Aural Modernity and Incorporation
Chapter 2 performs close readings of transcriptions of a nationally syndicated, travel themed radio show—to which Kinship Records president Jon Cohen was a regular contributor—and of the recent popularity of the “Afro-Indie” genre, which is understood as those African-derived musics in U.S. indie rock. This chapter develops the concept of “aural imaginary” as that mechanism through which the aural other is instrumentalized in the constitution of a listening self not simply through appropriation but through incorporation into the subject. This chapter narrows in on sound’s capacity to materially structure social relations, formations, and actors. The WMCI, as represented in Kinship Records, has disassociated itself from the shunned and taboo practice of cultural appropriation and has assumed a new business model, described in this chapter as “aural incorporation.” Aural incorporation represents that means by which listeners structure racialized sounds to which they may have no birthright into their origin narratives laying claim to various musical traditions as their own. This chapter explores these various biopolitical tactics employed by the WMCI.
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