Old Instruments, New Agendas: The Chemical Brothers and the ARP 2600


  • Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen University of Oslo


production, subcultural capital, sociotechnical theory


A preference for old vintage music equipment is widespread in electronic dance music. My point of departure for a discussion of this phenomenon is an interview from Keyboard magazine in which the members of the production duo the Chemical Brothers proclaim their fascination with an old analogue synthesizer. Two diverse theoretical approaches will inform and nuance my narrative here. Wiebe E. Bijker’s sociotechnical approach to the development of technology will highlight stages and processes in the transition from analogue to digital technology. In addition, Sarah Thornton’s concept of subcultural capital will direct attention to the old instrument as a prestige item that serves to maintain power structures within the electronic dance music culture.

Author Biography

Hans T. Zeiner-Henriksen, University of Oslo

Department of Musicology

Associate professor