Browsing All Posts filed under »Music news and opinion«

Review Of The Year 2013: 12 Albums

December 18, 2013

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This is the fourth consecutive time I’ve written a review of the year’s albums, which is slightly scary, as I’m under the impression that writing about music is something that I’ve only just started doing. Still, as senility begins to work its erosional magic on the brain, the years do slip past without leaving so much cognitive residue, and as long as someone can confirm for me that I’ve been having a nice time, I won’t rail against it too much. At least I can look back through these annual articles, and although I’ll think it was someone else that wrote them and I can’t remember any of the music, I’ll know that a year took …

Monday Musing: If Property Is Theft, Who Stole Our Music?

May 13, 2013

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Meaningful utterances can be represented in physical form: a spoken sentence may be represented symbolically by writing, or mimetically, by an audio recording. Such representations may be reproduced indefinitely, whether by a symbolic process (someone reads the words and writes them down again) or a mimetic one (someone makes a photocopy of the writing). Each time this happens, a physical object becomes the conduit for an idea, for some units of meaning. You may be able to guess where I'm going with this: I'm going to be talking about music, as is my wont, and the reproduction thereof. This has been something of a hot topic since information technology made it so easy, and it raises a number of questions that anyone with much

Monday Musing: A Noise In The East

April 29, 2013

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As I write this I’m looking forward to an upcoming Damo Suzuki gig in Colchester. Suzuki spent around three years as vocalist with Can and was recorded with them on four legendary albums. Since 1973 he has been doing his own thing, much of it also involving making music, and much of it very interesting and creative by all accounts, but none of it quite as influential as the work he did with the Krautrock trailblazers. It’s hard to overstate the importance of those four albums, in terms of how great an influence they had on such a wide range of musicians, all over the world; although Suzuki’s global fame and star status can be gauged from the fact that he will be playing a mid-sized music pub when he comes to Colchester, in terms of his…

Monday Musing: The Ideology Of The Album

April 15, 2013

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I've been wondering about the way that I choose what music to write about, what the reasons for those choices are, and what the consequences of them might be. I feel I've been fairly rigorous in examining the way I think and write about specific pieces of music in detail, and I've gone to the effort of engaging with (relatively) current schools of thought in critical theory in order to inform my thinking. But this basic question, related both to my personal tastes and to the utility of my blogging, has remained something of a black box. I decided to have a poke around and see what I could break…

Monday Musing: Hacking, Creativity And Cool

April 2, 2012

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There’s a cinema ad I see sometimes… I think it’s for a phone or something. So, a singular failure as an ad, but as an inspiring piece of film-making it hits the nail on the head. It basically shows people (mainly young and pretty people, but you can’t expect social realism in a phone ad) going about their daily lives, finding ways to be creative about what they do, finding modes of jouissance in the banalities of their existence, be it dancing while ironing, putting detailed artwork in the suds of a partially washed car, parking a bicycle by jumping off it moments before it lands in the rack, breakdancing with an ad-board strapped to their back …

Monday Musing: Is Art Political Again?

March 19, 2012

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The more I write about different things, musical aesthetics, the music business, music industry politics, culture and all the rest of it, the less I feel like I’m writing about different things. It’s only when I take a step back that I can see how abstruse and theoretical some of the things I say about aesthetics, for example, must appear, because for me there is nothing less political about a topic like that than there is about any overtly social subject. Everything is political, everything is aesthetic, everything is emotional, everything is spiritual and everything is subject to fruitful theoretical examination …

Monday Musing: The Aesthetics Of Nature, And The Nature Of Music

March 5, 2012

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Every human being is a unique individual, and inherently valuable; what’s precious about them, moreover, is somehow connected to their uniqueness, their particularity. Trees, on the other hand… well, one’s much the same as another. Agree or disagree with these statements, there are certainly a lot of people who subscribe to both, but today I’m rambling aimlessly on in my inimitable style about aesthetics, and I get the impression that commonplace aesthetic responses reverse those positions.