Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap
From: Richard Wentk (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 18:59:36 EDT

At 17:46 01/07/2004 -0400, Eric Lyon wrote:

>>Anyway, I don't think Merzbow is emulating anyone.
>About 10 years ago I read an interview in a Japanese culture mag (wish I
>still had it!) where Merzbow stated that he wanted to be "the Sun Ra of
>Noise music". There was a time when Aphex Twin claimed that he was not
>influenced by other people's music (OPM), but in recent years even RDJ
>started owning up to being influenced by OPM. IMO the idea of music
>existing outside of social/historical references is more an interesting
>philosophical construct than anything that could happen in the real world.
>If there were some truly autistic music created by someone with literally
>no influences, it would only be heard as such only by the creator. As soon
>as anyone with a history of musical listening encountered the artifact,
>they would contaminate it with their preconceptions, listening strategies,
>and comparisons to other music in their mental database. Perhaps this idea
>is an extreme form of nostalgia for the modernist insistence on
>originality at all cost?

Okay Eric - I can see you don't like the idea. :-)

I'm not interested in whether it's nostalgically modernist or not. It's
more that I've been thinking a lot recently about the use of signifiers in
art, and (after a long discussion about photographer Sally Mann on a
different list) I began to wonder if perhaps after post-modernism rather
too much art, popular and academic, had confused creativity with a now very
predictable process of shuffling and/or repeating and/or challenging
already familiar signifiers, whether they're musical, social, sexual, or
otherwise part of the existing cultural furniture.

It's true that modernism eventually evaporated into almost Platonic
inscrutability [1], but everything about the process of Being A Modern
Composer was still rooted firmly in pre-Modernist ideals, and the music and
the culture around it still leaned heavily on those ideals.

All of which is the exact opposite of what I'm suggesting.

You may well be right that it isn't possible. But I'm still left with the
feeling that music at the moment is trapped in various rigid methodologies
of creation, performance and consumption, all the way from disposable pop
to world to academic to the kinds of noodlings you can read about in The
Wire. Attempting to soften boundaries across styles isn't going to help
when there's so much common ground and so much mythology shared across all
styles - and as I see that's the place that's pinching a little.


[1] Yes, that was the polite version ;-)

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