Edward Spencer

Research Interests

  • Electronic Dance Music (EDM) since 2010
  • Music and the Internet
  • Ways of moving to music
  • The crossmodal perception of timbre 
  • Aesthetics & Critical Theory

– Research Activities – 


(forth.). Touching Sounds: Re-examining Audiotactile Affect with reference to ‘ASMRtistry’ and Musical Production Practices. In Dack, J., Spinks, T., & Stanovic, A. (Eds.), Music and Sound Art: Composition, Performance, Philosophy. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

(2017). Re-orientating Spectromorphology and Space-form through a Hybrid Acoustemology. Organised Sound, 22(3), 324-335. doi:10.1017/S1355771817000486

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

(forth.). Beyond Intoxication: On Sobering Experiences of Electronic Dance Music. AMS/SMT San Antonio 2018: Music & Philosophy Study Group Session. San Antonio, TX: Grand Hyatt Hotel.

(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.

Conference Organisation

(2018). Music and the Internet: A Joint Study Day of the RMA and BFE. Oxford: Faculty of Music.                             [co-organiser with Pablo Infante-Amate. Website: https://musicinternetoxford.wordpress.com/]

Area of proposed thesis

My research focuses on Electronic Dance Music (EDM) since 2010, specifically the ‘bass music’ phenomenon that incorporates the genres of dubstep and trap. There are three parts of the project, the first of which looks at the role of the drop in bass music and its impact in festival settings. This section draws upon digital ethnography and IRL (‘In Real Life’) fieldwork at the Spring Awakening Music Festival in Chicago, which features a ‘Bass Kitchen’ stage, and at the Lost Lands Music Festival in Thornville, Ohio. The second part of the thesis examines dubstep and trap on the social web, particularly in terms of YouTube videos that feature memes and political content. The third section discusses three viral dance fads (the Harlem Shake craze of 2013, the more recent dab-on-‘em Vine challenge, and the animation dancing of Marquese ‘Nonstop’ Scott) with reference to the crossmodal perception of bass music and Internet-mediated ‘choreographed consciousness’.

More broadly, the thesis is haunted by the thought of Adorno, Bakhtin, and Kracauer (in that order) and develops a critique of orthodox priorities that have shaped EDM scholarship since the 1990s. It argues that bass music (something deep) regularly assumes the demeanour of base music (something low) and enables us to listen to the contradictions of the digital age.


Clarendon Scholarship

Subjects Taught

Undergraduate Tutorial Teaching

Global Hip-Hop (Prelims): St Peter’s, Worcester

History of Electronic Music (FHS): Merton, Univ, Worcester

Undergraduate Seminar Teaching

Critical Listening (Prelims)

Other Tutorial Teaching

Music and the Moving Image: St Catherine’s

Oxford International Programme

Popular Music, Youth Culture, Media & Communication