The Sound-Sweep

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"The Sound-Sweep" is a short story by J.G. Ballard in which the title character, a mute boy vacuuming up stray sounds in a world without music, befriends an opera singer living in an abandoned recording studio. As all previous music has been rendered obsolete thanks to advances in "ultrasonic music", the opera singer is destitute. It was first published in Science Fantasy, Volume 13, Number 39, February 1960 and was reprinted in the collection The Four-Dimensional Nightmare.[1]

Trevor Horn has said that his lyrics of "Video Killed the Radio Star" by The Buggles were inspired by this story of a world without music.[2]


  1. ^ "JG Ballard Book Cover Scans: 1960–61". The Terminal Collection. Retrieved 6 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Hodgkinson, Will (5 November 2004). "Horn of plenty". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 September 2008.