Theorising ‘bad’ sound: what puts the ‘mumble’ into mumblecore?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

152 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

“Mumblecore” was a cycle of independent, very low budget American movies, mainly shot on digital video, that emerged in the middle of the 2000s. The pejorative, jokey label, coined by a sound mixer, has since stuck. Yet despite mumblecore being named with reference to its sound, there has been little analysis, either academically or in the popular press, of its soundtracks, beyond dismissing the sound quality as “bad.” This article explores how mumblecore’s bad sound operates as a mark of its distinctive, perhaps excessive, indie-ness. It assesses the stylistic categorization of mumblecore, both academically and within the press, which provides context for audiovisual analysis of several mumblecore films, particularly emphasizing nonsemantic properties of mumblecore soundtracks. The aim is to unpack assumptions surrounding the role of the soundtrack and to ascertain what is meant when mumblecore is described as having “bad” sound—in other words, what puts the “mumble” into mumblecore.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-79
JournalThe Velvet Light Trap
Issue number74
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Theorising ‘bad’ sound: what puts the ‘mumble’ into mumblecore?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Profiles

    No photo of NESSA JOHNSTON

    NESSA JOHNSTON

    • Media - SL in Media, Film and Television

    Person: Academic

    Cite this