Published: April 5, 2021

Wednesday, April 7 at 4:30pm MDT
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Part of the Sound and Noise in Asia Speaker Series.

In this talk, I trace the contemporary circulation of “golden era” 1960s and 1970s Cambodian popular music recordings as a global media archeology. I seek to contextualize and historicize revivals of pre-Khmer Rouge “Cambodian Rock” through the mediated movements of cassette tapes among North American independent labels and the activities of online archivists and heritage centers in present-day Cambodia, as well as in the documentary film Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, the play Cambodian Rock Band, and the Los Angeles based group Dengue Fever. Drawing from ethnographic interviews with contemporary preservationists and reissue labels in Cambodia, California, Oregon, and Massachusetts, I consider the role of music in memories of genocide and war, the importance of physical materials in the global recognition of Southeast Asian history, and the ethical politics of media access in the transition to a digital archive.

David Novak is Associate Professor at the University of California Santa Barbara and Director of the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music. He is the author of Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke 2013, and co-editor of Keywords in Sound (Duke 2015).