Timbre and the "Zone of Entanglement" in Electronic Dance Music
Re-Thinking Musico-Social Ontologies with the Mycelial Turn
This article weaves together relational tendencies in recent scholarship spanning philosophy, mycology, psychopharmacology and timbre studies in order to argue that timbre’s unbounded ontology and cyclical re-use across electronic dance music (EDM) history affords listeners experiential access into radically distributed modes of being. Taking its cue from the biological structure of fungal mycelium, from whose flowers the psychoactive compounds of many psychedelic drugs are derived, this study builds on established models of EDM’s affectivity to propose that timbre in EDM manifests a psychedelic and specifically social form of consciousness. Highlighting the potential for entrainment that EDM’s synthesised timbres make possible, a conception of timbre as a mycelial “zone of entanglement” is put forward, in which the material and cultural, individual and social and spiritual and fleshly dimensions of the listening experience are folded into a reverberant unity, in turn encouraging a negotiation of the ethics that this entanglement entails.
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