So far, Dummy Mag’s year-end list has been the one with the most things I haven’t heard and want to hear. Like James Holden. Here’s a mix he made.
section 1 (36 minutes)
terry riley - shri camel morning corona -
fursaxa - alone in the dark woods - all tomorrow’s parties recordings
outer space - the fifth column - ?
martin dupont - just because -
bee mask - excerpts from canzioni del laboratorio del silenzio cosmico
beak - egg dog -
poni hoax - the paper bride -
the soft moon - total decay -
the durutti column - madeleine -
section 2 (25 minutes)
don cherry - north brazilian ceremonial hymn -
tony conrad with faust - from the side of woman and mankind -
theshold houseboys choir - imitations of spring -
Bernd Kistenmacher - quitting time
seams - the glow -
andy stott - leaving -
judith juillerat - slack time -
section 3 (24 minutes)
lizzie mercier descloux - herpes simplex -
holden - gone feral (synthtool) - border community
bochum welt - family computer robot -
harmonia - watussi -
spooky - stereo -
burning star core - the universe is designed to break your heart -
luke abbott - hand drawn maps -
the klf - wichita lineman was a song i once heard -
section 4 [play last] (40 mins)
arnold dreyblatt - side band -
plastikman - koma -
holden - blackpool late eighties -
vangelis - multi track suggestion -
margot - alt2 -
pional & henry saiz - uroboros -
amadou sangara - l’histoire do moussa tchefari pere de sabali
four tet - peace for earth
france battiato - energia -
laraaji - the dance #2
That sensitivity seems inevitable, I think, because what we consider folk today might actually be a strange and particular thing. It’s not a living tradition, really. It’s more like a snapshot of a tradition—American rural music as it existed at the precise moment that someone thought to make recordings of it. At some point in the twenties or thirties, once enough of those recordings had been made, the whole thing was trapped in amber: It became, officially, the oldest version of rural-American “folk” music that anyone could go back to consult and imitate using their own ears. It became, almost by technological accident, the wellspring and the touchstone, leaving every generation of revivalists looking like a bunch of people holding blurry Polaroids of Eden and arguing over how to resurrect it. It’s like a cargo cult in reverse: Instead of “primitive” people coming across a modern object and surrounding it with elaborate mystical explanations, we get modern people discovering something traditional and erecting intellectual fetishes around it. And looking back to the “beginning,” even out of an earnest, uncalculated love of the music itself, is always going to be at least a little bit ideological, a response to whatever’s happened since.
This is a most excellent article.
I posted my Top Ten of books that came out this year on the store blog.
Animating Noam Chomsky: French Director Michel Gondry on New Film "Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?" | Democracy Now!
It’s too bad that this film apparently focuses on Chomsky as a philosopher rather than an activist. This is a man who got completely owned by Foucault in 1971 and has made no notable contribution to the general intellect since then outside of an admirably tenacious commitment to criticizing American foreign and domestic policy. My general impression is that, even in lingustics and anthropology, his work is highly contested. I’d watch this film for Gondry’s animation (which looks marvelous as usual), but not Chomsky’s ideas.
As mentioned before, Canary Records is releasing some seriously wonderful things over on their Bandcamp page, for some seriously low prices. Hard to keep up! But you should at least give some of these a go —today I’m listening to this terrific compilation, which is jampacked with great sounds culled from sub-Saharan 78 RPM records. The budget price means that you don’t get detailed liners about the musicians, but I kind of dig listening to this stuff free of heavy context, and experiencing it as pure music. At some point, I’ll probably dig around for more info, but for now, this is more than enough.
*cash register sound*
Some people’s Tumblrs feel like garbage cans. Is that supposed to be the point? Does anyone talk about all the hoarding that goes on online? Posting everything, posting all the time, is another kind of binge eating, hoarding, gluttony, trigger happiness, consumption. If you post all day long, even if the posts are interesting, I will unfollow you. I don’t want to take it all in just because you do. I don’t want to be your garbage can. Besides, when it’s that much, when it’s constant, when it’s so indiscriminating, when it piles up in a newsfeed, when it streams with no break, no one is taking anything in. It’s drive by. It’s content tourism.
Autonomy is a tricky term to handle because in the field of art it has come to denote almost the opposite of what it set out to name. Literally, auto / nomos means to determine one’s own laws. When art slowly but surely pried open a new social space for itself in nineteenth-century European society, on the basis of aesthetic principles laid out by Kant, Hegel, Diderot and others, it was in the name of giving itself its own laws. Its “conquest of space,” as Pierre Bourdieu calls it, was about wresting art from the overarching control and hindrance of religious and political authorities, carving out a separate sphere for itself where it could develop in keeping with its own internal logic. This space of autonomous art determined the art of modernity. Of course, the autonomy was only ever relative — but it was effective, and jealously guarded. In fact it still is. Incursions from other fields were repulsed vigorously. Indeed they still are. This autonomous sphere was seen as a place where art was free from the overcodes of the general economy (its own, utterly unregulated market notwithstanding) and the utilitarian rationality of market society — and as such, something be cherished and protected. This realm of autonomy was never supposed to be a comfort zone, but the place where art could develop audacious, scandalous, seditious works and ideas — which it set about doing.
However, autonomous art came at a cost — one that for many has become too much to bear. The price to pay for autonomy are the invisible parentheses that brackets art off from being taken seriously as a proposition having consequences beyond the aesthetic realm. Art judged by art’s standards can be easily written off as, well… just art. Of contemplative value to people who like that sort of thing, but without teeth. Of course autonomous art has regularly claimed to bite the hand that feeds it; but never very hard. To gain use value, to find a usership, requires that art quit the autonomous sphere of purposeless purpose and disinterested spectatorship. For many practitioners today, autonomous art has become less a place of self-determined experimentation than a prison house — a sphere where one must conform to the law of permanent ontological exception, which has left the autonomous artworld rife with cynicism.
Red Krampus scourging the bourgeosie/All I want for Christmas is #fullcommunism