Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Transistor Era
East Asian Languages and Cultures
“Circuit Listening” relates the sonic history of the long global 1960s from the perspective of a place that is usually dismissed as marginal to the musical revolutions of those years. In other words, the project writes China back into the narrative of how we hear the explosion of new popular musics for which these years are famous; and by the same token, reinsert the “global” into our sometimes hermetic sense of Chinese cultural history in those years. I foreground the crucial role of the transistor circuit, which in miniaturizing and rendering portable the production and the playback of music, facilitated new sounds, musical aesthetics, and new kinds of traffic between rural areas and rapidly industrializing cities across the fractured topography of the Chinese 1960s.