In the fifteen years since Derrida first used this term, hauntology, and the related term, hauntological, have been adopted by the British music critic Simon Reynolds to describe a recurring influence in electronic music created primarily by artists in the United Kingdom who use and manipulate samples culled from the past (mostly old wax-cylinder recordings, classical records, library music, or postwar popular music) to invoke either a euphoric or unsettling view of an imagined future. The music has an anachronistic quality hinting at an unrecognizable familiarity that is often dreamlike, blurry, and melancholic—what Reynolds describes as “an uneasy mixture of the ancient and the modern.
Why do I blog this? I ran across several occurrences of this term recently, both in academic paper and music columns. There seems to be something intriguing here that can perhaps be connected to current discussion and work about the circulation of cultural elements (Basile's work), atemporality and the relationship between the past and the future.