eliot bates: Anatolian music, oud, audio engineering, digital music cultures


academic work

I'm an ethnomusicologist specializing in digital audio recording cultures and the production of contemporary music in Istanbul, Turkey. My newest book, Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul's Recording Studio Culture, was just published by Oxford University Press. I am also the author of Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture, and with Samantha Bennett, am editing a new collection coming out on Bloomsbury this December entitled Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound. I teach ethnomusicology, popular music studies and sound studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center, where I'm part of the core ethnomusicology faculty; before that I taught at the University of Birmingham (UK), was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at Cornell University's Society for the Humanities, and taught at the University of Maryland, College Park.

I've done ethnographic research on recording studios in Turkey, musical instruments, audio technologies, studio architecture, glitch aesthetics in darkwave music, and on distributed recording production. Along with Graham St. John, I co-founded the dancecult.net collaborative bibliography project and the open source, peer-reviewed journal entitled Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. You can find some of my publications here...

performances and musical activity

I'm a performer and recording artist of the 11-stringed oud (al-ud, 'ûd), and also do a lot of recording studio-based audio engineering and arrangement work.

I relish bringing the oud into unfamiliar circumstances ---
      ... on stage with the unpredictable (but always delightful) Hammond organ of Baby Dee as The Big Bumble Bees
      and to the gnostic hallucinatory worlds of David Tibet and the family of Current 93
      ... as an interface to space-age electroacoustic soundscapes in my solo work as Kaderci
      and in the flamenco-hindustani-dub reggae fusion universe of Basquerole (with Dan Fries).

I also continue to perform Anatolian folk music, rebetika, and other musics from the Middle East.

upcoming events

March 29, 2018: Australian National University: "Thinking through sazes and modular synthesizers: explorations in instrumental agency"
... and always the unpredictable, last-minute show with the Big Bumble Bees or Robbie Lee.

recent events

Jan 23, 2018: University of Michigan: "Thinking through sazes and modular synthesizers: explorations in instrumental agency"
Dec 2, 2017: show with Robbie Lee at the Sunview Lunchnet, Brooklyn
Nov 3, 2017: University of California, Berkeley: "Thinking through sazes and modular synthesizers: explorations in instrumental agency"
Oct 19, 2017: show with Robbie Lee at the Outpost supporting the CD launch for David Grubbs' Creep Mission
Aug 31, 2017: 4S conference, Boston: "Playing with Low Voltages: The Interface and Instrumentality of Modular Synthesizers"
Jun 3, 2017: Galpin Society/ AMIS Conference, Edinburgh UK: "Actor Network Theory and Organology."
Apr 19, 2017: Digital Folk Conference, Sheffield UK: "Istanbul and the Invention of a Digital Tradition."
2016: German Society for Musicology: "The Crying Saz."
2015: Utrecht University Early Music Festival: "The Social Life of the oud"
Sep 28, 2014: The Big Bumble Bees @ the Fargo Festival (Coventry)
Sep 19, 2014: Yale University: "Village - Environment - Studio: Doğa İçin Çal and the Cartographies of Modern Turkey"
Sep 13, 2014: IASPM UK/Ireland: "Craft Guilds and Digital Audio Production"
July 18, 2014: The Big Bumble Bees @ the Togethernest Festival (Coventry)
July 16, 2014: The Big Bumble Bees @ Dingwalls (Camden)
July 1, 2014: Crossroads Conference (Tampere, FI): "Theorizing Film Music: Landscapes, Leitmotifs and Melancholy in Turkish Dönem Films."

recent multimedia work

Live video of a performance with Robbie Lee at The Outpost (Brooklyn), October 2017
Current 93 at Katowice's OFF Festival - complete audio recording, and concert footage on youtube
With the Cornell Avant Garde Ensemble at the State of the Art Festival (audio recording)
Solo performance at the George Mason University Noise-a-Thon, organized by Thomas Stanley
Niemandswasser and Invocation live @ the HMV Forum (with Current 93)

Updated March 21, 2018

©2002-2018  eliot bates