[microsound] gaza drone

Stephen Hastings-King roachboy at gmail.com
Sun Jan 18 22:46:09 EST 2009

thanks for the interesting responses.
i'm thinking about them and will maybe write more tomorrow.

i like the gang of four piece.

i've been writing a series on partial-determinist ontology and sound--a
couple of them just came out here:


the longer one (the spurious landscape) is a full project----it's long--but
i'd be most interested to hear what you make of it.
the other is more a process piece, working my way into cognitive
i've been looking to develop ways to feed this stuff back onto itself.
this is as far as i've managed to get.

interesting stuff, though--i'll send along more when i'm more awake.

On Sun, Jan 18, 2009 at 6:55 PM, <jcespinosa at aol.com> wrote:

>  great exchange.
>  -----Original Message-----
> From: Kim Cascone <kim at anechoicmedia.com>
> To: microsound at microsound.org
> Sent: Sun, 18 Jan 2009 4:44 pm
> Subject: [microsound] gaza drone
>  thanks for this post, kim.
>  i have been thinking about this question since the initial post was
> made.  i
> wasn't interested by the clip because it seemed to me more or less
> traditional program music, the sort of thing that would have a score
> including sequences for foley guys who would provide appropriate
> clippety-cloppity sounds when the horses on which the fox hunters are
> riding
> zip across the pastoral environment just before the basses and tympani
> start
> a froth to announce a coming thunderstorm.
> this format of propaganda takes many forms -- the slideshow with folksong
> seemed to have been born in the 60's - when multimedia slide-show
> presentations were all the rage
> [think elaborate worlds faire exhibits circa 1965 or so]
> I can remember seeing similar things on TV e.g. Smothers Brothers show
> the Vietnam war nurtured this style via 'protesters' or 'peaceniks' finding
> a way to express their views by appropriating techniques used in propaganda
> in fact there was an essay written about the semiotics of Jane Fonda's
> newspaper photo of her sitting in a tank with some VietCong - I don't
> remember the writer (Barthes, Sontag?)
> but I still think Godard was close to achieving an effective mix of
> politics and 'glitch' - i.e. the sudden, jarring collage of visuals and
> disembodied sound
>   the problem with that, beyond
> it's tedium, is that it presents a flatly representational surface at a
> point where such surfaces are themselves politically (and cognitively) a
> Problem.
> this is the role of propaganda: to simplify/reduce complex subjects then
> categorize them into easily digestible labels
> and while the Gaza YouTube video was considered out of context for the
> microsound list
> it might have been the cartoon-like surface that led people to dismiss it
> out of hand
> also, there is a cultural naivete when being presented with 60's style
> politics - one that induces a feeling of 'embarrassment' for some
> although Obama seems to have resurrected a Web2.0 simulacra of this using
> the peace symbol and an abstracted 60's style poster art
> i think it's particularly difficult to make direct political statements
> through frameworks that see in representation, and the conceptual apparatus
> that enables it, an ideological problem.
> this is why there is so little political statement in experimental music
> there have been some interesting attempts of political expression by
> Fredric Rzewski, Ultra-Red, Cardew, Art & Language, AMM, Gang of Four, Test
> Dept etc.
> but none have really taken hold of the publics imagination in any way that
> deconstructs 'false consciousness'
> see:
> http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/55565/gang_of_four_and_pop_music_as_marxist.html
>  i thinks this generates problems
> not only for bourgeois forms of representation (the conceptual apparatus
> that you see made semi-material through television coverage of the world,
> the tight focus on particular sequences of events, the erasure of context,
> it's replacement with the voice-over which tells you what the sequence
> you're watching "really means" in terms which are synched in their
> arbitrariness to the arbitrariness of decontextualized
> factoid-reality...whence the operative power of the discourse of "terror")
> and its marxian inversion.  i think the idea of "what's really happening"
> is
> a problem, one that opens onto ontological-register work---and newer forms
> of sonic organization can be framed as performing such work in that the
> enact alternative approaches to information and it's organization--but this
> material (i suppose---i can't think of a better term at the moment, even as
> i know this is not a good choice) doesn't operate itself as argument or
> demonstration.  it requires the development of new analytic frames,built
> along what amounts to an alternate ontology, that can operate alongside new
> approaches to sound organization in a relation through which one type of
> activity extends and informs the other.
> the best political audio I've heard are the Chomsky lectures -- he seems to
> dig deep enough to get closer to what is 'really' going on
>  and it seems to me that there is considerable distance to be traversed
> before such projects link to more conventional forms of politics, of
> action,
> if they do.
> agreed -- many of them have never even left the gate so to speak much less
> arrived at any definitive link
>  it might be that the furthest "we" can go is to enact and conceptualize
> alternate ways of thinking and seeing
> very often though these 'think different' ways of seeing/thinking are
> rendered moot since any attempt to be outside the system
> (affording perspective) requires money/power which then places you back in
> that system
> its the age old paradox of political commentary
>  ----these may end up being
> self-referential---they may not issue into a way of thinking politics that
> we know about--or it might.  either way, it seems to me there's an
> interesting set of adventures to be had, new modes of failure to be
> explored.
> also agreed -- it's difficult to include political content in one's sound
> work given the context 'electronica' has: hedonistic, bourgeoisie, leisure,
> workers weekend catharsis...etc
> then 'electro-acoustic' music has an academia link and represents an
> intellectual class that is currently not in vogue in the US
> witness the rampant anti-intellectualism encountered here from time to time
> and this presents yet another conundrum: where to find a platform that
> hasn't been leached of its ability to transmit messages without being
> delivered coated in 'cartoon-sugar' on its way to the receiver (sorry for
> invoking this communications model - especially after pointing out that it
> is woefully inaccurate and simplistic)
>  i have trouble talking about gaza sometimes.
> it seems to me a massive confirmation of the ways fanon described the
> dynamics of colonialism as a process that corrodes occupier and occupied,
> that issues into a kind of psychotic space structured by types of
> pseudo-rationality.
> and it is exactly this psychotic space might be the place from where
> real political content can flow
> one excellent example was Thomas Ashcraft: 'The Sounds of Dogs Eating The
> Faces Off Of Corpses In Iraq'
> *http://www.heliotown.com/Soundfields_From_Iraq_2007.html*
> *
> *
> it is this psychotic space (think: 'Apocalypse Now') that is bolted on to
> the side of post-modernism's fractured narrative
> and one that could very well use microsound, glitch to help shape content
> the accident or concept of failure intersects with the concepts of
> disorientation, disembodiment brought about thru informational overload
> which also adds to the inability to 'know' reality via simulacra and
> mediation
> perhaps one could count the 400 fewer children who are
> alive in gaza after these past 3 weeks and arrange them as steps in a proof
> that leads in this direction.
> Gaza is a place of disorientation and psychosis - the children still alive
> are permanently scarred by this
>  this seems to me to take you beyond folksongs that tell you earnestly
> that
> situation in the world x really sucks.
> yes - I guess what I was saying was that the YouTube video is a symptom of
> a larger machine - one that afford us all
> a privileged lifestyle, manipulated buying habits, predilections towards
> technological arts and objects, and leisure time to consume and produce
> artifacts made with this technology
> it is this very machine that churns out this content which provides a
> surplus of psychic insulation and mirrors the technique corporate media uses
> to direct our thoughts and opinions
> but that it found its way into the context of microsound is very
> interesting and raises many issues that are very worthy of discussion
>  =
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