Friday, 18 December 2015

Slides from my talk at 3hd, 'What is the Musical Object in the 21st Century?'

Here are the slides from my recent talk at Creamcake's 3hd festival in Berlin. This one was a bit more freeform, so apologies if the discussion threads are a bit unclear from them. It was a great festival altogether, with a great line-up of performances too - there was a write-up about it on AQNB.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Blogpost for Verso: On Music and Folk Politics

I've written a blogpost - click here to read it - for Verso reflecting on some of the aesthetic implications of the critique of 'folk politics' in their new book by Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams, Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work:

When, in Inventing the Future, Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams critique the collection of tendencies within the contemporary left they call 'folk politics,' they could also be lamenting the aesthetics that now dominates those areas of popular music that were once progressive. Whether it's underground, or 'indie,' or even happens to be in the charts, contemporary popular music routinely 'chooses the familiarities of the past over the unknowns of the future;... habitually chooses the small over the large' and 'value[s] withdrawal or exit rather than building a broad counter-hegemony'. For independent music as in folk politics, 'organisations and communities are to be transparent, rejecting in advance any conceptual mediation, or even modest amounts of complexity' and both 'emphasis[e] the local and the authentic, the temporary and the spontaneous, the autonomous and the particular'. Srnicek and Williams show that these strategies arose and achieved much in the special political circumstances of the mid-twentieth century, and again, as aesthetic strategies in popular music, they arose during the same period in the countercultural atmosphere of jazz, rock, punk and, indeed, folk musics. And for both folk politics and folk-political music, the time has come to invent what happens next...