V&A Dundee
Online Event

The Absent Voice in Disco

Wednesday 28 July 2021
  • Date

    Wednesday 28 Jul 2021

  • Time

  • Location

    Online

  • Free

From the bass-baritone of Barry White to the tenor of Marvin Gaye

Join Alex Coles as he explores the use of the voice as a rhythmic instrument in the disco funk music of legendary artists Barry White and Marvin Gaye.

Building on Richard Dyer’s seminal essay ‘In Defence of Disco’ (1979), Alex will explore Dyer’s thinking that disco is differentiated from other genres of music by a more emphasised physical delivery of the singers’ lyrics. With the voice at the very centre of White and Gaye’s sounds, Alex will break down one song by each artist, as well as a planned but unrealised collaboration between the two musicians, and explore their contribution to disco and the New York and Los Angeles club scene of the mid-1970’s and beyond.

Alex Coles is a researcher and author of Crooner (Reaktion Books, 2022) and The Transdisciplinary Studio (Sternberg Press, 2012). He is a Professor in the School of Arts & Media, at the University of Huddersfield.

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