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November 17, 2010


Laura Boyd-Clowes

You have just summarized an astonishingly large number of subsets of party conversations that my group of friends inevitably repeat every weekend. I plan to distribute this article among them, so that we may finally move on to other topics!

Justin Smith

Glad I could help clear things up, Laura. Now you and your friends should go watch Girl Crazy, then discuss it ad nauseam.

ben w

One is reminded of the distinction between two lineages of noise music drawn in the great Tokyo Damage Report:

There are two main approaches to noise : high brow and low brow.

The high brow noise guys see themselves as the latest in a long line of non-melodic, avant-garde music. . starting with Music Concrete in the 20’s, Futurism in the 40’s, and the weird shrieky sounds of Xenis Xenikakis or Karlheinz Stockhausen in the 60’s. the goal, (like the goal of Modern Art in general) isn’t to be aesthetically pleasing. Things like ‘notes’ or ‘melodies’ or ‘rhythm’ are for sell-outs! The goal is to be ‘challenging’ and take the listener to another world where he or she can contemplate the subtle sonic textures hidden inside the noise.

The low brow nosie guys see themselves as the latest in a long line of angry metalheads. . . Their attitude was, metal was noiser than rock: Distorted and angry . Death metal was noisier than metal-non melodic, dissonant. Grind bands like A.C. pretty much demolished the few remaining musical rules- becoming a blur without tempo or notes. Pretty much the only way to take things further out than A.C. was to just abandon rock instruments altogether and just produce pure white noise. Rather than thinking of noise as intellectual or contemplative, they are convinced that it’s super duper extreme/ intense / messed up, and put totally disgusting pictures of mutilated corpses on their album covers.

The irony is, both approaches sound about the same!!

You might say that they bear obvious affinities.

To the extent that the products are similar for aisthesis I'm inclined to think that it's a little silly to try to draw distinctions of origin and intent of the sort Schulz mocks and you seem to want to enforce, in the process making incredibly absurd statements such as that plunderphonics involves hatred and a will to destroy---you can really hear the hatred, lemme tell you, in Oswald's Grayfolded (as well as the opposition to commercial music)---and according rather too much importance to the fact that Oswald wrote a manifesto.

How, at any rate, do you know whether or not Girl Talk is motivated by hatred, a will to destroy, opposition to copyright, has read Oswald's manifesto, digs musique concrete? All those things could be the case consistently with his also having decided to make a buck and do some dancing. (One suspects it's the dancing part that irks you---how bodily it all is.) All that could be the case consistently as well with thinking (truly) that the possibilities for creating art from found sound extend further than getting the hip kids dancing. (I'm fond of Graham Lambkin's _Salmon Run_, something that, because it doesn't seem motivated by political manifestos, must, on your scheme, fall on the party rather than the plunderphonic side of things, which is risible, but that's what happens if you don't recognize the autonomy of a technique and insist on keeping separate any two similar things that started separately. I may be mistaken, but I believe that dub and hiphop producers, and many others, are allowed to think about what they're doing and even know that Pierre Schaefer existed.) What's that got to do with anything that preceded? The possibilities also extend further than what was accomplished on Oswald's first Plunderphonics release.

Really, the last four paragraphs (excluding the last sentence from the accounting) seem to be what you actually care about here and the preceding reads like intellectual expectoration; no aesthetic opinion without some historical or theoretical ruminations first!

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