The Recording Angel


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Music, Records and Culture from Aristotle to Zappa
Second Edition

Evan Eisenberg

View Inside Format: Paper
Price: $26.00
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First published in 1987 and now considered a classic, The Recording Angel charts the ways in which the phonograph and its cousins have transformed our culture. In a new Afterword, Evan Eisenberg shows how digital technology, file trading, and other recent developments are accelerating—or reversing—these trends. Influential and provocative, The Recording Angel is required reading for anyone who cares about the effect recording has had—and will have—on our experience of music.

Evan Eisenberg’s writings on music, culture, and technology have appeared in The New Republic, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, The Nation, and other periodicals. His most recent book is The Ecology of Eden.

“A marvelous book, unlike any other.”—Garry Giddins

“A work of great originality and constantly stimulating argument.”—Geoffrey O’Brien

“Witty, perceptive, informed, and dazzlingly allusive.”—David Hamilton, Nation


Eisenberg’s scholarly and entertaining book is the joyous celebration of a mystery . . . the magic liberation of music from the strictures of time and space.”—New York Times


“An excellent work. . . . Eisenberg explores so much uncharted territory. . . . Long overdue.”—Michael Kimmelman, Philadelphia Inquirer


The most amazing thing about this book is that there isn’t another like it. Anybody who cares about records (or aesthetics) will find it provocative.”— Robert Christgau, The Village Voice


"[A] marvelous book. It's a rhapsodic and ambivalent history of recording, at times enthusiastic about the possibilities of the medium and at other times skeptical of their impact on the art. . . . It's a book well worth reading."—Alex Ross,

"How technology has changed our conception of what music is; deep."—Observer Music Monthly (from the list of the 50 greatest music books ever)

"The Recording Angel ... first appeared in 1987, has been translated into several languages and is now considered a classic by those interested in the intersection of music and technology. The author offers a thought-provoking anthropological study of how the phonograph and related media have transformed music into a tangible commodity and relegated live performance to the background of Western culture."—Communication Booknotes Quarterly
ISBN: 9780300099041
Publication Date: June 10, 2005
256 pages, 5-1/2 x 8-1/4