Nov 8, 2004

More on Agit-tronics

I ended up writing a very lenghty reply to Robert's comment on the frist Agit-tronics post, so I thought I'd just put it on the main page.

Robert said...
"Paul, what do u think of the idea that making sound for its own sake IS a political statement?"

Good question.

I would say it definitely can be depending on the circumstances. But in and of itself, the act of making sound is not necessarily a politcal gesture. It can even be a diversion - pouring all of one's energy into a "statement" that may not contain any referrents for listeners. Studio based musics have a tendency to breed an apolitical, boys-and-their-machines atmosphere. Simon Reynolds described it in terms of "the boy's-own aura of anal retentive expertise, the vague, ill-defined conviction that something radical was at stake in the music." I'm implicating myself here as well.

I think early Jungle is a good example of a music that was contestational on an aural level - a sonically vicious response to social conditions in Britain during the recession. Its politics were most definitely implicit in its sound. The problem with implicit politics is that they are more easily obscured by sonic fetishism. Recently, I've been into Soundmurderer but I've also been asking myself what is the point of these virtuosic drill and bass-isms and retro ragga gunplay samples. On one level it's fun and nostalgic. On another it's exoticising and wanky. But I when I heard SM's "Badman" set against George Bush samples in Aaron Spectre's "No More Destruction" mix it breathed new life into it for me. The empty violence of the track was captured and politicised.

What I'm hoping for then, is music with explicit, articulated politics that reduce the emphasis on auteurism and develop a sense of responsibility toward fostering a culture of resistance. This perspective may have something to do with my musical awakening coinciding with the rise of both political Hip Hop and Fugazi at the turn of the 1990s. I see something similar in some of the Electro-Feminist Punk bands (EG: Le Tigre, Tracy + the Plastics, Lesbians on Ecstasy - don't say "Electroclash") or a group like Asian Dub Foundation. But it's hard to come by.

I'm not saying that everyone has to do it. I'm not saying I dislike music that is not overtly poliitcal. But I do think that, given the political climate, some people might think of putting their beats where their mouths are. Including myself.


Blogger Robert said...

sweet response...very well thought out

8:20 PM

Blogger Robert said...

sweet response...very well thought out

was actually hoping some others may respond, too...maybe a job for Dissensus?

8:21 PM

Blogger paul autonomic said...

Thanks :) I was actually hoping the same. Maybe I'll shift the discussion over there and see what happens.

BTW, are you "Rob" on Dissensus?

11:46 PM

Blogger Robert said...

no, im satanmcnugget on dissensus

1:14 PM

Blogger Robert said...

no, im satanmcnugget on dissensus

2:12 PM

Blogger paul autonomic said...

Crazy! I wonder if we've crossed paths before at any sort of event.

And many thanks for the "Cool Blog Alert." Seriously, I really appreciate that. I'll be putting up links to my favourite blogs as soon as I have time so I'll be sure to link loveecstasycrime.

6:15 PM

Blogger Robert said...

i think it is more than likely we have met at some event or other...i know a number of people involved in Free Tekno, both here in Toronto, as well as a few from Ottawa (who shall remain nameless, natch)

i wld probably stand out a bit if only because iam older than most of the people involved in that in my mid-30s...also have a huge scar under my left eye and am built like a mailbox

and thanks so much for the shout-out, too!

7:34 PM

Blogger luca lucarini said...

big up the canadian kru inside! in the interest of repping my hood i'm putting up links to your blogs on mine.

9:55 PM

Blogger Robert said...

hey alright...didnt know u had a blog, luca

and yeah ive linked you up as well...thanks!

2:20 PM

Blogger paul autonomic said...

Respect in every aspect. Canada crew every time.

3:52 PM


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