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Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (The MIT Press)

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MIT Press Direct is a distinctive collection of influential MIT Press books curated for scholars and libraries worldwide.At some point, however, you begin to feel uncomfortable. You find yourself losing control of the application. As time goes on, the feeling becomes more intense, and you eventually enter a state known as the Fear Cycle:

Decomposed is a superbly lucid study that places recording in the broad human history of industrialization, globalization, resource extraction, labor exploitation, and ecological damage, debunking ideas of music's inherent goodness or intangibility. An immensely rigorous and compelling study, an absolute must-read, this book paves the way for a new ethics of music consumption. Kyle Devine brilliantly excavates the political ecologies of sound reproduction, moving from nineteenth-century chemical labs and shellac harvests to Thai vinyl record plants and the infrastructures of streaming media. Decomposed is a highly original and wonderfully compelling book—a must-read for anyone interested in music or the materiality of media.

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Did you know that the CO2 equivalents generated by consumption of recorded music have not declined in the era of music streaming—supposedly an era of music dematerialized, rendered virtual—but instead have as much as doubled? Kyle Devine knows, and in Decomposed he teaches us about such things with intelligence, humaneness, and passion. His book is at once a history of materialities of recording, from lac beetle resins in the 1920s to today's energy-sump server farms, and a manifesto for ecological scrutiny of our musical behaviors. According to Dr. Fernand Lambein, a Belgian scientist who coördinates the Cassava Cyanide Diseases and Neurolathyrism Network, occasional consumption of foodstuffs containing ODAP “as one component of an otherwise balanced diet, bears not any risk of toxicity.” Lambein and other experts warn, however, that individuals suffering from malnutrition, stress, and acute hunger are especially sensitive to ODAP, and are thus highly susceptible to the incapacitating effects of lathyrism after ingesting the neurotoxin.

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