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Figure and ground, image and sound: The digital medium in Brian Eno’s Thursday Afternoon

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This article analyses the discrepancy between the medium-specificity of Brian Eno’s 1985 compact disc (CD) Thursday Afternoon and the intermediality of its precursor, Eno’s 1984 video artwork of the same name. I historicize these seemingly contrasting aesthetic strategies vis-à-vis medium alongside an epistemological shift in our conception of the musical recording during the rise of the CD in the early-to-mid-1980s. I argue the counter-intuitive point that the home video version of Thursday Afternoon represents the fullest realization of Eno’s medium-specific inquiry into the emergent CD technology.
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Keywords: Brian Eno; Thursday Afternoon; ambient music; compact disc; digital; home video; medium-specificity; video art

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: St. Cloud State University

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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  • The Soundtrack is a multi-disciplinary journal which brings together research in the area of music and sound in relation to film and other moving image media. A complex cultural, technological, industrial and artistic phenomenon, sound-with-moving image is a rich area for analysis, investigation and speculation. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well as providing a forum for practitioners. The Soundtrack's aim is to nurture this new and expanding area of academic investigation in dialogue with soundtrack producers of all kinds.
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