal memories
The release of Pat Boone’s big band compilation of heavy rock and heavy metal hits, In a Metal Mood: No More Mr Nice Guy, recorded in 1997, forced the treatment of heavy music into a history it never had, yet can be seen as altogether appropriate for a music form that is frequently conservative and retrospective. In this paper, I will address what I see as a problem of nostalgia that pervades heavy metal music culture. It is a problem that is reminiscent of Jameson’s insight regarding science fiction writing, where he claims that “perhaps we need to develop and anxiety about the future which is analogous to Orwell’s anxiety about the loss of the past and memory of childhood” (Frederic Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future, 233). There is a sense that attending metal gigs is akin to being present at an archaeological dig, where what is being celebrated are the fragments of what the music was like in the past, a collective celebration metal’s magic moments. Longing for a recapture of the transgressive and critical power the music has had, but knowing that this will never return is also arguably a narrow view that fails to recognise the global innovations in various subgenres that stretch the idea of what metal music of the future might become.
About the speakers:
Karl Spracklen is a Professor of Music, Leisure and Culture based in the School of Film, Music and Performing Arts. Karl is the founder and principal editor of the journal Metal Music Studies, and an Ambassador for the International Society for Metal Music Studies. He has written extensively on music, subcultures, identity and leisure and culture, with interests in alternativity and marginalisation, and social inclusion and exclusion.
Dr. Niall Scott is Reader in Philosophy and Popular Culture at the University of Central Lancashire founder member and former chair of the International Society for Metal Music Studies. He is editor ofHelvete, a Journal of Black Metal Theory, co-editor of Metal music Studies (Intellect) and has published widely and spoken internationally on heavy metal, philosophy and politics.


May 30, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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