Radical Philosophy aldizkariak argitaraturiko kritika Andrew McGettiganen esku.

As a supplement to the abstract theories of Peters, 
Noise & Capitalism devotes six of its eleven contribu
tions to concrete discussion of ‘free improvisation’ in
 music. It treats both the complex relation to jazz and 
its reaction to the dominant forms of musical space
 and experience. Peters is opposed to the valorization
 of jazz as an interstitial political practice dreaming
 of communion and empathy. However, by explicitly
 positioning free improvisation as a deliberate attempt
 to create an environment ‘free from the tradition of
 bandmasters, composers and notation as well as the
 emerging spectacular culture through which popular 
music was beginning to circulate’, this collection is
 better able to assess the stakes, successes and failures 
of that attempt and its continuation into the present
 Eddie Prévost summarizes well the position he
 has developed in other publications. He presents free 
improvisation as an alternative cultural form (marked
 by working relations between the musicians, which
‘counter the ethos’ characterizing capitalism). Two
key features of ‘normal music’ are emphasised, against
 which improvisation is distinguished: the score as the 
notation determining performance; composition and 
rehearsal as the point at which the technical problems
 of musical production are resolved in advance of
 performance. Improvisation eschews both, with the
 corollary that the hierarchical relations of produc
tion are displaced – performance is then a dialogical
 process of discovery for all participants. No longer
 hidebound to the creative genius of the composer,
‘we have to decide on the meaning of the practice’.
 In this way, its politics can be seen in its opposition 
to authority and celebrity: the marketing of named
 composers is resisted. In the ‘Social Ontology of
 Improvised Sound Work’, Bruce Russell produces a 
theoretical supplement to Prévost. He too rejects the 
figure of the composer, the place of the score, and the dominant modes of production and reproduction in
performance. Unlike Peters, he is keen to assert that a
coherent theoretical understanding of the activity can 
boost the practice; he mediates the claim through the
tradition of radical thought, so we have discussions of 
Lukács, Lefebvre and Debord rather than Heidegger.
 It is heartening here to see a considered reclamation 
of ‘praxis’ as the relevant term. 
The translation of Matthieu Saladin’s ‘Points of
 Resistance and Criticism in Free Improvisation’ opens
 a different perspective on the supposedly oppositional
 or resistant techniques of free improvisation. The
 article investigates how the contemporary, corporate 
desire for ‘hyper-flexibility’ combines with the new 
fondness for ‘horizonality’ in structures to mimic the 
practices of self-organization championed by Prévost
 and Russell. Indeed, the gathering of a changing bunch
 of musicians at Derek Bailey’s Company Week series 
looks to a certain perspective like the manner in
 which management consultancies rotate their staff on
‘projects’. Saladin underscores the point that the politi
cal positions or opinions of performers do not prevent 
their practices being the forerunners of contemporary
 capitalist practice: form abstracted from historical
 conditions is apolitical.
 David Toop has noted that it would be possible to
 listen to freely improvised performances and not hear 
it as music. In this way, improvisation is part of the 
confluence understood as ‘noise’. There is little head-
on consideration here of the other components: volume,
 cacophony or noisiness; resistance to signification; 
the incorporation of non-art materials into art; field
recordings; production of new compositional elements
 free from traditional instruments and their techniques; 
dissonance; splicing, sampling, and so on. What is
meant by ‘Noise’ varies across texts assembled without
 editorial oversight. The title is recognized to be an
 after thought and there is a general feel of opportunism
and pistonage. Several of the contributions are very
 slight: Mattin offers a loose anecdotal discussion of 
recording copyright and the commodification of improvised music; Matthew Hyland, in a recycled review of
 Watson’s Derek Bailey, expresses some surprise that
 Bailey ‘of all people’ was involved in founding a record
label, Incus. Both are idealists, failing to appreciate the
 centrality of the record as commodity to the history of
 improvisation in the twentieth century.
 Jessica Rylan, who builds her own commercially 
available synthesizers, is hardly the female pioneer 
Nina Power presents in her short essay – originally
 an interview. The history of electronic music includes 
figures such as ‘Bebe’ Barron, Delia Derbyshire, Eliane
Radigue, Pauline Oliveros and Wendy Carlos. Rylan
 does not stand comparison with them; she records for
 Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label and I suspect 
she would count as one of the hipster, ‘noisemaker
muffins’ whom Ben Watson targets in his essay, ‘Noise 
as Permanent Revolution’. Roused into comment by an 
overblown article in The Wire about great gigs, Watson 
is acutely aware of the manner in which noise can
 come to operate as a fashionable, niche category to 
be sold to poseurs. He persists in disputing The Wire’s 
insistence on neutral description, so as not to upset
 advertisers and big names or alienate purchasers. For
 him, music’s value lies in its ‘refusal to play the subservient role of ornament or divertissement: authentic
 music’s relation to truth, its antagonism to a merely 
pleasant night out’. Much noise fails this test – Watson
 seeks criticism that explains why particular efforts can 
be held to be radical as a ‘reasoned response to an
 unreasonable situation’.
 Ray Brassier offers this form of sustained engage
ment with two case studies in his essay, ‘Genre is
 Obsolete’ (an earlier version appeared in Multitudes).
 He is also alert to the dangers: 
Like the ‘industrial’ subculture of the late 1970s 
which spawned it, the emergence of ‘noise’ as a
 recognisable genre during the 1980s entailed a rapid 
accumulation of stock gestures, slackening the criteria for discriminating between innovation and cliché
to the point where experiment threatened to become
 indistinguishable from platitude.
 He presents a brief, but illuminating discussion of
 Tom Smith’s activities such as To Live and Shave 
in LA and the performance actionism of Runzel-
stern & Gurgelstock, where the discrete sonic events
 ‘leaven the freakish with the cartoonish’. Although
 Brassier opposes ‘genre’, what is really at stake is the 
transformation noise effects on our understanding of 
music and its relation to other arts and media. Do
Runzelstern & Gurgelstock organize crazed Gesamt
kunstwerke? I expect such a question would produce
 a bristling response, but Brassier’s insistence on the
‘unprecedented’ density and complex structuring of
 Smith’s The Wigmaker in 18th Century Williamsburg 
prompts the further question as to whether this form
 of composition (and the manner in which it challenges
 modes of reflection) places it at the edge of a different
 trajectory, extending Mahler’s Romantic conception of
t he symphony as the musical form which endeavours
 to encompass everything. 
Philosophical terrain is opened up between Watson
 and Brassier through the concept of ‘experience’.
 Brassier rejects it as a commodified category which
is here disrupted; Watson, following Adorno, sees 
such ‘system-breakdowns’ as experience, ‘the concept-
busting crisis which allows idea to change and new
 concepts and production to flourish’. Good editors
 would have spied this fruitful conflict and asked for 
more, perhaps at the expense of Csaba Toth’s essay ,
which bombards the reader with citations and names, 
often without concern for syntax or structure. It would
 be nice if this had a performative dimension, but I fear 
it is just another manifestation of bad academicism.
 Brassier hesitates to connect to the titular theme of
 capitalism, since socio-economic factors ‘are easier to 
invoke than to understand’. Howard Slater’s ‘Prisoners
 of the Earth Come Out! Notes Towards “War at the
 Membrane”’ would have benefited from such reticence.
 He delights in the word ‘abreaction’, and at times 
seems to suggest that a daily, cathartic dose of noise
 boosts our modes of resistance towards ‘endocolonial
 capital’. It must make life more exciting to think one’s 
listening habits are per se engaged in a war over
instincts and perception:
 Our willingness to abreact en masse, to decathect
 the ‘bad objects’ of capital and sift through affect,
in order to take control of our own becomings as
 we counter the use of ourselves and our desires as 
bio-productive materials of an anthropomorphised
 capital, is the most pleasurable music there is.
 This is a fantasy.
 Noise & Capitalism is a little too improvised, in 
the slapdash sense, to come together as a coherent 
book. As a symptom of what is produced by the new
school ties of virtual circuits, one might worry that 
this is as good as it gets, intellectually. Though the
 articles by Brassier, Watson, Prévost and Saladin are 
worth reading, the remainder, often recycled without 
warrant or acknowledgement, is poor. It is available 
freely as a download so it cannot be judged too 
harshly, though Cox and Warner’s Audio Culture
 (which I reviewed in RP 133) is far superior. Regarding improvisation, Derek Bailey’s own book, Improvisation: Its Nature and Practice in Music (1980), is 
still the vital reference.

5 Responses to “RADICAL PHILOSOPHY aipamena”

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  2. Quick Roundup « annehiggins Says:

    [...] http://blogs.arteleku.net/noise_capitalism/?p=318by working relations between the musicians, which ‘counter the ethos’ characterizing capitalism). Two key features of ‘normal music’ are emphasised, against which improvisation is distinguished: the score as the notation determining performance … available synthesizers, is hardly the female pioneer. Nina Power presents in her short essay – originally an interview. The history of electronic music includes figures such as ‘Bebe’ Barron, Delia Derbyshire, Eliane … [...]

  3. Carlton Says:

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  4. Amado Branagan Says:

    Good page content, makes the good work.

  5. Mundo virtual Says:

    I agree, we should stop it!

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