NPR’s “The Medium is the Message” and Marshall McLuhan

In All Things Consider’s piece on Canadian theorist Marshall McLuhan’s album “The Medium is the Message,” the reporter is able to set the scene in an unconventional way.  Although the piece begins with the traditional reporter-no-ambient introduction it doesn’t take Oliver Wang long to introduce selections from the album itself.  Through discretion, he is able to prepare the listener for the conceptual mash pup of sounds he introduces, while leaving enough out of his description for the sounds to still be surprising.  Wang then proceeds to weave the recording in and out of his own description of the piece, even stoping to let McLuhan’s own voice gain prominence 2/3 through the report.  Even though he wasn’t there during the recording, Wang was able to recreate through his report the same sort of collage effect that he describes as characteristic of the original recording.  He makes his own report a scene within a scene of the actual recording.  Listen below, DJ Shadow’s got nothing on this.


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