muzik non stop

Life goes on, está semana estaré tocando en el Mofo Bar con los Guaycura Sounds (es su despedida, se van a una mini gira por el sur) y La Sonrisa Vertical. Si pueden, caigánle.

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  1. Esto es Post-Nortec:

    On the significance of a new [regional] sound

    It seems both taxing and redundant to restate the various cases that have been made against the state of popular music of this decade. (For a more recent point of reference, one needn’t look further than Fitzgerald and Sherburne’s respective, albeit similar, diagnoses of dance music here and here).Though to be fair, the preposition ‘against’ implies a sort of antagonism, and perhaps even hostility, towards the subject in question. This may be somewhat severe an assumption, but there is a clear sense in which longing, regret, and yes, gloom, permeate the content of such writings. What is it exactly that’s being missed? Or rather, what should we consider that such music is being held against?Derivative as it may seem, the ongoing process of segretation in music is as good a place as any to start. Though the recent presidential election seemingly redefined the formerly uncomfortable subject of race as relevant political discourse–particularly among the younger, presumably more politically-sensitive demographic–there is still a strong case to be made for the existence of racial segregation, if the current state of pop culture is any indication. Ever since post-punk’s “polyracial/polyrhythmic mutantopia” dissipated some time in the mid-eighties, musicians have been content to dwell in their respective comfort zones. The result is an almost completely segregated musical climate, one that clearly differentiates “white” and “black” sounds. What this ultimately amounts to is the music being stripped of its sense of urgency, of conflict and tension, which are the foundation of all great art. Another angle, one more pertinent to the current state of European dance music, would be to consider the problem as regional. Geography has continually played an important role in the development of new musical styles. In this sense, however, the term itself is less a physical parameter than an ideological one, as Simon Reynolds is keen to point out, particularly in respect to sense of community which music is wont to provide:“Thinking about Gas recently I realised that tribalism in music is a form of quasi-nationalism (a tribe basically is a small nation), something that offers all the excitement of collective singlemindness and patriotic fervour with none of the suspect real-world aspects. It’s an idea that rises to the surface of techno-rave’s consciousness every so often, with slogans like “Rave Nation” or “Jungle Nation” or “Garage Nation”. And as I’ve noted before, there was a time when I’d have happily put “junglist” on my passport.”The concept of music as community is far from novel, ranging as far back as African tribal rites a few millennia ago. Yet we’ve seen such a phenomenon repeating as a constant pattern throughout musical history, and this is especially true of popular music. Rock n’ Roll, contrived as it might have been, was synonymous with identity, a sensibility which spurred the eventual rise of counter-culture in the late sixties. More recent examples could include House music, a style deliberately created as a sort of ‘haven in music’, hence the familiar nature of its name. The recurrence of such a sentiment, one could argue, is a clear indication of the music itself, inseparable from its substance. Thus, we might conclude, that without such a feature, the music itself might have never surfaced, at least not in the manner that it did.Reynolds goes on to provide at least some form of explanation for why this is:“What’s the appeal of this pseudo-patriotism? Surely it has something to do with globalisation; with the deterritorialising effect of transnational capital; with the erosion of earlier forms of solidarity and collective purpose, e.g. trade unions; the longing for belonging. The music-based or subcultural forms of nationalism offer a softcore surrogate version of what political nationalism offers: identity, community, a sense of values that transcend those of the market.”And perhaps more importantly, he states:“Being a genre patriot, a member of a vibe-tribe, asserts a relationship with music that goes beyond simply consuming it, beyond use value.”Here lies what I think to be the most severe difficulty facing modern music. The need for music simply isn’t as apparent with current styles as it has been in previous times. The music listener has been gradually conditioned–through such recent commodities as the digitization of music, services as iTunes and Rhapsody, the emergence of the iPod and so forth–to consume the music in the same manner as one would any other product. This relegates the role of music to something of the same value as, say, a Reese’s chocolate, the latest Hollywood blockbuster, or a pair of brand name sneakers. In consumption, there simply is no distinction between the various commodities that are offered to the consumer, as they are taken for their use value, as Reynolds indicates. Thus, the role of music is almost completely obliterated, if not entirely so.The ardent listener is hardly oblivious of such perils (read: here), but taking steps to prevent such perils isn’t always in the best interest of the artist (read: here). This presents an interesting conflict for both the musician and the listener. Essentially, it amounts to the idea of music falling prey to “the consumerist culture of late capitalist societies based on shallow individualism and self-gratification,” to quote one blogger. To sum it up nicely: money.But, has this always been the case? Surely one wouldn’t doubt so, if asked to call to mind figures as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, who essentially garnered their audiences through such corporate machinations. But what about something like Detroit Techno? We’re artists as compelled to “hit it big” while producing the music, or was the compulsion just an unfortunate byproduct of record executives catching on to its commercial potential? These are difficult questions, and they yield even murkier responses.What this writer proposes, then, is far from radical mending. If anything, it is rather a conservative approach. There is at this time, more than ever, a great need for a new, regional sound, which essentially maintains the tribalistic aspects of music, while preventing it from becoming a commodity. This latter point is more difficult to make, given the premises of the argument. The consumable attributes of a certain music, besides emerging from partnerships between artists and corporations, result from a process of commodification, which a sound undergoes. This creates a music with no clearly identifiable roots.The recent emergence of the Blog-house sound in Tijuana (a city that bore as regional and original an act as Nortec Collective) is more than the seedy residue of globalization. It is an intellectual and creative poverty (read: here and here) spurred forth by a generation that has been brought up knowing music as nothing more than a consumable product. Shameless emulation of American and European styles, rooted as it might be in Mexico’s own culture, is the result of producing and selling music as a commodity.Though more cynical readers might perceive it as exhausting, the notion that music essentially belongs to the people, not as a product to be consumed but as a thread bound to the very fabric of their lives, is one that has withheld every possible permutation of rhythm and sound. To note a particular example, Techno was far from just a sound being produced to be bought and sold. It stood for the flesh and blood of Detroit. Its relentless pulse simply was the people, the city, the history and the sentiment, all coming together to form a unique experience, one that was shared by both the artists and the listeners. This is, I think, the point that is often less explicitly made. Music, like any other art form, is conceived and thrives in experience.

    – Reuben Torres, labelhead of the new Tijuana-San Diego sound.

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    Aquí nos encontramos los que escupimos y cupimos, los que dejan abierta la puerta y sonríen como farolitos. What’s happen now? [sic] Alguien tenía que poner on-line el cruel circo de anuncios fortuitos. Detonar la bomba, porque sí y porque ya no hay tiempo para agobiarse, la pena ajena nunca fue un pretexto, tan sólo un yield de liga intertextual. Una falsa esperanza. Cómplices, cercados, envueltos en celofán y cristal, arropados por la inconsciencia, bendecidos por el alcohol y esa cosa siniestra [voluntad propia]. ¿Vamos a explotar o qué? Necesitamos algo más que inseguridad, necesitamos dinamitar la ciudad. (Ubertrip, Moho 2003)


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