Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

New Review: NEURAL Magazine

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Neural Magazine (Italy) media art-hacktivism-e music since 1993

This book is an exception to the rule that a product can be judged from its price. It is free (either downloading it or trading a printed copy) and it sports professional editing, graphic design and production. But it seems just a direct consequence of the challenge to properly face such a topic. Noise in music has been usually treated for its specific and problematic way of approaching composition (except for the seminal book “noise” by Jaques Attali from which this text seem to stem and flourish), and its ability to reflect the very edge of our time. This work looks at the political role of noise in the market, reconstructing the genre through a series of essays describing different music dynamics, while representing a clear act of resistance. This kind of resistance involves not only “assuming risks” about musical stereotypes and the markets surrounding them, but also affects the act of performing, production and distribution. Produced by the Basque Arteleku institution and its active Audiolab, the book can ideally be accompanied by the CD, “Gezurrezko joera” by Jean-Luc Guionnet, a perfect complement to the theory, with another peculiarly split and non-harmonic classic organ performance by the artist. Finally, it would be useful to point out that the only way to get this book is a distribution by trading. Creative people can request a copy by sending a sample of their work (that will be hosted in the Arteleku library) or by writing a critical response to the book (after downloading the free pdf file).



EARTRIP magazine review

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Extensive and analytic review by David Grundy for english (recommended) digital EARTRIP magazine, 5th issue. Thanks!!*

This is fantastic stuff. Of course, there is a smallish swarm of intellectual activity surrounding the sort of issues discovered here, but  more often than not it centres on jazz and American practices.
Consequently, discussions tend to get sidelined into the race issue – an issue which is crucial for the development of that music, but which can impose a narrowing of focus when one considers that much noise and free improvisation is created by non-African Americans who are not living in the particular historical context of a racially-oppressive society (though of course one with its own deep networks of imperialism, alienation, &c.). Serious intellectual examination of music, as practiced by some of the journalists from Wire magazine, may also find itself restricted by the necessity of providing a review of a product (whether a live performance or an album) which evaluates that product on aesthetic grounds first and foremost – and whose audience may resist the presence of critical theory: too much politics for them to swallow, an ‘irrelevance’, intruding on their desire for a generalised ‘underground’ freedom to enjoy their niche of generalised musical resistance to the ‘mainstream’ (represented by such easy-target bogeymen as George Bush and…um, Britney Spears).


Review by Mike Wood (thanks!!!)

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Noise and Capitalism Edited by Mattin and Anthony Iles -

There is always an irony about collections that assail capitalism for recycling popular culture for its own ends, when both radicals and academics do the same with ideas they respect (yes, more Derrida, Deleuze, Adorno? And hey, remember in May ’68 when…zzzzzz..?) However, as it becomes more apparent that late Capitalism has proven the adage that Pop Will Eat Itself with the squalid addendum that we are also fodder for that mash-up, new voices from the Left and Right are needed to even get the possibilities of alternatives out to the public. It may be a cul de sac to be rebuking a system that one benefits from, either from the tenure system, the internet, etc., but we are all users of what keeps us trapped, and maybe we can use it to shout out ideas rather than shout at each other with no point.

Noise & Capitalism is a thought provoking, blunt, often maddening collection of essays about the commodity of music, and whether or not Noise represents that which escapes being commodified, or is merely the next rebellion against Corporatism to wait in line to be turned into background music for tampon ads. (more…)

BLOW UP review

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Italian Blow upmagazine published a review of Noise & Capitalism book on his february issue (#141) written by Stefano I. Bianchi. Thanks.


N&C in ARS SONORA (Radio Clásica)

Friday, February 5th, 2010

A Radio-perfomance divided in 2 sets conceived by Mattin, with Rubén Gutiérrez del Castillo (expert on improv music), José Manuel Costa (Music journalist, “Vía límite” radioshow director, also in Radio Clásica/RNE ) and Miguel Alvarez Fernandez (main conductor of “Ars Sonora” radio show). This radioperformance was dedicated to the issues addresed on “Noise & Capitalism” book.
Ars Sonora is a radio show dedicated to radioart, electroacoustic music and Sound Art broadcasted in Radio Clásica, Spanish National Radio.

Ruido y Capitalismo @ Ars Sonora 1
Ruido y Capitalismo @ Ars Sonora 2


Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

A new extensive and critical review of the book published at Paris Transatlantic excellent online magazine, written by Dan Warburton. Thanks.

NOISE & CAPITALISM by Dan Warburton

I was wrong when I described Guy Debord as a “much overrated Situationist maître penseur” in a recent Wire review, and reading Bruce Russell’s Towards a Social Ontology of Improvised Sound Work – probably the best written and certainly the most informative of the eleven essays (plus an introduction by editor Anthony Iles) gathered together in Noise & Capitalism – serves to remind me of the fact. Russell’s concise summary of the Situationist key concepts – spectacle, psychogeography and constructed situation – backed up with apposite quotations from Marx and Lukacs, is both clear and clearly relevant to his own practice as an improviser.

Eddie Prévost’s Free Improvisation in Music and Capitalism: Resisting Authority and the Cults of Scientism and Celebrity, complete with de rigueur quotations from AMM playing partners Cornelius Cardew and John Tilbury and sideswipes at poor old Stockhausen (once more the inevitable moans about the absurd excesses of the Helikopter-Streichquartett and the “composition” of Mikrophonie I) is a characteristically sober restatement of ideas previously elaborated at greater length in his books No Sound Is Innocent and Minute Particulars – if you haven’t read those this will do just fine as an introduction to his thought, but if you have you might have a distinct feeling of déjà lu.

Indeed, there seems to be a bit of recycling going on here (though I imagine maybe the editors would prefer to call it détournement): Ray Brassier’s Genre Is Obsolete originally appeared in Multitudes #28 in 2007, and Mattin’s liner notes to Going Fragile, his 2006 Formed album with that well-known Noise musician Radu Malfatti, are reprinted in their entirety, with one additional paragraph. No point in recycling my own review of that album, then, since I stand by what I wrote back in July 2006.

Standing by what you write is the springboard Ben Watson uses to dive into a typically vigorous exposé of his ideas in Noise as Permanent Revolution or, Why Culture is a Sow Which Devours its Own Farrow. Taking issue with The Wire‘s Sam Davies for trashing an Ascension gig in Bristol in 1994 only to remember it fondly 13 years later (being able to change your mind and admit that you’re wrong is obviously anathema to Ben’s militant aesthetix), he comes up with some splendidly quotable lines (how about “the courage of youth enables it to look directly in the face of things.. [i]ts folly is to imagine that no-one else has ever done so” and “people who talk about the problems of modern music without talking about capitalism and commodity fetishism are themselves one of modern music’s problems”?), though one wishes he’d spent more time explaining the subtleties of Giambattista Vico (see photo)’s Scienza Nuova – a work I’m not at all familiar with but for which this article has most definitely whet my appetite – than taking potshots, albeit amusing and well-aimed, at his former employers at Wire HQ. Watson writes well – he’s one of the few contributors to this book whose voice you can really hear from reading his prose – but quite why Jaworzyn’s Ascension is “THE answer to dilemmas facing anyone discontent with the musical ready-meals dished up by commercial interests” isn’t explained, and what Tony Oxley, Fernando Grillo, Iancu Dumitrescu and Ana-Maria Avram are doing in a thesis ostensibly about Noise is anybody’s guess.