“Check the innovators!” Grass-roots historiography, musical appreciation, and community in the crate digging scene. Gabor Valyi (Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary)
The discussions regarding the aesthetic merits of particular ‘texts’ and the significance of creative figures in relation to a collectively shaped canon has always been at the heart of fan culture as much as the ‘high aesthetic’. Within popular music studies, this omnipresent, thoroughly historicized “music talk” is most often discussed as means through which distinctive connoisseurs display their knowledge of group specific musical histories in order to claim membership and status. However, my paper takes a different route and explores the participative aspects of the aesthetic practices through which music enthusiasts engage with a shared musical history.
Drawing on ethnographic research in a trans-local, hip hop related record collecting scene, my paper describes the aesthetic practices – record collecting, the production of sample based hip hop beats, music journalism – of DJs, bloggers, hip hop producers, and other enthusiasts. Bringing together ideas from cultural sociology, literary criticism, and cultural history, I propose community of appreciation as a notion that focuses on the participative character of music appreciation and enables us to think through the ways in which this collective engagement with musical history work towards evoking a sense of community and belonging among participants.