Monday, April 30, 2012

A HEIDEGGERIAN APPROACH TO THE IPOD (NOTES) -- sharp talk... fighting talk, even... from Alex Niven over at The Fantastic Hope


Later this week I’ll be giving a talk in Berlin as part of the Apocalypse Now (And Then) festival. The week after, I’ll be in Tartu, Estonia, to give a talk as part of the Prima Vista literary festival


Apocalypse Now (And Then): The End of the World in Pop Culture (Thursday 3 May Saturday 5 May 2012)

My talk - “The Endless End, or, Better To Burn Out Than To Fade Away” - is at 7-30pm, Thursday 3 May. 

It is followed at 9pm by a discussion with myself, Jens Balzer, Falko McKenna and Tobias Rapp.

Apocalypse Now (And Then) is curated by Christoph Gurk and Tobias Rapp. Other festival participants include Greg Tate, Kodwo Eshun, Kode 9, The Caretaker, Diedrich Diederichsen,  Christina Striewski, Jens Balzer, Tracey Rose, Aethenor...

Location:  HAU 1 theatre, Stresemann Strasse 29. Hebbel am Ufer,  10963 Berlin

Telephone +49-(0)30-25900427 and website 

More information 


Prima Vista literary festival (April-May)

I’ll be giving a talk about the concept of space in pop (and unpop) music

Date: Monday May 7th

Time: 4pm

Location: Conference Hall of the Tartu University Library, 1 W. Struve Street, Tartu 50091 

Admission: Free

More information

(The next day I’ll be heading on to Tallinn, and the day after that, making sure to rise at 5-AM so I can see what it looks like at dawn)


interview i did in Paris earlier this year

Thursday, April 26, 2012

hyperstasis, part 78

"What all three tracks share in common is a profound, almost militant, resistance to the immediate, booming gratification that the vast majority of contemporary club music promises. Turning bass-music formulae inside out, they represent the anti-drop. But here's the other thing: these tunes are so extreme, in their own ways, that they don't exactly invite imitation. They're difficult and hermetic; they don't play well with others"--Philip Sherburne.

 what Phil's describing in this post The Genre That Shall Not Be Named (Dubstep) -- which itself Spins off the blog Postwutchyalike: we can name it later --is basically what i described (less favorably) a while ago as nu-IDM... and what others have been calling, more as a placeholder than a useful descriptive, post-dubstep

what's interesting is that the very aspects that to me seem frustrating (as a listener) and sterile (as an observer with an ear to the long view) are things that Phil seems to be valorising, or trying to

 i mean, man this sounds enticing, don't it?

"Objekt's "Cactus," released in February on Hessle Audio, was the first to catch my ear with a weird inversion of dance-music energies: its bass wobbles with the ferocity of the down-and-dirtiest dubstep, but the rest of the tune feels gutted and hollowed-out.The drum track seems to be missing information, as though a mute button had been pressed or a patch cable had come unplugged; for all its heaviness, it's a weirdly enervated tune, gliding listlessly like a sailboat stuck in the doldrums. I've never heard it in a club, and I can only imagine that it would be tough to play effectively"

what Phil also describes--a lateralism of connections transecting genres--is also the hallmark of hyper-stasis

which is criss-crossing journeys back and forth between and across the known, the extant forms rather than forward movement into the unknown

Phil pinpoints what may be the most interesting and revealing characteristic of these hybrids, which is that they are one-offs...

 "Jabbed like iron rods into the clockwork of the night, they feel less like seeds for potential subgenres and more like weed killer, burning off the overgrowth. Savor the sizzle"

hybridisation, in the analogue era, seemed to take the form of, well, new forms... there was a centripetal logic that created a collective surge, a swarming/flocking to a new sound... the scenius logic of one strong new template that then "seeded" (to use Phil's organicist metaphor) myriad minor variations, and this then created a monolithic vibe that was both absorbingly total (at any given rave or club night) and also had staying power (breakbeat hardcore/jungle/drum&bass lasted six years before starting to calcify)

hybridisation, in the digital era, seems to not lead to anything.... something about it's very fundamental constitutive processes (editing, morphing, etc) is inorganic, hence the non-generative nature of the one-off hybrids, the fact that they don't become genres....  there is a momentary agglomeration of all these networked influences...  but it doesn't become a sound that is adopted/mutated/evolved...

there is something inherent in digiculture logic that encourages differentiation, divergence... anti-scenius

at the extreme, even the artist doesn't develop an individual style... doesn't repeat themselves... each new track is another genre-of-one

style after all is related to a measure of inflexibility and a measure of predictability...  that's how we recognise artistic signature.... but in the ultra-flexibilized conditions of digi-flux, the artist is encouraged to endlessly differ from himself, is pulled every-which-way

genre is the collectivisation of style, and depends similarly on an element of inflexibility and predictability... 

Monday, April 23, 2012

the museum of the future
but, but, they were a heritage act over 20 years ago. they did a greatest hits revue tour in 91, and then again in 98. (the latter K-werk feature spread is where i got to "edit" Lester Bangs. approached the estate and they said said, "it's got be shortened? no biggie". so with great trepidation i took my secateurs to it)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

much much longer version of my conversation with Daniel Brockman for Boston Phoenix
nostalgia for the future pt 589

ooh lord, just stumbled on my #2 wish-i'd-been-there-to-see-hear-that, after Philips Pavilion/Poème électronique in Brussels 1958....

don't know why i never made this mental connection before but Messe De Liverpool by Pierre Henry, that wouldn't have anything to do with that amazing modernist church that was built in post-War Liverpool, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King? Which brutalist sacred space I, previously unaware of its existence, was thrilled to enter a few years ago when up in Liverpool (to do that hardcore continuum event at the FACT artspace).

sure enough:

26 May 1967 Messe de Liverpool for tape by Pierre Henry (39) is performed for the first time, without the Credo, at the inaugural ceremonies for the Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool.

[via ]

Messe de Liverpool

A time warp and arriving in 1967 brings us to Liverpool, with its monstrous concrete cathedral. Henry had been asked to compose music for the inaugurational mass. Henry by that time already wore the aura of being a composer with a deep affection for public performances of a mass-like character. Messe de Liverpool is structured as a classical Catholic mass. Starting with a Kyrie, moving on with Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and finishing with Communion. The work consists of recitation of the traditional texts in a way that is definitely Buddhist. These voices are supported by traditional musical instruments that are traditionally played at first but after some ten minutes they are played in a typically Henry-esque fashion: plucking and scratching the snares."


listening to it again for the first time in a long while, i do wonder how it went down with the Catholic punters of Liverpool.... As "cup of cold sick" like as the building itself, possibly, which I imagine had a fair few detractors when it was erected.

personally i find it absolutely gooooooooooooooooorgeous

more retro future

"On the 12” there’s a spoken intro which has fun with the 70s-to-90s timeslip: “Now everyone’s a rocket man - as long as it’s served with a balsamic dressing".

--interesting thoughts from Tom Ewing spinning off of this nostalgia-for-the-future/the-visions-I-had-have-faded-into-the-void-of-mass-public-indifference song, involving the talents of Jarvis Cocker and Phil Oakey, and released at the eve-of-the-21st-Century

also via Blues Lines Revisitedd, a piece on tech stagnation at the Atlantic -- The Jig Is Up: Time to Get Past Facebook and Invent a New Future written by Alexis Madrigal, check out also Tom E's thoughts on it
a retro-future-spective

well if anybody deserves credit for their legacy it's K-werk but still bit sad to see them become a Heritage Institution:

Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

April 10–17, 2012

The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium, second floor

Over eight consecutive nights, MoMA presents a chronological exploration of the sonic and visual experiments of Kraftwerk with a live presentation of their complete repertoire in the Museum's Marron Atrium. Each evening consists of a live performance and 3-D visualization of one of Kraftwerk's studio albums—Autobahn (1974), Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), The Man-Machine (1978), Computer World (1981), Techno Pop (1986), The Mix (1991), and Tour de France (2003)—in the order of their release. Kraftwerk will follow each evening’s album performance with additional compositions from their catalog, all adapted specifically for this exhibition. This reinterpretation showcases Kraftwerk’s historical contributions to and contemporary influence on global sound and image culture. Read more

Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider began the Kraftwerk project in Düsseldorf, Germany, in 1970, setting up the pioneering Kling Klang studio, where all of Kraftwerk's albums were conceived and composed. By the mid-1970s the group had achieved international recognition for their revolutionary electro "sound paintings" and their musical experimentation with tapes and synthesizers. Their compositions, which feature distant melodies, multilingual vocals, robotic rhythms, and custom-made vocoders and computer-speech technology, almost single-handedly created the soundtrack for our digital future. Kraftwerk anticipated the impact of technology on art and everyday life, creating sounds and visuals that capture the human condition in the age of mobility and telecommunication. Their innovative looping techniques and computerized rhythms, which had a major influence on the early development of hip-hop and electronic dance music, remain among the most commonly sampled sounds across a wide range of music genres. Furthermore, the use of robotics and other technical innovations in their live performances illustrates Kraftwerk’s belief in the respective contributions of both people and machines in creating art.

In recent years, starting with their performance at the Venice Biennale in 2005, Kraftwerk has been invited into the visual arts context, festivals, and museums, most recently performing at Lenbachhaus Kunstbau in Munich. In contrast to all former presentations, where Kraftwerk videos, visuals, or the “robots” were presented in a museum context but performances were staged as concerts, MoMA is realizing a groundbreaking new display: the first synthetic retrospective to present, simultaneously and in one location, Kraftwerk's complex layers of music, sound, videos, sets, and performance as a total work of art.

A presentation of Kraftwerk’s historical audio and visual material is on view at MoMA PS1, April 12–May 14, 2012.

All performances are SOLD OUT

Kraftwerk – Retrospective 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Performance Schedule

Tuesday, April 10, 8:30 p.m.
1 – Autobahn (1974)
Wednesday, April 11, 8:30 p.m.
2 – Radio-Activity (1975)
Thursday, April 12, 8:30 p.m.
3 – Trans Europe Express (1977)
Friday, April 13, 10:00 p.m.
4 – The Man-Machine (1978)
Saturday April 14, 8:30 p.m.
5 – Computer World (1981)
Sunday, April 15, 8:30 p.m.
6 – Techno Pop (1986)
Monday, April 16, 8:30 p.m.
7 – The Mix (1991)
Tuesday, April 17, 10:00 p.m.
8 – Tour de France (2003)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

interview with me at Boston Phoenix re. retroculture and this symposium Tinnitus: art + rockn'n'roll this weekend

(a letter to the Guardian, in response to a piece about fondly remembered record shops)

I am growing tired of your constant hagiography of record shops (Got any Sam Fox?, G2, 16 April). I have been buying records for 30 years and since the day I foolishly asked for a copy of Love Song by The Damned “with Dracula on the cover” (it was lead singer Dave Vanian), I have been sneered at, patronised, ignored and looked down on – not any easy feat when you are 6ft 3in tall. In contrast to the mystical palaces depicted by your writers, I have found record shops to be untidy and dysfunctional, and the patrons to be accordingly surly, arrogant and disingenuous. Opening hours are obscure and changeable. Prices are vague and often improvised (always upwards – and there are always one or two choice records tantalisingly on view behind the counter, but which are heartbreakingly “not for sale”). Boxes are left unsorted and the racks of vinyl packed so tightly and inaccessibly that I have been left with the gnarled hands of a farm labourer and permanent bad back. I have now found a record shop that is always open, reasonably priced, well ordered and infinitely varied. It’s called the internet. Mark Goodall, Whitby, North Yorkshire

he's got a point, hasn't he?

still i do love them, and almost for the exact same reasons Goodall finds them annoying -- the disorder, and thus the possibility of serendipity, and the strange, twisted people who often work there...

as explored further in this piece i wrote a few years ago

the other thing is that i can remember not just specific stores, but specific acts of finding and purchasing records... whereas i can't remember any moment of discovery or acquisition done on the internet... there is something amnesiac about most of the actions that take place online... something about analogue-world occurrences that imprints better in the memory

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

also this morning:

a communique from John Lydon via his publicist:

"I would like to very strongly distance myself from the recent stories and campaign to push God Save The Queen for the number 1 spot over the Jubilee weekend. It is certainly not my personal plan or aim. I am proud of what The Sex Pistols achieved and always will be but this campaign totally undermines what The Sex Pistols stood for. This is not my campaign. I am pleased that the The Sex Pistols recordings are being put out there for a new generation however I wish for no part in the circus that is being built up around it. I am currently very focused on Public Image Ltd"

possible interpretations:

* literally what he more or less says, doesn't want a Sex Pistols Revival to distract from his PiL reactivation

* doesn't see the point in a retro-necro reenactment of something that really meant something in 1977 - getting to #1 despite the ban - but now would be an empty echo

* actually enjoys his new cuddly "housewife's favourite" image post-I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here and being clutched to the bosom of the Great British Public, so doesn't want to risk being Public Enemy #1 again... or jeopardise the revenue stream from things like the Country Life butter ads

today in retromania world, here's the latest...

1/ CNN this morning

Discovery being delivered to Smithsonian today

Talking head on loss of "inspiration" that came from the Apollo program and Shuttle program, driving thousands of bright young minds into science and math

"one of the great concerns, with the inspiration of the shuttle gone now: is there going to be a lag, a downturn in people going into the sciences?"

meanwhile, in the adjacent room, my son, oblivious to this historic event, is tap tap tapping away on the computer (my computer, actually)... it means nothing to him, not just the Shuttle Program (why would it? it's barely been active during his lifetime), but the concept of Outer Space, the Final Frontier

he's enmeshed in a different space -- neither Outer Space nor Inner Space -- but the spaces of social media, online games, etcetera

thing is, the Space Shuttle is kinda boring... CNN have gone to town with uninterrupted coverage of the Last Flight (from NASA to Washington, "its final home") (MSNBC mostly ignores the story in favor of Romney Veep speculation and so forth)... the footage of what is basically an obese aircraft trundling through the sky just isn't that compelling or impressive.. it never was spectacular enough, the Shuttle, to capture anybody's imagination

and now the Shuttle shuffles off to its final resting place, a museum ... and I don't think my son would even know what the word "shuttle" referred to, if his attention could even be wrested away from his tap-tap-tap


now talking about a new frontier for something or other... Is this not marrow-chilling?

cobblers, this, right? tenuous cobblers.

Monday, April 16, 2012

even though it Glee-ifies the Rolling Stone(s), voids what he and they represented into a Karaoke Is Burning pantomime... it is hard to hate this song/video

the key to it is the wry book-ending of the vid with MJ interview segments from the mid-60s, from just a few years into the Stones stardom... the first has MJ saying, with what seems like unfeigned modesty, that he's surprised it's even lasted two years.... the closer has MJ, asked how much longer he thinks the fame will last, saying "oh at least another year i'd have thought"

it's a tacit admission that no, in 45 years time, there won't be a song called "Moves Like Levine" or "Moves like Aguilera"...

and one more that's embedding disabled, dammit

Over the next two weeks I'll be visiting Harvard to deliver the keynote speech at a symposium on art + pop and going to Chicago to talk about Retromania at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

1/ TINNITUS: a symposium on art and rock’n’roll

date: Saturday, April 21

time: 9:15 AM Keynote Lecture by SR

location: Harvard Hall (room 104), Harvard University (Johnston Gate)

admission: free and open to the public (but advance registration is advised)

for further information about the other symposium participants and the panels lined up that day, go here


date: Tuesday, April 24

time: 6 pm

event: reading + conversation with J.C. Gabel and Q/A with audience + book signing

location: Museum of Contemporary Art, 20 E Chicago Ave, Chicago IL 60611

contact: general enquiries 312.280.2660; box office 312.397.4010

further information here


coming soon: details of my European mini-tour in early May: appearances at the Apocalypse Now (And Then)conference in Berlin (3rd to 5th) and at the Prima Vista literary festival in Tartu, Estonia (7th)

Friday, April 13, 2012

recreativity, part 666

shock of the new - robert hughes classic tv series (and then book) about modernism's rise and fade, archived at UbuWeb

a bit of it, the last bit of it - "The Future That Was" - also archived here

Thursday, April 12, 2012

recreativity, vol 864

The Spanish translation of Retromania, published by Caja Negra, "premieres" at the Buenos Aires Book Fair on April 15, and will be available in bookstores in other Spanish-reading nations in May.

(No, I don't really understand the cover either. MJ appears just once in the book, and then as victim/raw material for John "Plunderphonic" Oswald. Still, it looks cool.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

trad jazz footage

(sharper image version at - part of jon savage's series at guardian trawling through the Pathe news reel archives to for teenkultur gems)

see also:

"are we losing our respect for music?" asks Lucy Jones of the Daily Telegraph
instagram's instant-nostalgia effect, a new yorker micro-essay by ian crouch
you wouldn't necessarily think of the Smiths as a musically innovative band... lyrics/persona/presentation etc, obviously, super-innovative ... but musically it wouldn't immediately strike the ear as INNOVATIVE... certainly, they weren't "futuristic" at all... when I first heard them, which was idly catching tracks from those sessions for late night Radio One they did that would later become Hatful of Hollow, I didn't understand the buzz because sonically they felt like a retreat from things like The Associates or Japan.... there was a certain mundanity about the guitars/bass/drums straight rock format.... later, once I'd undergone the Conversion ("This Charming Man", the debut, Barney Hoskyns's NME piece on them) they stood out from the pack as fresh rather than "future music" -- supremely fresh and also distinct, special, unique... there was nothing else like them around

now, thinking about their work, i do think they were innovative in a number of ways, generally more subtle and unspectacular compared with the obviously latest-statest-of-art technology-using outfits of the early-mid-Eighties... but the Smiths were doing things never done before... they just didn't have anything to with the already-becoming-reified notions of "futuristic" that synthpop and electro etc were putting about at the time

much the same applies to U2, with the Edge very clearly a guitar innovator...

who else in the Eighties, i wonder, could be regarded as taking the guitar into new places?

but back to the Smiths: had there ever been a piece of guitar music like this before?

so it was interesting to see Johnny Marr discussing the four Smiths albums over at and espousing a sort of commonsensical modernism

on The Smiths:
"I like [the debut] because of what it meant and how people heard it as something new when it came out... We wanted to be a modern band and impress our friends who had good taste and I think we did that."

om the Queen Is Dead:
"When it came to do the third record, the penny dropped for me. I realized that we were being talked about in terms of the greats. And I distinctly remember thinking that the way to be great isn't to try and copy what the greats have already done, but to try your best to do your own thing."

on (his favourite, my least favorite) Strangeways, Here We Come
"Just look at a song like 'Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me.' It sounds like no other rock group before or since. It managed to be beautiful and heavy without having the elements that people usually associate with heavy music."

on the one hand, Marr seems to be scholar of rock history (and would become a collector of guitars owned by famous musicians) just as Morrissey had a fan-critic-curator sensibility, used the record covers to lay out his personal iconography, littered his lyrics with samples from books and movies and so forth... and there are a fair number of musical recyclings or at least resemblances ("Rusholme Ruffians" on Meat Is Murder is loosely based on Elvis Presley's's "His Latest Flame"; parts of the vocal melody to "Shakespeare's Sister" are modeled on a T.Rex track which later surfaced on M's Under the Influence compilation)

on the other hand -- going against these proto-retro traits --there is clearly a great drive to do things--musically, lyrically--never done before... and in Morrissey's case also this insistence on utter uniqueness, a sovereign state of individuality that's at once miraculous and monstrous

the sampling and citations then become less an example of self-as-curator/writing-as-intertext/"there's no such thing as originality", and more like the ravenous expression of will.... a true original is so confident of her sui generis, self-generated splendor, that she confers glory on those she steals from, rather than the other way around (the gilt-by-assocation of most referential/reverential retro rockers)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Q/A with me about Retromania, part of The Guardian's series of mini-interviews with authors on the occasion of the paperback edition of their book
audio of the "Critical Mass: Music Theory in the Information Age" panel at the Off The Page festival February, 2012 - chaired by Anne Hilde Neset (The Wire) and featuring Andrew Male (Mojo), Frances Morgan (The Wire), Jennifer Lucy Allan (The Wire) and myself

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"the shock of the old: when did we become so culturally conservative", by philip hoare
"At times, [George R.R.] Martin clearly invokes the Wars of the Roses, what with the house of Lannister (Lancaster) locked in a rivalry with the house of Stark (York), and there are parallels to Mongol invasions (the Dothraki), the Hanseatic League (the Free Cities), and so forth. But searching too intensely for the "real" elements beneath the text [of Game of Thrones] is pointless, since what is truly captivating about Martin's world -- the detailed descriptions, the strong dialogue, the multifaceted characters, the intricate plots and subplots -- stems from not from his source material but from his own imagination. That turns out to be the true magic"

further to the post re. fantasy on TV as "neo-Medieval guff" versus s.f.'s speculative projection into the future
-- here's an interesting piece by a real-deal Medieval historian who deftly unpicks the contention that GoT is unusually realistic and gritty for post-Tolkien fantasy - the truth is life in the Middle Ages was drab and uneventful for the majority of the population, with violence a rare occurrence and sources of entertainment few and far between... most battles were short and relatively unbloody

the piece makes clear that what is truly Medieval about GoT is not its depiction of grim 'n' grisly life... but that it is exactly the same sort of epic saga -- unrealistically packed with action, violence, marvellous and terrifying monsters, faery creatures and magical powers etc-- that people in the Middle Ages told to each other, in order to alleviate the unremitting tedium of their lives:

"I'm glad Martin takes all the liberties he does, because I prefer my literature exciting. Medieval people did also, which is why their own most popular literary creations were nearly as fantastic as Martin's."

plus ca change eh

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Bruce Sterling with a super-thought-provoking essay on what some are starting to call the New Aesthetic - “an eruption of the digital into the physical”

so far it is seemingly restricted to graphics, design, visual-world creativity

examples accumulating here

Bruce writes "Above all the New Aesthetic is telling the truth. There truly are many forms of imagery nowadays that are modern, and unique to this period. We’re surrounded by systems, devices and machineries generating heaps of raw graphic novelty. We built them, we programmed them, we set them loose for a variety of motives, but they do some unexpected and provocative things... Scarcely one [of them] owould have made any sense to anyone in 1982, or even in 1992. People of those times would not have known what they were seeing with those New Aesthetic images"

Bruce also writes "The New Aesthetic doesn’t look, act, or feel postmodern.... It is generational. Most of the people in its network are too young to have been involved in postmodernity. The twentieth century’s Modernist Project is like their Greco-Roman antiquity"

as well as the positives he also points out some negatives of the New Aesthetic as currently constituted

someone just tweet-asked me what the musical equivalent of New Aesthetic would be...

[period ensues of head scratching]

it's hard to say because "an eruption of the digital into the physical" -- well that happened to music already, a long long time ago -- nearly all of what you hear on the radio or as recordings is both digitized in terms of being reconstituted code as well as having been either overtly or subtly reprocessed in all kinds of digital ways during the making and mixing process

so any sort of physical-world realism has long been inapplicable (if it could ever have been said to apply to music, which is insubstantial and non-referential in its essence, and furthermore started to take on a radically unrealistic plasticity and malleability a long long time ago through analogue-era studio techniques of overdubbing, layering, tape editing etc... you might say in fact that analogue-era studio-tricknology anticipated and prophesied many aspects of digiculture)

what seems overtly, blatantly digital in today's pop -- to draw attention to its digital hyper-reality -- are all those AutoTune treatments and various other vocal-science effects (stutters, glitches, drastic pitchshifts from high to low) etc that you get routinely in chartpop in recent years-- that, and the general sheen of too-perfectness on both vocals (through AutoTune) and on the entire sonic-surface of songs -- a digi-gloss - there seems to be an attempt there, semi-unconscious most likely, to make music keep up with the high-definition crispness of flat-screen TV, CGI in film, skin-tone even-ness and other digital touching-up effects as used in glossy magazine photography and (i believe) also in TV and films.

a different kind of bleed-through of digital into physical.. Ferraro's Far Side Virtuall, "a still life of now" as he called it: a symphony woven out of audio-logos and start-up chimes and digital-Muzak refrains from phones and laptops and so forth, the ambient digi-melodiousness of our connected everyday lives... but these bright major-key jingles seem the opposite of New, in musical terms
pull out your Harraps French-English dictionaries, because

voila! - entrevue avec moi pour Les Inrocks, revue de musique Francais -

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the retrofuture-rush

wow, the entire run of Synapse, the 1970s electronic music magazine, digitized for our perusal, here

for more retrofuture titillation, check out fun blog RetroSynthAds

Monday, April 2, 2012

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time - #34

"Appropriation art is informed by the decadence syndrome: the sense of the decline and impending death of art. This is expressed as a feeling of deja vu and a sense of art's loss of significant human purpose - its inability to afford an important perspective on the lifeworld - as well as on the wish for rejuvenation. This wish is expressed by envious exploitation and subordination - veritable colonization -- of avant-garde art that had been vitally alive and had startled the world with its revolutionary ambition, as though to suck the dregs of that faded vitality and ambition from it. But whatever the morbid nostalgia of appropriation art touches turns to stone."

--Donald Kuspit, The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist, 1993
Retromania gets the nod from chart-topping recording artiste Gotye!

"I was just reading this great book by Simon Reynolds where he talked about the ‘incredibly accessible permanent now’. The whole history of music is potentially accessible. There’s a multiplicity of options, and none of them are necessarily more authentic for me, so you feel inevitably compelled to keep it interesting for yourself by exploring as much as you can. On one level for me, it’s pure sound exploration – I just try to find sounds that I think are idiosyncratic or they warm the cockles of my heart for whatever whimsical reason that is. Whether it’s the Cotillion organ that I write the song ‘State Of The Art’ about – most of the sounds on that track are featured from there – or finding that fence in the Australian outback in winter and sampling that and turning it into a bassline [on 'Eyes Wide Open']. I like the story related to it, I like the experience, I like the fact that those sounds feel more personal to me than, say, sitting in my bedroom and buying virtual instruments from professional engineers.”

well it's a mutual admiration pact, mate, loving hearing this stream out the radio, breath of fresh air it is

and Making Mirrors's excellent too
on the topic of xenomania:

Angus Finlayson at FACT on Diplo as globe trotting privateer hunter-gathering booty-shake booty...

which makes him a perfect icon for connectivity: the same data-flows that join together the world financial system and enable the flightiness of capital also allow for the mobility of cultural capital from local scenes to global ubiquity... at the start of the Blackberry commercial, he speaks of traveling the world "collecting influences"

reminded me of what Arthur Kroker and Michael A. Weinsteinwrote in the early 90s (in Data Trash) about how digital music technology prefigured transformations to cultural economy under globalisation: sampling as "the harvesting of energy from the local and the bounded for the global and unbounded"; samples as "archived body parts... disguised in the binary functionality of data and pooled into larger circulatory flows"; samplers/deejays as "vivisectionists, vampiring organic flesh, and draining its fluids into cold streams of telemetry..."

"Ours is a time of non-history that is super-charged by the spectacular flame-out of the detritus of the bounded energy of local histories"