Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap

Subject: Re: electroacoustics - rap to tap
From: Eric Lyon (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 19:32:45 EDT

On Jul 1, 2004, at 6:59 PM, Richard Wentk wrote:

> 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.

That may be true, but isn't the "process of shuffling and/or repeating
and/or challenging already familiar signifiers" an important part of
western music throughout its history (plainchant, parody mass, sonata
form, etc.) and not just post-modernism?

> 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.

I like this interpretation very much because it's the opposite of how
contemporary music practice viewed broadly seems on the surface. On the
surface it appears that there is no common ground, no dominant
stylistic orthodoxy (even pop music is seriously fragmented into
genres), no agreement about what music is or even in some cases the
difference between music and noise. Are you saying then that acceptance
of this lack of common ground constitutes a new kind of orthodoxy, a
fascism of tolerance? That's very cool if it's what you meant. Do you
see any way out of the trap? Or is the trap so pleasant that there's no
reason to escape?


This archive was generated by hypermail 2b27 : Sat Dec 22 2007 - 01:46:02 EST