Turn that »music« off! Marcel Cobussen wants us all to re-orient ourselves within the houses, communities, cities, countries and civilizations in which we exist and to do so by concentrating on the sound of that vacuum cleaner your neighbor is pushing around. He gently suggests, in this madcap-but-persuasive, homespun-but-rigorous book, that we can do so by listening more intently to the world around us – to the residual noises of industry, nature and the most banal of human activities.
To paraphrase John Cage: when we ignore everyday sounds they irritate, but when we listen they fascinate. »Can Cage’s legacy be held, continued and extended?« asks the Dutch sound philosopher and Professor of Auditory Culture at Leiden University in Engaging with Everyday Sounds – a manifesto for a new way of interpreting and interacting with the notion of Sonic Materialism. Sure it can. But in the ways suggested here? I’m not quite ready to hitch my ears unequivocally to Cobussen’s way of hearing the world…yet.