Posts Tagged ‘dan warburton’


Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Liburuaren aipamen kritiko eta zabala, Paris Transatlantic aldizkari digital bikainak argitaratua, eta Dan Warburtonek idatzia. Eskerrik asko.

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recycling going on here (though I imagine maybe the editors would prefer to call it détournement): Ray Brassier’s Genre Is Obsolete originally appeared in Multitudes #28 in 2007, and Mattin’s liner notes to Going Fragile, his 2006 Formed album with that well-known Noise musician Radu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.