Re: [-empyre-] microsound as music's digital praxis

* I gravitate toward the anti-labelling critical practice of Derrida's
"Plato's Pharmacy"; here, "pharmakon" can never function as critical
shorthand because it always echoes and reverberates with other connotations,
operates on new frequencies, or mutters quietly in the background.

David Abram "the spell of the sensuous" makes a hell of a case that the movement from oral to written language at that time in Greece marked a critical juncture in the consequent separation (in Western societies) of the human from the greater roaring flux of nature around. The ability to abstractly reduce a dynamic situation to a text is the ultimate separation, a small death, repeated each time it occurs. I see the results daily of that separation in the massive alienation or (alien)(nation) that I happen to be embedded in ... self included... Freedom from that comes only when one gives first validation to ones own internal worldview, literally, the accumulated input from the embodied presence, and

* critical and creative processes are not antithetical -- at least they
don't have to be. Of course, they very often are positioned as such, and
unfortunately, this split is frequently institutionalized; but I find myself
eager to discover and embody the critique as creative function and not an
afterthought or gloss or "artist's statement". Unfortunately, I think in the
sonic arts many perceive DJ Spooky or Kodwo Eshun as the model for a new
kind of critical practice; to the contrary, I consider them
"jargon-grinders" offering very little that is new and engaging to the
table, working only from surface-scans of Derrida or D&G, but without
getting into the psychedelic interstices of the mesh.

again, (see below) critical, if it is solely about a textual reduction of a dynamic flow, it is quite problematic; on the contrary, if it is a chant that is in reflexive or transmissive chorus with / against the original creative event, then it has a life of it's own. Remix, as you point out, is OFTEN about necrophilia! Churning dead things with stasis of soul. I would say that critical and creative cannot be linked or divided by "antithesis" -- creative action is not related to thesis at all, except that thesis often claims to be spawned by creative action, but I doubt that lineage. It is a social (institutional, as you say) fabrication. There is never an explicit need to verbalize (write about) a creative event, it is never explicitly necessary. It's only when we need to socially share our reflections. And so, I place at least part of the concept of 'critica'l in the realm of socialization... maybe just a necessary evil so that we avoid endless groping...

faugh, I'd prefer blotter acid, a disco ball, and at least two Wheatstone Bridges to measure the potential of life in any instance: when resistance goes to Zero...

* John Hopkins wrote: "sonic/music/audio work is essentially divergent from
labels" -- punning this, though, I would say the opposite is true,
particularly in indy.alt Internet-cultures of sound; that is, we witness a
proliferation of labels and microbranding. Elsewhere, I wrote the following
to characterize this process: "Long associated with the histories of hip-hop
and techno subcultures is the phenomenon of the independent label. Event
promotion, compact disc production and distribution, web development,
creation of art objects, and clothing styles all bubble together in the form
of a micro-culture, an alternative reality that steals from, then remixes,
the capitalist impulse. Shadow capitalism tracks across pantopic webs of
sound, leaving behind material reconstructions of an ideal of the civic
organism." It seems to me that audio work now depends on label identity in
newly complicated but vital ways.

but labeling does indeed end up very often reifying (mortifying even!) what are, in one moment, dynamic, living, and indeterminate human practices -- in the next, they are committed (re-produced, re-created) to text, and take on a power which can be wholly unrelated to their original manifestation (i.e., I can trace the lineage of the term in this manner). It is clear in this society that linguistically adept people gather social power. (not that social power is the penultimate measure or anything). now, I would make a clear distinction between labeling (written language) and naming -- which is essentially an affectation of embodied presence 'aspiring' life to those energized flows around her/him. I think this is what I am talking about in the divergence concept. And the basis of the discursive process you speak about: the casting about -- I like the independent label about which I know only the name, and nothing about the 'content' of what they are producing, not even the form of the packaging! Surprise me. My criteria for listening to anything is -- can I stretch, change myself, to feel something of the energy that the Other imbued in their creative manifestation of being alive. If I can, I can celebrate with that Other, or, simply celebrate the Other. If I can't stretch enough, then I apply the maxim -- "I'll do anything twice, three times if I like it" -- I'll try again, another day...

* John Hopkins wrote:
 it seems to be a process that social 'safety' is built on -- if I can
 use a term like 'microsound' I fall into a social comfort zone
 instead of groping in a linguistic landscape devoid of over-arching
 terminologies, risking mis-understanding (and so the Tower of Babel

interesting that immediately upon the launch of this panel, we guest-participants pretty much launched into a strategic dissolution of "microsound," and that this created, in my opinion/experience, a greater respect and admiration for these fellow artists. So, rather than acting as a safe shorthand, the term provided an intersection of conflicting interpretations and practices; only out of the ensuing conversation did I

yes, I'm not critique-ing the list discussion, but some wider issues... I've known some of the list participant/works for some time now, and, well, simply liked the granularity of individual human production, and personally would avoid using 'microsound' as a lumping mechanism on John Hudak and yourself, Trace... I prefer to grope ;-| Problematic as it may seem socially, being on the edge of un-knowing seems a more lively place...

realize that few of us indeed use this term to characterize our work, but
rather employ it, on the fly, as a set of tools/approaches to our own work.
And believe me, I enjoy a good grope as much as the next person, but I also
appreciate art's ability to construct meaningful social navigation charts.

gees, I like it's ability to render all social navigation charts redundant... ;-\

I'm not sure I see how overpacked terminology provides a zone of comfort in
this case, or why comfort zones are suspect -- particularly given the

SURELY, though, in your position, you've had the awkwardness of explaining what you do to someone who doesn't have a digital clue -- "oh, so you make web pages?" "oh, you're a musician?" Anything else but an affirmative nod chutes you into a zone where you KNOW that other is afraid to go... pharmakology? yikes ;-)

current USA media/gov't tendency to pack up and discharge strategic social
discomfort zones of fear, loathing, suspicion and hate (e.g., "weapons of
mass destruction"). I'm interested in more discussion along these lines.

I think that is the end game -- when one gropes for meaning, or even dances out ahead of 'meaningful' interaction with socialized spheres, suspicions are raised -- that one does not conform, and is thus the Other, and, in this culture, that is the greatest crime -- to be the Other. There is no defense, except to BE the Other. That way one can step out of the need for fearing. Once out of that space, the US gov't is, indeed, a 'straw dog.'

> I wonder, while we are bringing our linguistic meanderings into
 juxtaposition here, how interesting it would be to be able to take
 all the personal sonic threads and weave them, and NOT comment on
> them...

maybe I'm dumb to crit written language on a mailing list...

 > You are doing something of that, Trace, in the ADAPT project ...

Thanks, John! And wait until you see the critmixer I'm going to unveil at
EBR in the near future!

yup! g'nite...


tech-no-mad : hypnostatic
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