The publication of Current of Music affords a reassessment of Theodor W. Adorno's years at the Princeton Radio Research Project. Although his encounter with the culture industry was made vivid and palpable during these years, this article reads Current of Music as a prolongation of his earlier concerns with a critique of Husserlian phenomenology and an analysis of Wagnerian phantasmagoria. I argue that Adorno's method for radio research is phenomenological, modified to accommodate dialectics. This modified phenomenology, renamed “physiognomy,” aims to expose phantasmagoria, the occultation of the means of production, masked in Husserlian phenomenology by its static categories and reductions. Given the prominent role of physiognomy as a form of social critique in Adorno's later writings, Current of Music offers a unique opportunity to see the concept at work in its earliest formation.

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