Mike Wood-en kritika (thanks!!!)

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.

Edited by Mattin and Anthony Iles, Noise and Capitalism is a collection of essays by musicians, academics or activists. The essential readings here are those by Ben Watson, Edwin Prévost, Csaba Toth, Bruce Russell, and Matthieu Saladin, eleven contributors in all. While the bent in certain essays is Marxist, it should be noted that after all these years Marx’s critique of Capitalism is still one of the most spot-on, and one can be challenged by his ideas while still being mindful of the abuses to his theories that battled Capitalism for Best in Shame in the 20th century. The book is given away freely in Word and PDF (http://blogs.arteleku.net/noise_capitalism and http://www.mattin.org ), though the editors encourage bartering or offering art in return for a copy. On the Arteleku site you can see some cool examples of DIY quid pro quo.

Essentially, these writers ponder the ways in which the artist and listener can navigate, and hopefully arrive at, experience that is not only outside of capitalist influence, but untouchable by it. Is Noise the answer,
or someday will Merzbow replace Iggy Pop as the sonic shill for Carnival Cruise Lines? Tactics—and, to be honest, even a coherent baseline agreement on what Noise is—vary, the writing ranges from academic name-dropping amid salient points (Toth), polemical shtick within the best essay (Watson) to an attempt at direct action strategies (Russell and Mattin).

American University professor Csaba Toth’s “Noise Theory” is most influenced by French theorists, who are quoted from and mentioned in almost every paragraph. Still, interesting ideas are raised about how it is almost impossible to avoid being commodified, since most of our normal channels for rebellion are provided by the marketplace. The essay ultimately tires itself and the reader out with talk about noise as “anti-teleological jouissance,” a concept sure to wow ‘em at the University Club.

Ben Watson, former writer for The Wire and author of the definitive book on guitarist Derek Bailey, offers “Noise as Permanent Revolution or, Why Culture is a So Which Devours it Our Farrow,” in which Watson’s usual mix of Trotsky, brilliant insights and preemptive bullying of those who might disagree with this ideas. The main flaw in the essay is his trying too hard to shoehorn Japanese noise into the latest commodity for hip posers. For someone with a deep knowledge of underground and improvisational music, liking Masonna or name-dropping Keiji Haino might seem pretentious—I’ve already moved beyond them!—but they are still unknown quantities waiting to be discovered by the broader public. So his dismissal comes across as another position shaped just as much by access to and influence by a market as that of those on his skewer. Noise tends to alienate the posers quickly. Still, he is such a great writer that this is one of the essential pieces of the set, as he critiques the inability of musicians to control their “production” and thus noise (which Watson doesn’t seem to like anyway, seeing it as still another variation of ossified Rock tropes) will be commodified for Capital’s purposes eventually.

Russell’s “Towards a Social Ontology of Improvised Sound Work” and Mattin’s “Anti-Copyright: Why Improvisation and Noise Run Against the Idea of Intellectual Property” attempt to offer ideas for application of theory and music, to, as the editors write in the preface, “reappropriate our senses, our capacity to feel, our receptive powers; let’s start the war at the membrane! Alienated language is noise, but noise contains possibilities that may, who knows, be more effective than discursive, more enigmatic than dogmatic.” Fine. The trick though, and it is a trick sometimes successfully managed in the book, is to use alienating language—academic, socialist polemic, ideas about Copyleft and Anti-copyright—to talk about how alienated sources can be agents for liberation. Like Religion, any discussion of music sooner or later faces the problem of putting into language that which, if done right, transcends words.

Still, Noise & Capitalism accomplishes its goal of starting a slew of intellectual fires, posing questions impossible to solve in one sitting. Any such undertaking, especially these days, is necessary. There are pockets of awake resistance to the Animal Farm, and this is the latest salvo. Even if some of the essays in the book don’t succeed in making their point, there are many pieces here that will keep you up pondering , and in that sense this is a necessary work.

Tags: , ,

One Response to “Mike Wood-en kritika (thanks!!!)”

  1. Blanca Oraa Moyua Says:

    I appreciate your rewiew and all the information you give about Noise however you miss the point that Mattin is the one who has made the big job, chosing and compiling the texts of the musiciens. for three years, which means a lot.

Leave a Reply