, an ethnomusicologist by training, has contributed new approaches to the study of music’s instruments, materialities, technologies, infrastructures, and production workflows. From 2004 to 2016, Bates researched these within Istanbul’s recording studios, luthieries, and music industry; since 2013, their work has broadened geographically to consider European, North American, and Australian audio technology gear cultures.
Committed to social science and ethnographic methods, Bates incorporates an experimental practice-led research design, whether that entails their ongoing studio-based audio engineering work, collaborative recordings featuring the 11-stringed oud, or Makamqore
solo Eurorack performances for the New York Modular Society
. Bates has served as either performer, composer, or audio engineer to more than 80 albums produced in the U.S., UK, and Turkey, as well as several TV series and feature films.
In addition to a robust body of journal articles and book chapters, Bates has published three books. In 2018, with Samantha Bennett, Bates co-edited Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound
(Bloomsbury Academic), a collection of essays on the intersections of music and technology from leading thinkers in music, audio engineering, anthropology, and media. Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul’s Recording Studio Culture
(Oxford University Press, 2016) offers an ethnography of contemporary studio music production in an effort to investigate the emerging milieu of Anatolian ethnic music, while Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture
(Oxford University Press, 2011) draws on Bates’ extensive fieldwork to situate Turkey’s diverse musical sounds within their respective social contexts and political modernity. pronouns: they/them
Education2008 Ph.D. in Music (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Berkeley. Committee: Ben Brinner (supervisor/chair), Jocelyne Guilbault, Charles Hirschkind, Paul Théberge (external).
1997 M.A. in Music (Ethnomusicology and Interactive Computer Media), Wesleyan University.
1994 B.M. in Music Composition, University of California, Santa Barbara.
2018 Critical Approaches to the Production of Music and Sound
, co-edited with Samantha Bennett. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. Finalist for Association of American Publishers PROSE award (2019).
2016 Digital Tradition: Arrangement and Labor in Istanbul’s Recording Studio Culture
. Oxford University Press. 122,000 words. Finalist for ASRC Excellence Award.
2011 Music in Turkey: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture.
Global Music Series. Oxford University Press. Mandarin translation published by Oxford University Press in 2016. Persian translation published by the Mahoor Institute in 2018. Journal articles, peer-reviewed
2020 “Resource ecologies, political economies, and the ethics of audio technologies in the anthropocene.” Popular Music 39(1).
2019 “Vinyl as event: Record Store Day and the value-vibrant matter nexus.” Journal of Cultural Economy
. Journal of Cultural Economy
2019 “Technological Encounters in the Interculturality of Istanbul’s Recording Studios” El Oído Pensante.
2019 “Actor Network Theory and Organology.” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society
2013 “Popular Music Studies and the Problems of Sound, Society and Method.” IASPM@Journal
2012 “The Social Life of Musical Instruments.” Ethnomusicology
2012 “What Studios Do.” Journal on the Art of Record Production
7(1). 12,008 words.
2010 “Mixing for Parlak and Bowing for a Büyük Ses: The Aesthetics of Arranged Traditional Music in Turkey.” Ethnomusicology
2009 “Ron’s Right Arm: Tactility, Visualization, and the Synesthesia of Audio Engineering.” Journal on the Art of Record Production
4(i). Chapters in edited books
(2022) “Feeling Analog: Using Modular Synthesizers, Designing Synthesis Communities.” In The Cultural Study of Musical Instruments
, ed. Stephen Cottrell.
2021 “The Interface and Instrumentality of Eurorack Modular Synthesis.” In Rethinking Music through Science and Technology Studies
, ed. Christophe Levaux and Antoine Hennion. Routledge.
2020 “Agency in Contemporary Recording Production.” In Oxford Handbook of the Creative Process in Music
, ed. Nicolas Donin. Oxford.
2020 “Music in Turkey: Contemporary Recording of Traditional Music.” In Global Music Cultures
, ed. Bonnie Wade and Patricia Campbell. Oxford.
2020 “Recording Studios Since 1970.” In The Bloomsbury Handbook of Music Production
, ed. Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Andrew Bourbon. Bloomsbury.
2014 “Music, Mobility and Distributed Recording Production in Turkish Protest Music,” in Oxford Handbook to Mobile Music
, ed. J. Stanyek and S. Gopinath. New York: Oxford, p 339–60.
2004 “Glitches, Bugs, and Hisses: The Degeneration of Musical Recordings and the Contemporary Musical Work,” in Bad Music: The Music We Love to Hate
, ed. C. Washburne & M. Derno. New York: Routledge, p 212–25. Reviews
2019 Experiencing Armenian Music in Turkey: An Ethnography of Musicultural Memory, by B. Yıldız. Asian Music
2016 The Musicology of Record Production, by S. Zagorski-Thomas. twentieth-century music
2015 Alaturka: Style in Turkish Music, by J. M. O’Connell. Music and Letters
2013 Divine Inspirations: Music and Islam in Indonesia, ed. by A. Rasmussen and D. Harnish. Indonesia
2012 Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music by M. Stokes. the world of music
2011 Recorded Music: Performance, Culture and Technology ed. by A. Bayley. Notes
2010 The World Map of Music: The Edison Phonograph and the Musical Cartography of the Earth. Berlin Phonogram Archive. Ethnomusicology
2005 You Better Work! by Kai Fikentscher. Ethnomusicology
49(2). Reference works
2010 Oxford Bibliographies Online: “West Asia”
ProjectsCurrent research projects:
- modular synthesis
- critical organology
- audio technologies
- ethnographic research methodologies
Upcoming Talks and ConferencesAudio Engineering Society, 28. October 2020, “When Manley Pride Threatens Manly Pride: Examining Gear Online.”
Society for Ethnomusicology, 31. October 2020, “Resource ecologies, political economies, and the ethics of audio technologies in the anthropocene”
MembershipsSociety for Ethnomusicology
Society for Asian Music
Society for the Social Studies of Science
Audio Engineering Society (full member)