Edward Spencer

Research Interests

  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM) since 2010
  • Music and memes on the social web
  • Ways of moving to music
  • The crossmodal perception of timbre
  • The spatiality of sound
  • Music and the moving image
  • The beautiful, the sublime and the grotesque
  • The music and thought of Edgard Varèse

– Recent Work – 

Forthcoming Publication:

Re-orientating Spectromorphology and Space-form through a Hybrid Acoustemology. Organised Sound 22(3). [Submitted 15.1.17; accepted 10.4.17; issue due December 2017].

John Lowell Osgood Memorial Prize Essay:

Light and Shade: Re-examining the aesthetics of the sublime and the beautiful with reference to the third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. [Submitted 19.9.16; prize awarded 29.3.17].

Conference Papers:

(2017). When Play Becomes Political: An Acoustemology of Major League Gaming Montage Parodies (MLGMPs). Ludo2017: Sixth Annual Conference on Video Game Music and Sound. Bath: Bath Spa University.

(2016b). Towards an Acousmatic Acoustemology: Spectromorphology and Space-form meet Ecosemiotics in the case of Hybrid’s Finished Symphony. MuSA2016: Seventh International Symposium on Music and Sonic Art. Karlsruhe: IMWI / Hochschule für Musik.

(2016a). ‘Come Meditate on Bass Weight’: UK dubstep, the rhetoric of affect and the rise of the grotesque. Musedelica: First Symposium on Psychedelic Music and Related Areas. Brighton: University of Sussex.

Area of proposed thesis

My research focuses on Electronic Dance Music (EDM) since 2010 and the ‘bass music’ phenomenon through a case study of dubstep, trap and future bass. There are four components of the project, the first of which looks at the role of the drop in bass music production and its impact in festival settings. This section draws upon fieldwork at the 2017 Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago, which features a ‘Bass Kitchen’ stage. The second part looks at dubstep and trap on the social web, particularly in terms of YouTube videos that feature memes and political content. The third section analyses how people move to bass music with reference to different modes of consciousness and ways of knowing. I discuss the Harlem Shake craze of 2013, the more recent dab-on-‘em Vine challenge and the dancing of Marquese ‘Nonstop’ Scott. The final part is dedicated to future bass and examines the crossmodal perception of different sound qualities through an empirical study.


Clarendon Scholarship

Subjects Taught

2017–2018 Teaching TBC