Abstract

This essay argues for a close attention to the use of sound in the audiovisual aesthetics of Isaac Julien's seminal New Queer Cinema film Looking for Langston (1989). The analysis relies on Amber Musser's work on “sensation” as an analytic for corporeal knowledge production and performs a series of close readings that highlight the influential role of musical remixing practices in the film's synchronization of sound and image. Remixing practices such as sampling provide a music‐based conceptual vocabulary, which helps to illuminate how the montage of Looking for Langston is structured by its sonic elements. The essay shows how Looking for Langston promotes an open‐ended orientation toward the archive that eschews artifact discovery and epistemologies of certainty. Instead, embracing the possibilities of archival work that is guided by our bodily sensations and desires, the film offers an alternative disposition toward queer of color archives that celebrates the possibilities of speculative fantasy, opacity, and disorientation. Furthermore, the essay shows, not only is the film's use of sound interesting in its divergence from the conventions of sound synchronization within many documentary and narrative cinematic forms, but the film is also particularly notable for how it actively draws on practices from contemporary musical culture (specifically late 1980s house music) in order to produce a thoroughly sound‐based cinematic montage.

The climactic scenes that conclude Isaac Julien's 1989 film, Looking for Langston,1 depict in alternating shots what appears to be a collision course between two worlds: an underground queer rave, on the one hand, and a violent raid by the police and a mob of angry white men (credited in the film as a single entity, “thugs and police”), on the other.2 The police and/as thugs are trying to break into the club, which has reached a fever pitch of revelry (fig. 1). Men dance and drink ecstatically as the soundtrack plays Royal House's 1988 club classic, “Can You Party (Club Mix).”3 Sampling its core melody from Marshall Jefferson's popular house track, “Move Your Body,” the song seemingly situates us in the present (the late 1980s), although many of the clubbers are wearing the anachronistic attire of a speakeasy. The song asks us, repeatedly, “Can you feel it?” via another sample from the Jacksons.4

Alarms blare and champagne glasses smash (fig. 2) as the “thugs and police” beat their clubs against the handrails in visually rhythmic time to the beat of the house music. Used in this way, this rhythmic montage is reminiscent of a DJ's classic transitioning techniques of beat matching and tempo matching. These techniques enable a DJ to smoothly transition between songs, like playing two tracks at the same tempo or matching percussive elements (the sound of a single snare or bass drum) so that they occur simultaneously and the dancing can continue without interruption. By syncing the visually repetitive movement of the police clubs on the railing to the music, the film applies the audio techniques of club musical culture to its montage structure.

Looking for Langston draws on a (then) contemporary queer social and musical culture not only to structure how sound and image can be synchronized in ways that produce surprising and enjoyable aesthetic effects—as a music video might5—but also to make the claim that systemic violence is neither random (as in a mob) nor ordered (through a chain of command) but is nevertheless orchestrated and choreographed.6 There is an arrangement and structure, but it is not strictly orderly. It has social and aesthetic elements that work in tandem. The white supremacist and carceral forces represented by the thugs and police also have organic qualities—whereby their expressions of violence contain desire and even pleasure—and furthermore, perversely, the visual and sonic aesthetics of this violence facilitates the coherence and cooperation between its multiple forces. But the soundtrack subjects all the images to the rhythm of the music and the sounds of the party, layering an additional, alternative meaning onto the otherwise violent gesture of the beating of police clubs. Instead of a purely menacing gesture, the beating of the clubs appears also as a dancing and musical performance gesture. The parallel editing of the clamoring thugs and police makes them blur with the dancing collective. Their bodies pick up the queer traces of masculine costuming found in gay leather culture. This effect of the montage is achieved through the sounds of the rave, sounds that drown out whatever other soundtrack might be driving the thugs and police. When they arrive at the club, however, it is empty. They search the space but find only the traces of a queer lifeworld that has moved elsewhere.

If systemic violence is choreographed, then that also suggests that representations of violence and even some of its social formations can be altered, rescored, and rechoreographed. Looking for Langston employs a montage and sound design that works on the queer of color archive, transforming it in various ways that, collectively, can be understood as remixing practices. Remixing refers to the ubiquitous practice of using the technologies of mechanical reproduction to appropriate, recycle, and recombine materials (of any media) in order to make something different. Although it has its foundations in 1960s musical practices, it is by no means limited to musical forms. Indeed, according to Eduardo Navas, as a discourse, remix “has no form, but is quick to take on any shape and medium.”7 The remixing in Looking for Langston is executed in cinematic audiovisual terms, but it also has an explicitly musical reference point: 1980s house music and dance culture. The music, dance, and social aspects of house music and its development out of a black gay club scene in Chicago (before spreading to Manchester and then London) provide an important aesthetic framework for the film's remixing practices.8 I find the concept of remixing helpful here because it provides me with a set of practices and terms with musical roots that illuminate how the montage of Looking for Langston is thoroughly structured by sonic elements and their relationship to the images. The remixing practices of the film—such as dubbing, rearrangement, and sampling—offer an aesthetic strategy for the queer of color archive.9

This essay highlights the role of musical culture in Looking for Langston, particularly through the film's remixing practices and the modes of searching that are a part of it. Kobena Mercer writes that Looking for Langston has a “promiscuous intertextuality.”10 Through this queering of citation, Mercer shows how the film's “strategy of appropriation and rearticulation . . . [signifies] upon, and thus critique[s], the dominant regime of racial and sexual representation . . . without negating, denying, or disavowing the reality of the fantasies that give rise to such representations.”11 I describe the film's strategic “appropriation and rearticulation” as a remixing practice that not only complicates racial and sexual representations but also proposes an orientation toward the queer of color archive that embraces the rich possibilities of disorientation, uncertainty, and confusion. Having already considered how remixing presents the opportunity to comment on, resignify, and queer the audiovisual patterns of violence, the next section of the essay explores the role of searching and sampling within the film's critical remixing practice. In the opening scene, the film samples sound in such a way as to trouble our ability to identify archival origins and source material. The second half of the essay turns toward two other aspects of sampling: cutting and improvising. Through a close reading of the film's audiovisual interpretation of Richard Bruce Nugent's influential short story “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,”12 this final section demonstrates the creative potential of the strategic omission and the conceptual sample.

Searching and Sampling

Searching is a common practice in an archive. We look for documents, recordings, and whatever forms the archive includes. Remixing also involves searching. Whether they are working analogically (finding vinyl records to use) or digitally, remixers must seek out and collect different sounds in order to produce the remix. The process involves listening for specific sounds and relistening to recordings in order to get a feel for (and eventually extract) the sonic qualities and textures that they want to use (like a lyric or an alarm noise). This is important if a remixer is going to change those qualities or layer them with others. When I attempt to train my ear with Looking for Langston, I am listening to and sensing the qualities of the sound and the relationships they create with the images.13 Many of the major motifs related to looking and listening recur in the rave/raid scene in a more concentrated montage: a man's ear is pressed to a conch shell (fig. 3), someone stares into a mirror, and smoke permeates the space. The film's cinematography situates the audience in a dynamic point-of-view shot, twirling around face to face with one of the dancing men.14 Therefore, I ask what this corporeal knowledge of an attention to sound and its sensations might offer me that an attention to historical artifacts or visual imagery alone cannot provide.

While the title of the film, Looking for Langston, already implies a search, the opening scenes of the film present an explicitly interactive opportunity to search. After a brief prologue, the title text for the film—stylized with the characteristic corner decorations of a silent film's intertitle (fig. 4)—ripples and fades (as if underwater) before the soundtrack plays a 1967 radio recording in memory of Langston Hughes after his death that year, “a blending of memories, tributes, and his own words.” The newsreel that follows contains footage shot from inside a moving train, introducing the film via a public and archival farewell to Hughes. Manthia Diawara observes that “the film uses sound to link the spaces of the archival footage with the spaces in the fictional narrative.”15 The first selection of 1960s archival footage presents a view from a New York City elevated train while the very next sequence uses the dark, blank image of a passing building along the railway line to make a jump cut to a similar perspective from the train stopping at the 125th Street station. At that moment in the dark we are transported back in time. The footage at the station shows New York in the 1920s. Although this time change isn't explicitly indicated, we can notice the details of a different setting when we search for them: the cars on the street and the changing sounds of the trains (from the harsh, racing, scraping metal rails to steam engine gasps). The search for clues is both an audio and a visual endeavor.

We arrive at a train station located at the intersection of 125th Street and Broadway on the Seventh Avenue Line, where Morningside Heights meets Harlem. It is unclear whether the initial footage from the 1960s is also shot from a view on the Seventh Avenue Line. The jump cut both enables and questions this spatial continuity, while jazz music is the sonic vehicle for a temporal shift from the 1960s to the 1920s. These windows of time—1960s and 1920s—are productively broad because they encourage free historical associations on our part. Indeed, the film is not period specific and very freely places historically disparate artists, technologies, and musical styles in close proximity, sampling and splicing together these various elements. While vision is cut off briefly by a passing building that renders the screen completely dark, the soundtrack pastes together this visual caesura and effects a movement in time and space.16 But this movement is not straightforward. A subsequent shot reveals the source of the music that we are already listening to: a live performance of “The Weary Blues,” a 1958 jazz-poetry collaboration in which Langston Hughes recites poetry set to music composed and arranged by Charles Mingus and Leonard Feather (fig. 5). This is one of two unique moments in the film when Hughes's voice, body, and text are directly cited and synchronized. The music takes us back from the radio broadcast in 1967 to two different time periods: first to the 1920s on the train and then to the late 1950s performance. The harsh screech of the fast-moving train offers an aural complement to the images of the cars in the first part of the train sequence. Visually we are situated in the 1920s while the soundtrack (“The Weary Blues” performance) situates us sonically in 1958. The New York City trains and stations, with their continual rail traffic, convey the film's own complex temporality as it retreads and interweaves so many connections between Harlem in the 1920s through to the 1960s all the way up to contemporary (1989) New York and London. Sound is used as a kind of cinematic track transition (recalling beat and tempo matching transitions) to transport us in time.

In this transition, the gentler cry of the train slowly coming to a stop heightens the sense of uncertainty that the jump cut evokes visually. The film sonically ushers in a temporal effect followed by sampled archival images. It also thwarts our ability to determine whether the sounds are direct sounds, contemporaneous to the images, or sounds from another time that are synchronized with the images during the editing process. The specific sounds’ relationship to a historical moment cannot be unequivocally confirmed, despite its seemingly “archival” context as the soundtrack to historical footage from a train in New York. Jaimie Baron describes a kind of ambiguous experience of media, which she calls an “archive effect,” as “a sense that certain sounds and/or images within these [particular] films [came] from another time and served another function.”17Looking for Langston produces a related effect through its diverse sampling of archival materials (film, still, written texts, and audio), which are edited together and interlaced with original sound and black-and-white vignettes that cinematographer Nina Kellgren shot for the film. Hughes's and Bruce Nugent's poetry is juxtaposed with Essex Hemphill's. James Van Der Zee's photographs are provocatively considered in relation to Robert Mapplethorpe's.18 The film title and voice-overs reference Hughes (or point to his absence). The entire film is continually juxtaposing original footage with archival (sampled) images and sounds without signaling their distinction or marking their “archivalness.”19

This specific strategy of distorting or blurring the distinction between original “present” material and sampled “past” material suggests that Looking for Langston actually produces a kind of “anti-archive effect.” The film suspends the subjective difference between the present moment of viewing the film and the past moments associated with the histories that are indexed in the archive. In doing so, the film offers a challenge to traditional historiographical methods that point to archival evidence in order to secure epistemological certainty in the narration and the analysis of the past. Through its audiovisual remixing strategies, Looking for Langston replaces knowing and resolution with the open-ended deliverances of confusion and disorientation.

Cutting and Citing

The recontextualization of any sample implies removing/cutting some material. Indeed, this removal is integral to the new meanings that can adhere to the sample and its new context. A good example of this in Looking for Langston is Richard Bruce Nugent's short story “Smoke, Lilies and Jade.”20 The film cites Nugent's text extensively, producing a kind of audiovisual rendering of the written text while altering and extending many of its formal, conceptual, and thematic elements.21 The film's sampling of this text is both directly citational—quoting the text itself—and more loosely referential, playing with Nugent's source text while also using it as a point of departure to explore related concepts in a new context. Nugent's story is now regarded as one of the first openly queer texts in African American literature. It was notable in its own time both for its queer subject matter and for its formal qualities, such as sensual descriptive language (reminiscent of Wildean decadence) and its modernist elements, like the use of ellipses instead of periods.22 The open-endedness of Nugent's ellipses evokes a colloquial usage, like how one has more to say or will leave the rest unsaid. In critical written contexts, the ellipsis is also employed to indicate an omission and sometimes the rearrangement of cited material. This strategic rearrangement of the fragment reminds us of the nonlinear sequencing that characterizes sampled music and cinematic montage.

“Smoke, Lilies and Jade” is in many ways a multimedia text, and Looking for Langston arguably actualizes many of its queer aesthetic ideas, extending them into an audiovisual format while deploying strategic cuts/omissions. The text's loosely constructed narrative depicts the daydreams of a character named Alex while he idly smokes, draws, and reflects on the death of his father. On the street he cruises a Spanish-speaking man, whom he calls Beauty, and begins a love affair with him. The story concludes with Alex's celebration and acceptance of the possibilities of his own polyamory, eschewing the closure of a monogamous choice and the elimination of amorous connections that such a choice implies, while he describes his feelings for both Alex and a woman named Melva: “One can love two at the same time.”23 In conversation with bell hooks, Julien says he was trying to “visualize” the Richard Bruce Nugent story.24 I want to connect this idea of “visualizing” the story not so much to adaptation—the sampling of Nugent's text is far too fragmented and divergent for that term to apply—but, rather, to this idea of transforming (like a pitch shift or adding reverb or some other effect) and improvising off the sample/citation, especially through cutting methods. While the film highlights the attraction between Alex and Beauty, depicting Alex's homoerotic enjoyment of Beauty's body, in “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,” Alex is involved with both Beauty and Melva.25 Beauty's embodied difference in Nugent's story revolves around his light skin and his use of Spanish. There is a dream sequence in the film, during which Erick Ray Evans recites an excerpt from “Smoke, Lilies and Jade,” with the soundtrack playing synthesizer music and the sounds of birds. The text provides the script for a voice-over narration of the visual imagery, which takes the form of a search (fig. 6):

he was in a field . . . a field of blue smoke and black poppies and red calla lilies . . . he was searching . . . on his hands and knees . . . searching . . . among black poppies and red calla lilies . . . he was searching and pushed aside poppy stems . . . and saw two strong white [emphasis mine] legs . . . dancer's legs . . . the contours pleased him . . . his eyes wandered . . . on past the muscular hocks to the firm white [emphasis mine] thighs . . . the rounded buttocks . . . then the lithe narrow waist . . . 26

This citation is taken from Nugent's original text, but in Evans's recitation for the film the description of Beauty's legs and thighs as “white” is cut out. A description of Beauty's “Grecian nose” is removed as well, and these changes focus attention on the visual pleasures of perceiving Beauty's body on-screen without describing him in terms of racialized language. The camera movement directly reflects the visual movement that Nugent describes as it moves over actor Matthew Baidoo's body. Although we see the characters together, in the dream scene there is no visible physical contact. It is deferred and replaced with a voice synchronized with the image of Beauty's moving mouth (but not naturalistically represented as the character's voice). We hear a loud, almost abrupt voice-over saying, “I'll wait.” The film refuses the closure or climax of sexual and romantic union. Instead, it extends the search and sustains desire, preferring open-endedness over resolution. And whereas the filmscript omits the name Alex, Nugent's written text continues: “Alex became confused and continued his search . . . on his hands and knees . . . pushing aside poppy stems and lily stems . . . a poppy . . . a black poppy . . . a lily . . . a red lily . . . and when he looked back he could no longer see Beauty.”27 There is a musicality to the repetition of this phrase—“black poppies and red calla lilies”—that the spoken recitation in the film is able to highlight by exploiting the possibilities of performance and audio technology.28 In this way, Julien's “visualization” of the Nugent text is really more of a spoken performance and scoring, showing us how what is cut in a remix is no less important than what is inserted or moved. This understanding of removal suggests that strategic cutting is a powerful remixing technique for forging new connections with the past by modifying archival source material.29

Conclusion

Looking for Langston cultivates a shared desire for, even as it also instantiates, a black queer archive that contains the sources for contemporary queer of color aesthetic expression. In its many audiovisual engagements with such an archive, the film provokes certain effects in the audience toward a disoriented sense of “archivalness” and historicity, while also inviting us to linger in rich states of epistemological uncertainty. This “anti-archive effect” conveys the film's melancholic attachment to, and desire for, a black queer archive that is rooted in the past yet contiguous with the present. Such an archival disposition is based in the bodily knowledge and social experiences of 1980s house music and gay club culture. The film applies musical sampling practices to cinematic montage and in so doing shows how dominant discourses and existing narratives—especially within queer of color history, forms of systemic violence, and popular representation—can be rescored and resignified in powerful ways through acts of strategic remixing.

Notes

1

Looking for Langston was produced as a part of the Sankofa Film and Video Collective, which Julien cofounded and which was a major force during the 1980s and 1990s in the development of independent black film culture. For an overview and historicization of Julien's early filmography (until 2000), see Deitcher, “A Lovesome Thing.” 

2

Julien has written about the influence that the 1981 Brixton uprisings had on his filmmaking. Although Looking for Langston was developed from conversations on black gay desire and photography, he also points to the uprisings as another, antagonistic, force that shaped the film (Julien et al., Isaac Julien: Riot). He talks about how the riots were essential to the genesis of Looking for Langston. Furthermore, Paul Gilroy recalls, “It was rioting that first put me into contact with Isaac. The ‘uprisings’ of 1981 were an explosive culmination of black communities’ bitter struggles against the habitual racism of Britain's police. . . . [The uprising of 1981] was also configured by a dawning sense of the chronic, intractable character of the crisis and of the unholy forces unleashed by accelerating deindustrialization of urban zones” (Gilroy, “Back to Worse,” 36).

3

Royal House, “Can You Party?”

4

The song “Can You Feel It?” was released on the Jacksons’ 1980 album, Triumph.

5

Mercer, “Dark and Lovely Too,” 249. Mercer explicitly relates this scene to the aesthetics of a music video.

6

Although this film has often been written about in terms of its staggering beauty and its importance in the history of queer of color representation, as Julien's comments about the influence of the Brixton riots suggest, it was undoubtedly shaped by a concern with state sanctioned racist and homophobic violence, exemplified at this time by the disastrous and malign neglect of the state in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For a more comprehensive summary of this historical backdrop as it relates to Looking for Langston, see Carroll, “Can You Feel It?” 

7

Navas, Remix Theory, 4. Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky, has commented extensively on the concept of remixing. His remix of D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation is an improvisational and deliberate application of the musical concept to cinema. See DJ Spooky's Rebirth of a Nation (2008), distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment.

8

For a historical overview of the development of house music see the Channel 4 documentary series, Pump Up the Volume: The History of House Music (Hindmarch, 2001). In one of the film's many interviews with foundational house figures, Steve “Silk” Hurley describes early remix practices: “We used to just dig in the crates and find something that people forgot about and bring it back.” This practice strongly resonates with Looking for Langston's relationship to archival material.

9

Navas offers a concise and general description of sampling:

Sampling as an act is basically what takes place in any form of mechanical recording—whether one copies, by taking a photograph, or cuts, by taking a part of an object or subject, such as cutting part of a leaf to study under a microscope. The concept of sampling developed in a social context that demanded for a term that encapsulated the act of taking not from the world but an archive of representations of the world. (Navas, Remix Theory, 11–12)

10

Mercer, “Dark and Lovely Too,” 251. This intervention in the then-current discourses of identity politics is also reminiscent of Muñozian “disidentification,” an acting both against and within existing discourse. See Muñoz, Disidentifications.

13

My understanding of sensing and sensation is based on Musser's Sensational Flesh, where she writes:

Sensation resides at the border of reality and consciousness. It marks the body's existence as a perceiving subject and the world's existence as an object to be perceived, and it serves as the basis for experience. Thus I suggest that sensation is an important critical term because it undercuts the identitarian dimensions of experience. If we conceive of experience as the narrative that consciousness imposes on a collection of sensations, sensation provides a way for us to explore corporeality without reifying identity. (1)

14

The film interpellates us into the dancing while also disorienting us with the spinning motion. This visual positioning of a face-to-face encounter features a voice-over of Wayson Jones and Essex Hemphill performing a call-and-response duet of an original poem called “The Brass Rail,” which responded to a series of murders at the Brass Rail, a historic gay bar in Washington, DC.

15

Diawara, “Absent One,” 210–12. Diawara also points out that the film's lack of “profilmic” sound even renders it thinkable as a “silent” film, because most of the sound is nondiegetic and unsynchronized dialogue. It is all commentary, sound effects, and music.

16

Navas points out how cut/copy and paste is the most commonly used sampling practice for anyone with computer access (Remix Theory, 4).

18

For a deeper analysis of the role of Mapplethorpe's photographs in the film, see Mercer, “Dark and Lovely Too”; hooks, “Winter;”,Muñoz, “Photographies of Mourning.” 

19

The film has prolific referentiality, and it is not limited to direct citation and the use of archival material. It is immediately apparent from the opening funeral scene that the film is in conversation with numerous sources of black queer cultural production as well as the Euro-American avant-garde. “Alongside visual quotations from Jean Cocteau, Kenneth Anger, and Jean Genet, the voices of James Baldwin, Bruce Nugent, Toni Morrison, and Amiri Baraka combine to emphasize the dialogic and hybridized character of the text” (Mercer, “Dark and Lovely Too,” 251). For an in-depth analysis of the relation between European avant-garde and black gay aesthetics in the film, see Diawara, “Absent One.” Julien's influences and sources were not only historical but also contemporaneous with the larger political and creative context from which the film emerged during the 1980s and 1990s: i.e., the workshop culture of groups like Sankofa and Black Audio Film Collective and the explosion of black queer cultural production during this time period. Joseph Beam's now-classic anthology In the Life, the videos of the late Marlon Riggs, the cultural criticism of Kobena Mercer, the music of Blackberri, the poetry of the late Essex Hemphill, the fiction of Melvin Dixon, the photos of Rotimi Fani-Kayode, the dance and choreography of Bill T. Jones, the performance art of Po-Mo Afro Homos, to name a handful of representatives from across a black queer diaspora, all informed and helped form one another (Muñoz, Disidentifications, 57). The film also appears to reject the presentist, “postliberation” idea that homophobic violence is a relic of the past, a shared concern that was prominent in New Queer Cinema. For example, Cheryl Dunye's Watermelon Woman (1996) offers a fake archive to suggest that we can't easily derive the present from the past even though the systemic violences may not be dissimilar.

20

The story was published in 1926 in the African American literary magazine Fire!!, a collaborative publication put together by a group of African American writers and artists, including Wallace Thurman, Zora Neale Hurston, Aaron Douglas, John P. Davis, Richard Bruce Nugent, Gwendolyn Bennett, Lewis Grandison Alexander, Countee Cullen, and Langston Hughes.

21

Despite the concrete and material form that sampling has taken among music producers, in remix culture sampling is not restricted to any one form. It can also be understood “as citations of ideas or other forms of reference” (Navas, Remix Theory, 6).

22

Oscar Wilde is directly referenced multiple times in the text. For an analysis of the complicated relationship between Nugent, his circle, and decadence, see Gerstner, Queer Pollen.

25

Because of changes like this, as well as the sensuous delight that the film takes in beautifully rendered images of men's bodies, one might observe that the gay lifeworld of the film is decidedly masculine. This may be true of the visual field but not of the sonic. The film opens with Toni Morrison's eulogy for James Baldwin and samples archival audiovisual footage of Bessie Smith in St. Louis Blues (1925). Although by quantity they make up very little of the onscreen image and sound, their specific situation within the film and relationship to the archive that it constructs implies great significance. Morrison frames and initiates the melancholic tone of the film, and Smith's performance sample is a major and foundational artifact within the film's black queer archive. To miss/lose these elements in our search would produce a much more homogeneous understanding of how the film represents queer life and history.

28

Nugent's text is full of sound-oriented synesthetic imagery, such as what he calls “color music,” and other musical concepts. There is much more to be said about Nugent's text from a sound studies perspective.

29

The changes that Julien makes to Nugent's text via omission are comparable in musical terms to “rebalancing” the dynamics of the archival mix. In audio recording, mixing is a process wherein multiple tracks in a recording are combined into one balanced track. During this process, the relative volume levels are adjusted in relation to each other and effects like compression may be applied. Balancing the dynamics refers to adjusting different sonic elements in the recording according to which tracks or sonic elements within those tracks should be considered more important and which function to support or complement the primary sounds.

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