Sonic Multiplicities (Book)

Hong Kong Pop and the Global Circulation of Sound and Image

Through the lens of popular music in and from Hong Kong, Sonic Multiplicities examines the material, ideological and geopolitical implications of music production and consumption. Yiu Fai Chow and Jeroen de Kloet draw on rich empirical research and industry experience to trace the worldwide flow of popular culture and the people who produce and consume it. In doing so, the authors make a significant contribution to our understanding of the political and social roles such circulation plays in today’s world – and in a city under cultural threat in a country whose prominence is on the rise. Just as important, they clear a new path for the study of popular music.

Category: Cultural Studies, Music

Edition

Sonic Multiplicities is a fascinating book, with essays rich in empirical detail and – captivatingly combining the personal and the theoretical – evocative of the complexities of experience, desire and politics in our perplexingly mobile and entangled world. The book focuses on Hong Kong pop music as part of a translocal, if not global network of flows, providing a starting point for the authors to unsettle received notions of Chineseness, place and identity, of particular importance in a time when we need to come to terms with and resist, the increasingly stifling discourse of 'the rise of China'.

Yiu Fai Chow is assistant professor in the Humanities Program at Hong Kong Baptist University.

Jeroen de Kloet is assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

INTRODUCTION: SONIC MULTIPLICITIES 

Sonic disappearances
What is going on? 
Overview 

Chapter 1: ME AND THE DRAGON: A LYRICAL ENGAGEMENT WITH THE POLITICS OF CHINESENESS

Nationalistic songs
Another approach
Re-nationalization I: Descendants of the dragon
Re-nationalization II: Home and nation
Re-nationalization III: Performing acts (i) – writing against the grain
Re-nationalization IV: Performing acts (ii) – writing with a twist
Shoot the dragon

Chapter 2: THE PRODUCTION OF LOCALITY IN GLOBAL POP – A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF POP FANS IN THE NETHERLANDS AND HONG KONG 

Globalization: A sense of locality
Fandom: On fans of local stars
Methodology
Production of locality: The linguistic and the heroic
Production of locality: The social, the charitable and the personal
Community, Charity, Character 

Chapter 3: BLOWING IN THE CHINA WIND: ENGAGEMENTS WITH CHINESENESS IN HONG KONG’S ZHONGGUOFENG MUSIC VIDEOS

Destabilizing Chineseness
Feminizing Chineseness
Whither China Wind?

Chapter 4: SEX, MORALITY AND CANTOPOP

Picture Gate
The Edison Chen scandal
The Confucian cum Victorian ethics and the spirit of global capitalism
Spectacle and image
Eye see you as I see you
Coda

Chapter 5: BUILDING MEMORIES – A STUDY OF POP VENUES IN HONG KONG

Fluid sounds
Monumental buildings
Building memories
The Coliseum
Belonging and temporality

Chapter 6: OLYMPIC CELEBRATIONS AND PERFORMATIVE CONTESTATIONS

The constative and the performative
Welcome to Olympic Beijing
Performing Olympic China from Hong Kong
Shanghai also welcomes you!
Criticality and popular culture

Chapter 7: MUSIC, DESIRE AND THE TRANSNATIONAL POLITICS OF CHINESENESS: FOLLOWING DIANA

Following Diana
Diasporic hope: Rewriting migration narrative
Musical hope: Rewriting modernity narrative
Language, Music, Body
Methodological endnote
The flow, The bodily, The political, The personal

'An intriguing study of pop culture' 

Pop Matters, Subashini Navaratnam

'A rich and fascinating analysis of Hong Kong popular music ... a much-welcome addition to the study of Hong Kong culture. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Hong Kong popular music in particular and popular culture in general.'

Chun-Yi Lee, China Information

'Sonic Multiplicities is an exciting read for anyone who is interested in Hong Kong pop, Chinese popular music, or Chinese popular culture in general.' 

Qian Wang, International Journal of Communication

'The intellectual strength of Sonic Multiplicities lies in its multifaceted approach, which examines both the production and the products of popular music. Each chapter discusses the ‘sonic multiplicities’ of Hong Kong Pop from different perspectives, ranging fromthe stories of individuals to the sounds of big hits, and to the voice of Hong Kong as a city. In doing so, the authors successfully contextualize these multiplicities in Hong Kong Pop’s global circulation. These attempts have valuable implications for both East Asian studies and popular culture research. The broad coverage of this book also makes it a particularly useful reference for anyone interested in contemporary Hong Kong music' 

Music & Letters, Shan Huang

'Refreshingly penetrating insights and critical dissections' 

Chinese Journal of Communication, Liew Kai Khiun

'Their book is full of fascinating detail, but its importance lies most of all in its resistance to the ascendancy of discourse centred around the allegedly irrevocable rise of China' 

European Journal of Communication
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