If there’s a musical demonstration of relationalism, and by extension (as Skholiast points out) of ecology, it’s the kind of improvised music that the Dead are supposed to have excelled at (and occasionally did). The universe gives rise to many wondrous entities in its long history of spontaneity, relational responsiveness, habit-formation, and form-building. The habits start as rhythms, melodic chirps that turn into territorial refrains and calls, and that gradually maneuvre their way into verse patterns, melodies, harmonies, polyrhythms. Distinct songs develop for particular purposes and gradually get freed from those purposes, taken up into improvisational routines and performances, some of which crystallize into larger-scale architectonics, but only ever temporarily.
Archive for the ‘SoundScape’ Category
And while we’re on a Christian thematic… here are a few beautiful videos set to songs by Sufjan Stevens. Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland: And two more…
There’s something about our time that is very Bergsonian, in the sense that there’s a kind of simultaneous opening up of the past and the future, the former feeding the possibilities of the latter. At the same time as new technological tools propel us ever forward on trajectories of embodied interactivity (the internet, iPod-iPhone-iPad, YouTube, Facebook-Twitter, etc.), recording technologies (those that preserve something of the present for the future) combine with technologies of retrieval (those that unlock the past, from historical and archaeological tools to sampling technologies, about which see Copyright Criminals) to enable an ever deeper digging into and opening up of the past. In the process, the past becomes fuel for the reinvention of ourselves toward the future, this reinvention always taking the form of images — which, for Bergson, are central, the shimmering half-way point between mind and matter. [. . .]
Meanwhile, new films are made from the images of the past. This documentary on “Krautrock,” the German progressive, avant and space rock movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, is quite good: [. . .] The music had its fans at the time (more in the UK than in North America), but the documentary does a great job putting it into the much broader context of post-war Germany, the 1960s, the psychedelic revolution, and all that. And yet somehow it doesn’t feel dated to me; on the contrary, it feels as fresh as tomorrow’s news, because I know there are fans out there, Radiohead generation kids and remixers and whoever else listening to these things and reviving them in ways I wouldn’t have imagined possible back in the days when the music industry seemed like one stifling oligopoly.
None of these are standard History Channel fare. All are products of the internet and MP3-era explosion of musical tastes, one of the cultural victories of our day — the losers being the big music corporations, or at least what they stood for. The corporations themselves are still around, of course, doing the same thing corporations do, and even if they weren’t, they would simply have been replaced by others, made from the same movable parts of the corporate machine. But technology moves forward despite them. [. . .]
Today is National Coal Ash Action Day, as MountainJustice.org reminds us — see the information there on what you can do about it. Meanwhile, Climate Ground Zero reports on a fascinating case unfolding in West Virginia’s coal country, where tree sitters have halted blasting of a mountaintop by Massey Coal company. Climate justice folks have […]
A beautiful piece by improvisational guitarist and deep-sea diver Henry Kaiser, shot somewhere off the coast of Antarctica. (He’s done similar scenes in a couple of Werner Herzog films, Encounters at the End of the World and the sci-fi docu-fantasy The Wild Blue Yonder.) Somewhere around the 7-8 minute mark, I was so overcome with […]
The explicitly ecological piece on Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On was Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), which, like a lot of his music at the time, fuses a clear-eyed realism with an optimistic, gospel-tinged sense of possibility. I’m not sure where this video comes from (or why David Bowie appears in it), but the shots […]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8muMo0fw_M&rel=0&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&fs=1 The death of Michael Jackson has prompted eco-bloggers to take another look at Jackson’s 1995 “Earth Song“, which some consider the most popular environmentally themed song ever produced. The song remains Jackson’s biggest seller in the U.K, having sold over a million copies there — more than either “Thriller” or “Billie Jean” — but […]
One of the more oblique threads I’ve been pursuing on this blog has to do with what new media are doing to aural and musical information. Music is, of course, much more than information: it is embodied affect (in a Deleuzian sense) that carries, channels, activates, mobilizes (sets into motion), transforms, and disseminates cultural meanings […]
I’ve been getting into music networking/streaming radio sites Last.fm and Pandora.com and thinking about how they and related forms of social and artistic networking relate to the ideas this blog is exploring. Google can search for words, but not (yet) for snippets of musical melody, harmonic progressions, jazz solos, visual images. But once these are […]
After writing about Jon Hassell’s “coffee coloured” global music of the future, I was intrigued to find out that Timothy Morton, author of “Ecology Without Nature,” has been writing about the ecological implications (or something like it) of Just Intonation versus Equal Temperament. For those unaware of the fine details of musical tuning, Just Intonation […]