21.12.05

Gossip is Philosophy

Kevin Kelly talks to the prototypical Renaissance 2.0 artist about why music has ceased to be the center of our cultural life, why art doesn't make any difference anymore, and why Brian Eno offers no resistance to seduction.

Let's say I was to give you a round-trip ticket to the past, when art really made a difference. Where would you go?

Africa is everything that something like classical music isn't. Classical - perhaps I should say "orchestral" - music is so digital, so cut up, rhythmically, pitchwise and in terms of the roles of the musicians. It's all in little boxes. The reason you get child prodigies in chess, arithmetic, and classical composition is that they are all worlds of discontinuous, parceled-up possibilities. And the fact that orchestras play the same thing over and over bothers me. Classical music is music without Africa. It represents old-fashioned hierarchical structures, ranking, all the levels of control. Orchestral music represents everything I don't want from the Renaissance: extremely slow feedback loops.

If you're a composer writing that kind of music, you don't get to hear what your work sounds like for several years. Thus, the orchestral composer is open to all the problems and conceits of the architect, liable to be trapped in a form that is inherently nonimprovisational, nonempirical. I shouldn't be so absurdly doctrinaire, but I have to say that I wouldn't give a rat's ass if I never heard another piece of such music. It provides almost nothing useful for me.


Interesting article/interview for the Eno fan...

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