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{Sunday, October 05, 2003}

 
sonic fiction

Sample Culture Now
"Since the early 20th Century witnessed the advent of collage, artists have sought to reprocess cultural residue from the past to create new systems of representation. As the flow of cultural and visual data continues to proliferate in society, new sampling strategies have emerged to further redefine the comprehension of history, information and their depiction.
Emerging forms of art practice increasingly cannibalize fragments of sound, image, music, dance, and performance to create new spaces of possibility. These hybrid projects use sampling, collage and recombination to generate live or time-based events that complicate our notions of time and space, artist and audience, virtual and actual."
Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium - Saturday 8 November 2003, 12.00 � 18.30

McLuhan 2003: Toronto International McLuhan Festival of the Future
The McLuhan Festival, a multi-faceted four-day event that runs October 17 to 20, 2003, is based around the "percepts," probes, writings and musings of Marshall McLuhan, Canada's leading visionary.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
"Covering 30 acres in the Borders area of Scotland, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation is conceived as a place to explore certain fundamental aspects of the universe. What are atoms made of and how should we conceive of them? How does DNA make up a living organism and why is it essential to celebrate it in a garden? Charles Jencks will explain how he has created a series of new, expansive, visual metaphors that challenge misleading and frequently misunderstood concepts, such as the Big Bang and the Selfish Gene."
Royal Institution of Great Britain, 21 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4BS
7 October 2003 from 7.30pm

Futurhythmachines:
Sukhdev Sandhu reviews 'More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction'
From The Heliocentric World of Sun Ra, George Clinton's Mothership Connection, right up to 4-Hero's Parallel Universe, Eshun celebrates those artists who are star-struck, those who, like the pioneers of Detroit techno, create soundscapes that transmit 'along routes through space, [not] grounded by the roots of any tree'.
[...] What we're escaping is, in part, 'Blackness', a category imposed both from within and without the 'community'. Samplers and other soundmachines allow noise to be ripped apart from its original sources. It becomes decontextualised, 'mutation-positive'.

Geert Lovink - 'All the adventures are still here' - A Speculative Dialogue with Kodwo Eshun
"When painters paint, they are theorizing immanently in the field of paint. Sonically, when you compose, you are theorizing tonally. That was a key breakthrough. When I wrote my book it did not have to be historical. It could be a sonology of history, it did not have to be contextualization of sound. It could be an audio-social analysis of particular vectors. Sound could become the generative principle, could be cosmo-genetic, generate its own life forms, its own worldview, its own world audition. That's still the key break between my book and most cultural studies analyses. They still have not understood that sonology is generative in and of itself. Like every field is. Every material force can generate its own form."

Sonotronic Manifesto - fringecore [magazine]
Dee Sounds Out the Thoughtware of Kodwo Eshun
"The engineer's job is to stop feedback, stop errors, but Hendrix decided to say no, its not an error, it's something that's been charted, listen to the frequencies, listen to the harmonics, listen to the oceanic roar of the feedback. He realised that what sounded like a crisis was in fact an opportunity, so he turned an error into a feature, and the feature into a new organisational principle. So ugliness repeated became beauty.
You can see this a lot in Spooky. He organises all sorts of interruptions, all kinds of frequencies, glitches, static.
[...] Spooky realised that the electronic aesthetic was the new place to be, at the point where it doesn't feel like there is any human presence at all. This point of flux is a great place to start to make alienation audible, a way of making the feeling of social existence audible ...
It is not the social setting that creates the music, but the other way around."

Mediamatic: Dirk van Weelden: Some Excursions into Sonic Fiction
A two-step with Kodwo Eshun (May 1999)
KE: "Sonic thinking has to do with what John Cage used to say about listening as an active process. Sometimes listening to music is more about listening to your own ways of listening, hearing your own ways of hearing. Wondering what you're hearing. And sometimes you need time to do it, and that's when the anxiety sets in. Everyone around you says that listening is time-wasting, but you have to remind yourself that listening is an active form of creating."

Poetry rhythm

"Art used to be the teaching machine. Not anymore. We can now see that the [media] environment is the teaching machine." Wyndham Lewis

Goodfoot - report by Jessica Johnson
"The first thing you notice about Goodfoot is that it stands out from everybody else on the block. Past the aged furriers and a kitchen supply store on Toronto's industrialish Richmond Street West just off Spadina Avenue, the opaque exterior shows a solitary pair of sneakers dangling in front of a painted background.
It looks like the work of some sneaker-obsessed artist. In fact, the dimly lit interior displays about 30 rare and vintage reissue running shoes on a backlit wall."

The eye wakes up - in the horn of plenty

"Civilized man is so enveloped by his own artefacts and technological whims that he has forgotten himself, has lost the ability to perceive and read them as 'signatures' or signs, has become subject to them and spends his days ignorant that he lives in a wild fairyland of his own making. Restoring awareness is a Herculean labour."
Eric McLuhan - The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake
(University of Toronto Press, 1997, pages 10-11)

Speak, memory - Andrew Motion relishes accents and voices on newly released recordings of authors reading aloud
"Tennyson himself (in this respect, at least) does what one would expect: delivers "The Charge of the Light Brigade" at a decent canter, while preserving a melodious smoothness. Other aspects of his reading seem more remarkable, even if not exactly unexpected: the Lincolnshire accent, the gruffness and roughness of his address, the variety of pace between the verses and their refrain. It's altogether a breath-taking two-and-a-half minutes, with the strong sense of fragility made positively torrential by the various hisses and clunks that overlie the recording."

In 15 minutes everybody will be famous

"Apollonian intoxication alerts above all the eye so that it acquires power of vision. The painter, the sculptor, the epic poet are visionaries par excellence. In the Dionysian state, on the other hand, the entire emotional system is alerted and intensified; so that it discharges all its power of representation, imagination, transfiguration, transmutation, every kind of mimicry and play-acting, conjointly. The essential thing remains the facility of metamorphosis."
F. Nietzsche - Twilight of the Idols and the Anti-Christ - translated by R.J. Hollingdale
(London, 1968, page 73)

So that the vines burst from my fingers ...
"For Pound the auditory powers of poetic language are an instrumental part of intelligence and understanding, rather than lying deeper down below them; Pound frequently asserted his belief in 'absolute rhythm' and composition 'in the sequence of the musical phrase' (Literary Essays, e.g. pp. 9, 3), but this is more a performance model -- overall he will prefer to remember a sentiment like Thomas Campion's, in his Observations in the Art of English Poesie ... (1602): 'The eare is a rationall sence and a chiefe judge of proportion' (Campion, Works, ed. W.R. Davis [London, 1969], p. 294)."
J.H. Prynne - Reading Pound : Seven

MINDTRENDS mosaics of the mind - manTRANSforms speakers
... or to isolate i from my multiple Mes

Sneaker Stories: Following the Trail of a Cultural Shift - by Eric Demby
"During the blackout of 2003, one of the few sites where looting was reported in New York was a tiny boutique for sneaker connoisseurs on the Lower East Side called Alife Rivington Club. It was a stark reminder that sneakers are among the most coveted consumer goods in America, with more than $15 billion spent on nearly 430 million pairs in 2002. But there was a time in New York when sneakers were just fun and games.
Robert Garcia, 37, who goes by the name Bobbito, has been studying the soles and uppers of sneakers on everyone from his former classmates on the Upper West Side to Walt Frazier in his early-70's heyday to the superstar rapper Jay-Z. "Every kid in every seat in every period -- I knew how many sneakers they had, when they wore them, how they wore them, and when they needed new ones," he said of his grade school days. "I concentrated on class, but I was tuned in to people's feet." Being a proud veteran of two of New York's most influential subcultures over the last 30 years -- street basketball and hip-hop -- only furthered his fixation.
Three years ago, he began collecting his childhood memories and interviewing old friends from his cadre of street-basketball and hip-hop sneaker fanatics, who called themselves the Pound. The result is his first book, "Where'd You Get Those?: New York City's Sneaker Culture 1960-1987" (Testify Books). Weaving together anecdotes from his childhood and photographs of groundbreaking sneaker moments in basketball action from New York City playground tournaments, the N.B.A. and the A.B.A., Mr. Garcia underscores the implicit connection between a shoe's success on Big Apple asphalt and its subsequent popularity with the American masses.
[...] Ironically, Mr. Garcia and other members of the Pound have been partially responsible for the commercialization of sneaker culture since 1987, having made the leap during that time from studying playground feet to advising corporations on how best to appeal to the global playground.
[...] Last year, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, two-thirds of Americans bought sneakers for casual or lifestyle wear, rather than their intended athletic function."

AlterNet: Air Jordans
"Consider, if only for a minute, that the vast majority of the developed world has a view of athletic footwear that couldn't have existed without Nike's black and red high-tops. Gone are the thoughts of pure function, of rubber soles and leather uppers. Because of Air Jordans, sneakers are now a part of the bright, brash, mesmeric and often-flawed Leviathan that is American culture."
Damien Cave

Synthesis: Music: Interview: Bobbito Garcia, a godfather of hip-hop culture, expounds on his quiet empire
What's so great about vinyl?
"It's just warmer, bro, and that's not just an opinion, it's fact - analog is warmer than digital, it hits more points on the sound curve and that's what makes it warmer. It also picks up more ambient sound, and that's why it sounds cracklier, but I like that. Digital might sound clearer, but that's because digital isn't picking up all those extra sound waves."
Bobbito aka D.J. Cucumberslice

Heteronyms
"Like Underground Resistance as X-102, World 2 World, Galaxy 2 Galaxy, The Martian, like Kool Keith as Funk Igniter Plus, Rhythm X, Dr Octagon, like 4 Hero as Tek 9, Internal Affairs, Tom & Jerry, Nu Era, Juan Atkins multiplies himself into machine names: M500, X-Ray, Channel One Frequency, Audiotech and Infiniti. The producer disappears into each alterego but the machinate name is not a pseudonym, a fake name. Rather it's a heteronym, a many-name, one in a series of parallel names which distributes and disperses you into the public secret of open anonymity. I is a crowd: the producer exists simultaneously, every alterego an advertisement for myselves. The Rhythmachine actively sets out to manufacture as many personalities as possible. Alteregos are more real because you choose them. Ordinary names are unreal because you didn't. Multi-egos are more real still because they designate your parallel states.
Children, instinctual animists, identify with toys and dolls, subjecting themselves to and projecting onto the Inanimate: every 12-year-old knows that I is an other and another and another. In the 70s, the Bowie heteronyms - Major Tom, Aladdin Sane, Thin White Duke - were serial. Now heteronyms come in parallel. Today, the Futurist producer is always greater than one, always multiplying into omni-duos, simultaneously diverging selves that never converge into knowledge of self. Instead of disciplining others through the despotic standard of keeping it real, staying true to the game, representing or staying black, Alien Music proliferates mindstates which never amount to one mind. To unify the self is to amputate the self."
More Brilliant Than The Sun: Adventures In Sonic Fiction: Kodwo Eshun
Quartet, London, 1998, 07[106-107]

Thunderwords of Finnegans Wake
"There are ten thunders in the Wake. Each is a cryptogram or codified explanation of the thundering and reverberating consequences of the major technological changes in all human ..."
Marshall McLuhan

The Nine Muses presided over the arts and sciences ...

"In [Giordano] Bruno's time, alchemy was a part of the curriculum of grammar, and all of the great grammarians were also alchemists." Eric McLuhan - The Role of Thunder in Finnegans Wake
(University of Toronto Press, 1997, page 63)

Arthur Rimbaud: Alchemy of the Word - Andrew Jary
Rimbaud's experiential poetic technique was synaesthesia. That is, the multisensory intoxication of poetry, a poetry 'containing everything, smells, sounds, colours'. Rimbaud called it an 'alchemy of the word' ...

Finnegans Wake Concordex Page 404
"We expect you are, honest Shaun, we agreed, but from franking machines, limricked, that in the end it may well turn out, we hear to be you, our belated, who will bear these open letter. Speak to us of Emailia."

The Mailed Art of Ray Johnson by Clive Phillpot
Mail art, simply defined, is art that utilizes the postal service, or, in a secondary manifestation, is art that takes a form relating to postal products or apparatus - for example, artists' postage stamps and artists' rubber stamps. On many occasions, Ray Johnson has been named the father of mail art, also the grandfather, and even the "sugar dada".

Sonic Space Scribe by Jamie Cason
"It's not often you'll find musicians Kate Bush and Erik Satie in such proximity, but this is only one of many unlikely connections that pepper David Toop's Ocean of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, and Imaginary Worlds ...
Toop ... shows us a way of listening differently. He teaches us to enjoy the environmental sounds of pneumatic drills, police helicopters, and tree frogs. He tells us to appreciate the silence between sounds. Perhaps one day we will be able to extend this practice to other forms of information ingestion, savoring the darkness between individual frames of film or the gaps between words in print."

Joan Anderman - Hip-hop setting the beat - Boston Globe - 4 October 2003
For the first time in the 50-year history of the Billboard charts, all Top 10 songs in the country this week are by black artists - signaling the culmination of hip-hop's ascent as the dominant force in popular music and culture.
Once an underground, controversial style characterized by gangsta mythology and all-too-real turf wars, rap music is now embraced across the radio dial and across the nation by a diverse, multiracial fan base. Heavy beats serenade shoppers at the malls. Street rhymes are the soundtrack to suburban sleepovers. Rappers are pop stars, pop stars rap, and the sound is as integral to the cultural landscape as country music or rock.
[...] ''There's a vacuum in music made by white kids for white kids,'' said musicologist Arthur Kempton, author of ''Boogaloo: The Quintessence of American Popular Music.'' ''White pop and rock is fragmented into so many different strains and when that happens black music fills the vacuum. It happened in the early '60s, before the British Invasion, when Motown was established. Today 70 percent of hip-hop is bought by white kids.''
But the difference between the two is hardly, pardon the pun, black and white. In the last five years pop and rap artists have merged their sounds in chart-topping, genre-busting, and race-erasing collaborations. Justin Timberlake - one-fifth of the fresh-scrubbed boy band 'N Sync - is the featured vocalist on Black Eyed Peas's ''Where is the Love?'' Former teen-pop idols Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera have reinvented their sound by working with such cutting-edge beatmasters as the Neptunes, Rockwilder, and Rodney Jerkins - blurring the color line and helping pave the way for the mainstreaming of hip-hop.
At this point, ''you don't necessarily need the white face to cross over to the nonurban audiences,'' said Erik Parker, music editor at Vibe magazine. ''Before you had Eminem as a huge success because he's a great rapper and he's white. Justin is a great singer and he's white. Now you have Nelly and Lil Jon crossing over - black artists doing black music. I do think that rappers are more conscious of a growing market and they're creating records to accommodate that market.''

Mary Mitchell - 'Ghettopoly' is what happens when hip-hop is celebrated - Chicago Sun-Times
"The symbols found in "Ghettopoly" are an accurate reflection of what hip-hop heroes are selling to White America. Ironically, people are outraged about Urban Outfitters' selling a foul board game, but few people of influence seem to care that every record store in America is selling music that glorifies the very stereotypes the game promotes.
How can black people be outraged over a board game when black superstars have gotten rich by promoting those same stereotypes? These performers aren't boycotted. They are worshipped.
There's something else that is sad about all this ..."

Hal Foster: In Sync with the Buzz - Slumming with Rappers at the Roxy
London Review of Books - 21 September 2000
"Not surprisingly, Seabrook's findings boil down to hypotheses about identity and class. 'Once quality is deposed', he argues, identity is 'the only shared standard of judgment'. For Seabrook this identity must be 'authentic' (somehow authenticity survives as a value), and it can only be made so through a personal sampling of pop goods at the Megastore: 'without pop culture to build your identity around, what have you got?' For an old guard of American highbrows like Dwight Macdonald and Clement Greenberg, this statement would be grotesque: mass culture is the realm of the inauthentic, and there is no more to be said. For Seabrook (and here he has learned from cultural studies since Williams), it is not absurd at all - in large part because he views pop culture not as mass culture but 'as folk culture: our culture'. Yet this semi-paradoxical turn of phrase doesn't solve a basic problem: given his account of the Megastore, is the 'sampling' of an identity � la hiphop any different from the 'branding' of an identity � la George Lucas? British cultural studies gave us the notions of 'resistance through rituals' and 'subversive subcultures'; American cultural studies has given us the Post-Modern subject that is 'performative' in its construction. But with the near-instantaneous time to market from margin to Megastore (or from Small to Big Grid), how much resistance or subversion can subcultures offer today? And is the Post-Modern subject so different from the consumerist subject, that 'perfect hybrid of culture and marketing', as Seabrook calls it, 'something to be that was also something to buy'?"

Jon Caramanica - This Was 'Spinal Tap' for the Hip-Hop Generation
"Fear of a Black Hat," the rap mockumentary that today seems just as prophetic as it was satirical, is now on DVD.
It's been 25 years since its genesis in the South Bronx, and still hip-hop remains a mystery to Hollywood. Despite the influx of rapper-actors like Ice Cube, Method Man and Queen Latifah, film representations of hip-hop tend toward the clich�d. They have only rarely gotten beyond the spate of super-amateur mid-80's films -- "Wild Style," "Beat Street," "Krush Groove" -- that aimed to translate the nascent street phenomenon for the masses.
Attempts at hip-hop parody have proved particularly futile, a fact made all the more egregious by the existence of a Hollywood film that, nearly a decade ago, got it very right. "Fear of a Black Hat," from the novice writer and director Rusty Cundieff, was "This Is Spinal Tap" for the hip-hop generation -- a loving, knowing poke at the genre's sanctimony that only someone with intimate access could have pulled off.
Developed at roughly the same time as Chris Rock's limp "CB4," Mr. Cundieff's film chronicles in mockumentary style the creation, success, implosion and ultimate redemption of the fictional hip-hop group N.W.H. (Niggaz With Hats). Its members are political gangsters with juvenile ideologies ...
[...] Wanton ostentation, glamazon arm candy, unrepentant gangsterisms: Hip-hop is in a self-parodic free fall, and no one seems to notice. Furthermore, artists like Master P and Beanie Sigel have starred in their own straight-to-video "rapsploitation" films -- now a subgenre in its own right -- that regurgitate, without irony, the same thug iconography that "Black Hat" so effortlessly poked holes in.
"There are so many things right now that are ready for a humorous take," Mr. Cundieff says. "50 Cent. Eminem. Puffy with his name changes, the gun in the car, the guy who follows him with the parasol -- it's all ready to be unpacked."

Seamus Heaney praises Eminem
American rap star Eminem has been praised by leading poet Seamus Heaney for his "verbal energy". Mr Heaney, 64, also said Eminem had "sent a voltage around a generation".

A microphone is not a gun
"Tupac, Biggie Smalls and Big Pun are gone, and right now there just isn't anyone else but Eminem who can rhyme 14 syllables a line, spin a tale, write a speech, subvert a whole genre, get metaphorical, allegorical, political, comical and deeply personal - all in the one groove of vinyl."
Zadie Smith

'Scratching' records to create new sounds has become wildly popular. But are scratchers really musicians?
Elizabeth Armstrong - Turning the tables on music - csmonitor.com (May 24, 2002)
"On the one hand, scratchers might be seen as distorters of music, relying on the recordings of others to produce the desired effect. On the other, they might in fact be composers, drawing upon various recordings to create new works of their own [...]
"A scratcher is reinterpreting and recontextualizing snippets of music, much as a jazz player reinterprets a standard 'head' by improvising around it," says Virgil Moorefield, a guitarist who teaches a course on The Producer as Composer at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "Good scratching is as difficult to master as any other instrument. It takes time, practice, dedication, and talent."
[...] Although "scratching" is rooted in African-American "hip hop" music, today's turntablists are multicultural. The Invisibl Skratch Piklz, a disbanded Bay Area collective that remains highly respected as the nation's top scratch performers and instructors, are Filipino. The Automator is Japanese-American. The SoleSides Crew consists of Puerto Rican, Anglo, African-American, and Japanese-American players [...]
How to scratch out tunes
Since the invention of the turntable, DJs have been spinning records. Two turntables allow them to fade one song out while bringing in another, creating smooth transitions.
The ingredients for "scratching" records are simple: two turntables with a mixing board in the middle. But the moves are increasingly complex ..."

Stories of Modern Migration -- "In This World" and "Dirty Pretty Things" are more harrowing than any studio thriller.
"... journeys like Jamal's, once undertaken, cannot be reversed, even by the physical act of return, because both the traveler and the world he inhabits have changed as a consequence of his movement through it."

Turning the Tables, the Establishment Takes On Hip-Hop - New York Times
"Joseph Saddler, known as Grand Master Flash, was the man who found his calling in the breaks between the grooves in records. For three years in the 1970's he sat in his room spinning records, composing riffs that could be tucked inside the beat."

The Medium Is the Message - Marshall McLuhan
"Just before an airplane breaks the sound barrier, sound waves become visible on the wings of the plane. The sudden visibility of sound just as sound ends is an apt instance of that great pattern of being that reveals new and opposite forms just as the earlier forms reach their peak performance."

As the lion, in our teargarten remembers ...
"Yes, the viability of vicinals if invisible is invincible. And we are not trespassing on his corns either. Look at all the plotsch! Fluminian! If this was Hannibal's walk it was Hercules' work."

Kurtis Blow Presents The History Of Rap, Vol. 1 The Genesis - Liner Notes
"In the early 1970s a musical genre was born in the crime-ridden neighborhoods of the South Bronx. Gifted teenagers with plenty of imagination but little cash began to forge a new style from spare parts. Hip-hop, as it was then known, was a product of pure streetwise ingenuity; extracting rhythms and melodies from existing records and mixing them up with searing poetry chronicling life in the 'hood ..."

Hip hop's frontier scout
"Since most hip-hop careers don't last much longer than the pair of sneakers you wear when you sign the contract, perhaps the best tribute to Grandmaster Flash is that 30 years after he helped start the hip-hop game, he's still out there playing it.
Flash is working the clubs, touring Europe, spinning on Sirius satellite radio - doing the things deejays like Grandmaster Flowers and Pete Jones started doing in the parks and basements of the Bronx in the early '70s, when this new dance-and-party sound barely reached beyond the five boroughs."
David Hinckley

Masters of Innovation
"In 1877, Thomas Edison was hunting for a way to take sound transmitted over a telephone and turn it, directly, into written copy that could be delivered like a letter or like the telegrams of the time. He experimented with a carbon transmitter and a stylus to make impressions on paraffined paper. To his surprise, the almost invisible impressions produced a representation of the original sound when a stylus was pulled over them and connected to a speaker.
Edison refined what he'd found and introduced a phonograph with tinfoil, instead of paper, in December, 1877. He thought it would be a great success.
He could already see lots of uses for his phonograph. Why, you could record the last words of people who were about to die. You could teach spelling. You could make a talking clock. You could have a dictating machine for your office.
What wasn't important to Edison was using the phonograph to play music. Maybe it was because he had hearing problems, but Edison thought that the reproduction of music was a frivolous use of his wonderful invention and cheapened its image.
Other people didn't think the same way. They liked the idea of using the phonograph to play music. When they wanted to create an early jukebox that would play music at the drop of a coin, Edison objected. It took him almost twenty years to accept the fact that playing music was the use that mattered most to people, that mattered most to the market.
Edison simply had trouble getting the message that the market was sending him. Grand Master Flash got the message all too clearly the first time he went public.
By this time Flash had been working on his system for years. He'd learned the electronics and modified all kinds of equipment. He'd developed systems to let him know precisely where to drop a needle on a record. That system, the clock system, is still used by DJs. It was time to go public."
Wally Bock

Godfather of hip-hop still spreading the message - The Age
"Flash, who must now be aged close to 50, came on stage to a montage of footage ..."
Shannon Morris

Crooked Tongues - Sneaker Resource
"A void currently exists within sneaker culture with many heads sharing in the view that there is a big gap between what they want and what they are given. From an actual shoe perspective, things are cool: it�s always been about keeping your ear to the ground; utilising your contacts; being first in line etc."

A Different Utopia: Project for a New Kalakuta Republic - 2003
By Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid
"Unlike the European notion of "Utopia" as a planned and designed place of Reason and Rationality bequeathed from Thomas Moore, Plato, and Francis Bacon - Fela's republic would be made invisible and modular - he created a mini-world [...]
In the here and now, "A Different Utopia" is a bridge between the visions of reason that held together Europe and Africa, the U.S. and Nigeria - and proposes a philosophy of rhythm. The text becomes shareware. The beats and pulses, bass-lines and sounds, they are threads of a sonic tapestry woven out of desire and dreams. They are vanishing points on the landscape of the imagination - that's to say that they're points alright, but they punctuate a different architectural syntax, a place that Rem Koolhaas would call the "culture of congestion" ..."

The temporary autonomous zone by Hakim Bey
(On Pirate Utopias & Music as Organizational Principle)

Space Race - Black Science Fiction Writers Explore Future Worlds - by Charles Mudede
"Black science fiction in musical form (which British critic Kodwo Eshun calls in his book, More Brilliant Than the Sun, "sonic fiction") is to be found in the late-jazz of Sun Ra, the electro of Newcleus, Mantronix, and Soul Sonic Force, and the cyber-funk of Dr. Octagon and the marvelous MF Doom. Agreed, many of the speculative fictions produced by black writers are great and underappreciated, but still none of them comes close in popularity and creativity to even Keymatic's 1984 sonic fiction "Breakers in Space," which imagined, with great detail and beauty, a space station that's occupied by the best breakdancers in the universe."

Black Secret Technology (The Whitey On The Moon Dub) by Julian Jonker
"Thinking about music in terms of science or technology immediately brings to mind Brian Eno's accusation: "Do you know what I hate about computers? There's not enough Africa in them". But what then is the link between the futures envisioned by new African diaspora music, and the real world presence of technology? It is problematic to imagine Africa's rhythmical technology as being in opposition to the west's digital technology, a problem which Eno blithely sidesteps. Yet if anything, the new music of the past two decades indicates that we should ignore received distinctions between white technological agency and black technological funk.
[...] Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, the three DJs responsible for inventing Detroit techno in the early 80s, came from middle-class backgrounds, their parents having risen in the ranks at the Ford and General Motors plants that were Detroit's economic engine. Like Samuel Delany, the three friends were amongst a very small group of black kids at an affluent white school, and found themselves thrown between two different worlds with no home ground."

American Mavericks: Program 11: From Moog to Mark II to MIDI to Max
"When commercial recording tape became available in 1947, America got in, for the first time, on the ground floor of a musical technology. Not in this field would American composers have to follow Europe - the two continents, plus Japan developed the technologies and the artistic responses to it in tandem.
Electronics were the perfect musical medium for the eccentric composer who wanted to hide away in his studio, freed from the necessity of ingratiating oneself with chamber music groups and orchestra conductors. And every new technology that came along - the splicing block, the tape loop, the oscillator, MIDI, the sampler, and ultimately the home computer - seemed to bring an entire new musical movement in its wake."

John Naughton - Limit copying and we may end up copying the USSR
"The essence of the studios' case is this: in a digital age, every computing device is a digital copier - a tool for piracy. Although they are seeking technological ways of preventing people making digital copies, they know that ultimately the task is impossible. Thus the only 'solution' is to compel the computer industry to cripple its products to safeguard the intellectual property of film studios and record companies.
Their ideal outcome is a world in which anyone wishing to purchase a general-purpose - that is unrestricted - computer would have to obtain a government licence ...
This is preposterous. It is as if the Victorian telegraph industry had demanded that the telephone system be modified to make it incapable of passing messages."

Encyclopedia of Afrofuturism
"For better or for worse, people are becoming more and more accustomed to thinking and interacting in asynchronous modes (like email and lists), detached modes (like chat rooms) and what I'll call digisected modes (like your pseudo-spiritual awareness of all the corporate entities that manipulate electronic representations of you). These transformations are on such a subtle level, such a HUMAN level undefinable even by the marketing engineers who would hope to harness them, that theories often distort one's perception of them. But the energy that is produced by people adapting to new ways of thinking exists nonetheless ... like fucking gravity ... pulling, stretching, bending light, shaping time."
[David Goldberg (aka Mr. Bollweevil)]

Those who cannot imagine the future are condemned never to reach it

posted by Andrew 10/05/2003 04:32:00 PM

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