Paul C. Jasen
Low End Theory: Bass, Bodies and the Materiality of Sonic Experience (2016)
Low End Theory probes the much-mythologized field of bass and low-frequency sound. It begins in music but quickly moves far beyond, following vibratory phenomena across time, disciplines and disparate cultural spheres (including hauntings, laboratories, organ workshops, burial mounds, sound art, studios, dancefloors, infrasonic anomalies, and a global mystery called The Hum). Low End Theory asks what it is about bass that has fascinated us for so long and made it such a busy site of bio-technological experimentation, driving developments in science, technology, the arts, and religious culture.
The guiding question is not so much what we make of bass, but what it makes of us: how does it undulate and unsettle; how does it incite; how does it draw bodily thought into new equations with itself and its surroundings? Low End Theory is the first book to survey this sonorous terrain and devise a conceptual language proper to it. With its focus on sound's structuring agency and the multi-sensory aspects of sonic experience, it stands to make a transformative contribution to the study of music and sound, while pushing scholarship on affect, materiality, and the senses into fertile new territory. Through energetic and creative prose, Low End Theory works to put thought in touch with the vibratory encounter as no scholarly book has done before.