David MacFadyen: December 4, 2014

David MacFadyen

David MacFadyen

University of California, Los Angeles

Building Community Radio Stations: 

Towards a Discussion of New Trajectories Online

December 4, 2014, 3:30 PM

Room 1439, Schoenberg Music Building


This paper, grounded in a discussion of post-Soviet popular/experimental music-making – i.e., of isolated and amateur performers all the way from Poland to the Sea of Japan – suggests how any contemporary sounds we aggregate, study, and teach might also build three new tools online. These could be listed as: 1. Mobile/“provincial” community radio stations or news sources to stabilize cultural production in a post-piracy environment; 2. Communal/communicative teaching tools here at home; and 3. Digital workspaces for young doctoral scholars – with which to (hopefully!) challenge the traditional monograph during a fledgling career.

Examples will be taken from four online projects, documenting musical and cultural changes across nine northern timezones: “Far from Moscow,” “NoisyMap,” “FFM Radio,” and “FFM News.”


David MacFadyen is the author of multiple books on the history of Slavic music, specifically the popular traditions of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Having begun his research in the field of Russian poetry, MacFadyen’s attention turned slowly to the role of song. This led to a number of monographs documenting the meaning of sung texts both within and without ideology during the Soviet period. Over the same research term, a major collection of sound recordings developed, and Professor MacFadyen now oversees an archive of more than half a million compositions from Slavic, Baltic, and Central Asian lands. One impetus for that explosion of audio materials has been the rapid growth of the Russian internet – and the damage done to the music industry in the world’s biggest country. For reasons cultural, political, economic, and geographic, music has become the (illegal) fuel of Europe’s most powerful social networks. People gather in order to share, cut, and paste sounds. In studying the development of Russian music, therefore, all manner of cultural activities are dragged into the same multimedial space: literature, feature films, amateur video production, role-play gaming, and so forth. Music proves itself a vital bridge across them all; it both amplifies and enables an accelerating interface of traditions. Such rapid changes need to be documented, of course, and Professor MacFadyen operates a website dedicated to daily musical developments across nine time zones: Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus. They can all be followed at the resource “Far from Moscow”: www.farfrommoscow.com. Professor MacFadyen, as a reflection of these wide interests, teaches both in the Musicology and Comparative Literature departments at UCLA. His offerings include classes dedicated to musical, literary, cinematic, and technical issues of a rapidly changing world.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s