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date: 27 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. As a musical genre, electronica frequently demonstrates an overt focus on technology and technological instrumentality, which is evident not only in its sonic aesthetics but also in the parallel discourse of audio production. This essay examines how electronica’s ongoing engagement with technology has been further developed and extended in associated music videos. These videos can be characterized by a loosely articulated aesthetic of instrumentality, with recurrent features that include visual abstraction, architectural and machinic forms, scanning and tracking imagery, and the projection of technological interfaces into environmental settings. Discussing a range of videos, including Alex Rutterford’s “Gantz Graf” and Michel Gondry’s “Star Guitar,” this essay shows how such videos explore and, in some cases, challenge the instrumental connotations of digital media technologies.

Keywords: electronic music, music video, instrumentality, interface, technology, digital media

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