Sunday, June 06, 2010

"Music for a vast, half-submerged ruined cathedral..."

From an interview with John Foxx:

Sometimes you have to step back to go forward. You need to revalue and restate. The context has altered too, so that alters the use of the content and its meaning. Makes it into something new, which simply uses a few old elements. Twenty years ago sampling remade and re-modelled, then evolved new genres from the older elements. I think that what is happening now is a similar re-use of a previous generations electronic remains. New architecture containing some appropriated material. Gene splicing to make interesting mutations, better able to negotiate new environments.

There are also several other good techno-philosophical reasons for this revaluation, because speaker technology has really only just evolved so that you can now hear how good the sounds of the past really were. For instance, bass speaker technology is only now beginning to realise the quality and range of frequencies analogue equipment is and was capable of throwing out. We have also been through a very puritanical rejection of analogue for digital. So now we are realising the intrinsic and unique qualities of both media are complimentary, not mutually exclusive. A good parallel to this exists in digital video, where, for the first time, we can now see the value of intrinsic imperfections in transferred analogue film- scratches flicker, borders. The beauty of faded and ruined film, variable exposure, different textures and quality of film such as super 8 and black and white.

All these elements have a kind of unique evocative beauty. This beauty was invisible or overlooked until you could fix and begin to control the elements in a new, content free digital medium. So they slowly become incorporated in the new medium as a part of its language. They make the new medium richer and denser. They give an empty new medium texture and content and vocabulary. Sampled surface scratches from vinyl are an example of this process. Things previously regarded as faults become qualities. This re-use of older material happens in all the Arts and Sciences at all stages - Picasso drew from Rembrandt, The Rolling Stones appropriated all the Chicago Blues singers, Oppenheimer used Einstein, Chaplin used Music Hall, They all used that material to create something new, for a new time.

Of course, Foxx's concern here is with external recording technologies. What is interesting to me is the application of his ideas to internal recording, memory. The tendency is always to see memories as static moments fixed in time. However, by entering into a dynamic relationship with memory, by allowing the creation of a fluid interior drama, "the beauty of faded and ruined film," by allowing one's faults and mistakes to "become qualities of unique evocative beauty," by incorporating them into the present sense of self, you make yourself wonderfully vulnerable to creation of a new ground for being, upon which richer, stranger and more resonate forms of self are given space to move and evolve.

1 comment:

phantom said...

beautiful blog
have a nice day