Wednesday, August 24, 2005


endless refraction can often result in boredom, an unecessary product of the mediated life. Or else we see all motion as cipher.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

touch hole

It is raining, my records are covered in cat hair. This abject epistemiplogical excercise might provide solace, I, like all of us, have forgotten its limits. Reflected off of the sink was the idea that to be earnest is never far from having earnings. Some of us make sense out of guitar solos, I rhizome into misshapes.
Disquieting is not loud, it is the absence of peace, which can be kept quiet. Obviously and Remarkably are not the same thing at all. Touch hole.
Let us consider for a moment the guitar/voice dichotomy. Ever in conflict-harmony it is strange that one has come to signify the other in a large amount of musical discourse. The guitar solo is a particulary interesting example of this, the way it functions both as a lyrical appendix to the text of a song, or a dionsyan indictment. Nervousness and indecision suffocate my credit; paying attention to where the water goes and, no, but really is not the prelude to our world. Gestures of silence are always judged, thus silent never is truly silent. Consider the six strings without endorsement of our will and the numbers are always already nominalizing the sonic landscape. Was Language Poetry's optimism directed toward inducing contemplation or trepidation? Literally and sonically, discomposure contains both. The way time is expressed is not really. For example: can there be violence after hegel?(DAF) Ritual after exchange?For where do we find ourselves: agents of culture or victims of culture. bloodied. What sheds when we bloodshed; white sheets and fists can do a lot of things. A plastic toy gun put inside a little asshole. Think of what your parents did for you. The world sucks. Swallow as much as you can and secrete. Our happiness shrouded in mock militance and cynicism. Too bad, in other words. Is humor the compression of circumstance? Kink and slaughter yourself into the middle way. The mind perceives the body's death and the body perceives the minds death: in between we make up metaphors, we drink diet cokes, and otherwise medicate. The abstract is not in friction with commitment, nor is it learned, when the absurd becomes rational it is no longer pragmatic. beautiful is not in friction with the inevitability of our own implications. If "philosophy" is a disease than mediation is infection.

Sunday, July 17, 2005





i'll be able to get away for some time over that period). does that
















Saturday, July 16, 2005

Excerpts:Bits, Tribes, and the Market

In recent years, increasing primacy has been afforded to the “digital”, from museum exhibitions to the signal paths of home theatres, the use of the term digital has come to signify both a level of quality and content beyond those of the past(analog), and a millennial preoccupation which borders on false prophecy. We have an increasing preoccupation with obtaining, stockpiling and analyzing digital objects, intent on filling our surroundings with hallmarks of this millennial prophecy, and with seeing our own images mirrored back through them. What does this term really signify? Materially it is a means of representing endlessly complex streams of information through sequences of ones and zeros. This binary system of representing information, due to its ease of reproduction and flexibility has been presented as superior to the older analog means of translating information parabolically both in its quality and its efficiency and ease of use. But in reality there has been digital music for centuries. Beats and rests are the original ones and zeros, the original binary code. Basic rhythmic phrases are the true forms of digital communication, this form of sound organization has been used to code information from smoke signals to morse code, griot talk to church bells. Always this has been a means of reducing complex discourses to small rhythmic units that transmit social, cultural, and political information. In Noise Jacques Attali posits that music acts as both a mirror of and prophesier of social, political and cultural movement. It is a mirror in that it reflects the social organization of the culture that created it, and it is a prophecy in that “it explores, much faster than material reality can, the entire range of possibilities in a given code.” That is to say that the changes in the musical(or for the case of our discussion rhythmic) code created by a particular culture anticipate the changes in the social and political order of that culture. In Attali’s model music is a direct translation of the past, present and future of the culture of its creators, a “code”, different from non-musical codes only in form, not it social function. With this in mind let us look then at the political economy of minority musical cultures in the late capitalist cultural field.
Certain genres become more valuable by virtue of their obscurity and the secrecy of their rhythmic code, unlike a language which has no value if only one individual speaks it. This is particularly true in the realm of electronic music; music that is particularly microscopic and producer driven, musics which prize economy of production(more on this later) and which splinter in into even smaller minority cultures, each based on the different meanings of subtle differences in accents and stress. What, materially, after all is the difference between hip-hop and electro, two now wildly divergent musics which are based on extremely similar rhythmic schemas and began as one, or for that matter drum’n’bass and jungle, jungle and garage, house and acid house, or dancehall and ragga. The fact is that inhabit there are strong differences, not only in the abstract objects that are the musics themselves but also in the cultures that they reflect and often are responsible for creating.
Often, as in Attali’s model, aesthetic differences anticipate social differences. Particularly glaring examples of this trend can be found both it the regional divide between east and west(and more recently south) which began in hip hop culture in the late eighties and early nineties, and in the old school/new school divide. The regional divide grew in intensity to a point where it had actual human casualties with deaths of the Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. It may at first seem facile to say that the root of the social and regional conflict between the two cultures these men represented was aesthetic, but their violent deaths, be they truly acts of random violence, or calculated acts designed to maintain the economic architecture of the system of exchange their musical discourse inhabited, betray the secret function their music provided to the cultures they represented and to culture at large. Attali writes that the role of music in organized societies before exchange(capitalism) was as a form of aesthetesized ritual murder, that is that the organization of random events(sounds, noises) affirmed that if aesthetic organization was possible so then was social organization. If this is true then hip hop can been seen as a contemporary system of ritual murder. Within its own minority cultures it provides an example of violence, of chaos, both the literal violence of the lyrics and the abstract violence of the sounds, organized and aesthetisized.

The politics of materials affects this conflict as well, the wars of format and fidelity, the conflicts between modes of delivery which are alternately cast as populist or as elitist. In the contemporary American economy, where the state has been reduced to a force that sets price control, the flow and the form of new technologies is controlled by the private sector, which in the case of mass media(and even specialized minority cultures) is increasing limited to handful of large corporations. But the true economy of materials is ultimately determined by the material’s user not its creator, and invariably users find ways to pervert or expand them beyond their intended uses. Take for example the adoption of recordable CDs, originally intended as a data storage devices these now totally disposable discs have, along with several other technologies, have helped to expand media piracy. One can obtain bootlegs of any cultural product(most dominantly music but in many cases media as well, particularly in Asia where VCDs are much more common than in the west), in many third world cultural fields piracy is the only means of consumption available to them, the confluence of supply and demand creating vast fragmented local economies which traffic western cultural product without the consent(or in most cases knowledge) of the product’s original creators and official distributors.

Consider the structure and politics of micro-economic cultural distribution systems in the history of Jamaican music. This is an example of a closed system in which studios, record labels and sound systems are all controlled by one person and various individuals compete to control the existing musical information(history) and the means of producing new content. The individual musicians are caught inside of this economic system, employed by producer who yearn for their obsolescence and who demand that they become proficient in an ever shifting musical languages. Is the revolutionary text of reggae as a style of music co-opted in service of this economy or is the expansion of its marketplace the ultimate fulfillment of reggae’s political agenda? The jobs and increased independence it provides making life better for its creator’s, but the market’s inevitable need to reduce production cost causing the phasing out of a certain level of workers. Specifically those whose job can be done more easily by a computer, ie drummers and bassists, and others who can adjust to the new terms of cultural production.

Music, like all post-war industry has been subject to increasing miniaturization. This is particularly true in producer driven musics, which erase authorship and privilege brand, name and label. This miniaturized production process also results in a miniaturization of meaning, gone are the grand sweeping gestures of rock music, replaced instead by strings of subtle rhythmic code. We are communicating through smoke signals again, caught in the abrupt isolation of the new digital age. Our distinctions are increasingly tribal, signified by clothes and affects reflect divisions not of region but of discourse, discrete communities that force themselves into alienation from one another, creating dialects of the same language. Representing different tribes exploring different social organizations and different musical depictions of them.

The purpose of this essay is to examine the history and the political economy music not as an art form, but rather as an abstract system of communication with particular emphasis on underground electronic music of the last thirty or so years. I choose to focus on this small subset because it I am interested in aesthetic movements which mutate and fragement rapidly. This is the direct result of the miniaturization of the mode of production, cheaper recording technology, the advent of samplers and turntables(cont......)


launching this blog as a site for for node input/output/repair and examination. look for fragments of theory, by myself and others, events, photos, and mpfrees....