Totally with you on this. Watched a John Maus interview today where he said something along the lines of 'all music is political, but overtly political music just fucking sucks.' Drawing on my (very limited) experience it seems like the way in which engagement with music bleeds into political life is much more indirect/diffuse/transversal than is generally thought. Perhaps in the vaguest possible sense, the process of discovering something really meaningful and, yes, beautiful which in some way structures your life is politically emancipatory in itself (compared to the image of the consumer capitalist citizen who only has consumption on which to hang the meaning of their life).see, to me amazing musical experiences are subversive to establishment and status quo. good music can be mind expanding and opening, making one see and hear the world in new ways. and when you experience genuine ecstasy (no not that kind of ecstasy. well maybe sometimes), even though you paid your 5 or 10 euros at the door, the experience transcends quotidian capitalism, and reminds you of the fact that life is not about money or competition or any of that superficial irrelevant shit, but rather the moment, beauty, moments filled with immaterial, unquantifiable beauty.
Again a half-remembered quote, from the Terre Thaemlitz RBMA lecture - something like 'we all know what being individual is right - we know which clothes people buy to be individual, what books they read'. The cult of individuality totally plays into the hands of pre-existing power structures...hence why unity is so important (*cough* the unity of the dancefloor)and that brings me back to Berlin: a city where people pride themselves on being "individual" and "different" - only problem is everyone has the same idea on how to go about it.
yeah i hear you. and it is mostly in the existential sense that i mean.... i realize it's a long long long almost surely impossible shot to try to reconcile my love of dance music with my politics... as it is with reconciliations between a lot (all???) of other things in life with my politics and conscience. but at the same time i think there are a few, not entirely, but maybe partially subversive dynamics at play which are possible in dance music...I understand in an existential sense what you mean but you're underestimating how pragmatically difficult it is to escape "quotidian capitalism". alternative culture is driven by advertising, reliant on transportation networks + power grids, etc. much of it - dance music especially - is also dependent on the drug trade, which is capitalism on steroids. anarchist types talk a lot about creating dual power + temporary autonomous zones (free parties/teknivals + reclaim the streets both have a lot of taz sentiment) which is more constructive I guess but also completely futile unless you can perform them on a massive scale i.e. Spain 1936 or Paris 68. whatever you're doing exists completely on sufferance of the powers what be.
I'm highly skeptical of the usefulness of music as a liberatory tool in general. I spent a bunch of years totally committed to the most severe + self-serious political music of all, anarchopunk. I could write a freaking book about that shit but I'll just sum it up: it's bollocks. some of the kids are for real but the music itself is just small businessman label owners + bands touring in gas-guzzling vans. I don't see how dance music is any different except in that's it more overtly capitalistic + the liberation some of it claims is spiritual rather than political. ultimately it's all just entertainment + money. which is fine. just, don't delude yourself otherwise. the disillusionment + ensuing bitterness really sucks.
good point that the process of appreciation, enjoyment, experience and dedication to art has a lot more going on than simple one way consumption -- for one thing it is active not passive, and involves creative, imaginative participation.Totally with you on this. Watched a John Maus interview today where he said something along the lines of 'all music is political, but overtly political music just fucking sucks.' Drawing on my (very limited) experience it seems like the way in which engagement with music bleeds into political life is much more indirect/diffuse/transversal than is generally thought. Perhaps in the vaguest possible sense, the process of discovering something really meaningful and, yes, beautiful which in some way structures your life is politically emancipatory in itself (compared to the image of the consumer capitalist citizen who only has consumption on which to hang the meaning of their life).
i saw the best minds of my generation seduced by
corporate capitalism, distracted calloused oblivious,
pleasing clients in hip offices in the afternoon
after the next big project,
accessorized hipsters apathetic to the world outside
their little insulated bubbles refusing to see the bigger context,
who amused and sarcastic and ego-driven and narcissistic sat
up laughing in the artificial comfort of
fashionable bars floating through gentrified parts of the city
who bared their brains for career within companies and
saw lifestyle brands reaching target audiences successful,
who passed through universities with sexy cool eye wear
dreaming of fame attending exclusive social functions
among the celebrities of tomorrow,
who graduated with honors from the academies for excellence &
publishing fresh ideas on their fresh personal blogs ,
who conformed upwardly mobile in tasteful denim,
untouched by distant horrific reality reduced to soundbytes and choosing
to ignore their removed complicity in it all.
yes. Padraig: of course that's the tangible reality of it. but what about the unquantifiable, immaterial side? for instance the ideas spread to youths who otherwise would not think about their life in terms of work/exploitation/alienation/emancipation at all and pacify their discontent somewhere else (raves lol)? that must count for something no?padraig, clearly your opinion won from years of experience is a totally valid one but I wonder if in music, the directly/explicitly political is just setting itself up for failure - after all, as you say, it's virtually impossible not to be complicit in the everyday functioning of capitalism when you record/tour/promote/eat/sleep.
Yeah, seems like someone who has rejected so-called rockist arguments, been into dance-music and come out the other side with what amounts to the same argument with some new clothes on."Implying that music w/o a message/meaning which can be expressed in words or images is 'empty' is a subtle way of replicating a kind of rock/pop-centric 'anti-dance' discourse."
it looks that way, but i don't think that is his argument and stance at all. me thinks he is just another a poor user of words.Yeah, seems like someone who has rejected so-called rockist arguments, been into dance-music and come out the other side with what amounts to the same argument with some new clothes on.
Fair point... and yet surely he can't be that inarticulate. More likely he's just exaggerating his stance (or lying) to make his philosophy sound more interesting than it is."that mid 90s jungle mix he did does not contain any lyrical or narrative content either (well, other than, you know, maybe "rewind!" lol). and you know what? the releases on his Whitest Ever White label doesn't have any either."
True enough - although when it does all fit together believably I think you've got the complete package which can be satisfying. Anyway that Raime tune is pretty good but I'd hardly call it dance music - what makes it dance? The fact that it's electronic and has no lyrics?"I think it's normally good to separate your appreciation of people's music from the bollocks they say about why they make music the way they do."
Yeah man I know. It's a difficult world. THe one time I ever got multiple comments on my outfit, was when I was wearing my lesbian friends red and black knit, her purple flannel shirt, a bright blue and orange scarf, and green shoes - all just stuff i had collected or nabbed off the floor and shit cos it was really fucking cold, and i thought i looked like john lily's puke but everyone loved it.and join the movement of the coolest of cool elitist outsider hipsters who wear "anti-cool" weird found and self made clothing? i've known a few and see them at experimental music shows mostly.
mistersloane have you thought about making a video to be shown to quiet unhappy kids in primary schools?I think you should wear things that you like. How bout that for this year?
"Altogether now kids : IT ISN'T RAPE IF THEY'RE DEAD!"mistersloane have you thought about making a video to be shown to quiet unhappy kids in primary schools?
it could be called 'you're not a-sloane'
and have motivational messages like
'your backpack isn't a girl's backpack, they're just jealous!'
'there's nothing 'gay' about being the only boy in the choir!'
what! and fall back on that fraudulent, fictional, and out dated construct known as "personal taste"? all it ever was is just a combination of hereditary class identity and layers upon layers of cultural conditioning, none of which any of us have the slightest control over, don't you know??I think you should wear things that you like. How bout that for this year?