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Techno Schmechno: a postmodern approach to electronica

Uploaded by duprie37 on Sep 26, 2001

  1. In searching for a properly post-modern style of music, it may be better to look at the electronic music scene, which began with house music in the early to middle 80s, rather than at hip-hop. It is true that the hip-hop artist generally disappears into the narrative of the music to the extent that many of their lives are a direct reflection of what they sing about: gang violence, drugs, racism, alienation in the US, etc. but here already we encounter two problems. One is the existential choice of reading: if we do read these lives as reflected, or as ghostly risings out of formal lyrical narratives called rap and hip-hop, which lend to the narratives distinct anthropological and sociological connotations of a symbolic as opposed to structural order, or at least blur the concept ‘reality’ (qua the signified) with rapping (qua the signifier), then one perhaps makes the mistake of naturalising signs which are altogether become ambiguous, to the extent we have blurred an idea about ‘nature’ with a structural and then formal aspect of the narrative anyway. To do this makes the historical or ‘real’ experiences of gang violence, drugs, racism etc. little more than lame stereotypes or pastiches of the rap, now become Rap, or somewhat almighty in terms of its ‘myth’. Whence, though originate these themes? To read as above, is altogether too much myth construction. Either the reality of experience is annulled as signified, in favour of structural or formal readings, or rap narratives suck the lifeblood out of experience and turn it into symbolism. The other way then to read hip-hop, and this is where one encounters the second problem, is to commence with real experience: to see this art as a function of the artist's experience, or even to annul the artistic dimension in favour of pure type of expression: cathartic, violent, confronting - this may salvage a political dimension, but that's not very post-modern really. Nevertheless the primary elements for hip-hop to cross over into post-modernism were there, and post-modernism here primarily connotes a logical conclusion, which makes explicit the absence of a delineation between a staged performance and a real event. These elements should however include not only critical analyses of lyrical content and its performance, but, and which is lacking, also the formal dynamics of mechanical production and reproduction as triggered by such technologies as synthesisers, samplers, sequencers and drum...

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Uploaded by:   duprie37

Date:   09/26/2001

Category:   Art And Music

Length:   16 pages (3,493 words)

Views:   1760

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