mardi 26 octobre 2010

Nomenclature of the sound postures (currently used in the visual arts) by Marie-Pierre Bonniol

“In our noisy culture, - not only the jets above our heads or the enormous trucks on our roads, but also the psychic noise generated by the bankruptcy of our institutions, the social conventions, of morals, all this crescendo of a decaying civilization - in this culture of the noise, it seems that one can still only find peace in the middle of one larger din, in which one creates his own individual sound and a new possibility of direct communication. ”

Sound as plastic matter: if the history of the art of the twentieth century were rich in changes and schisms, the incorporation of sound in the visual was one of the important revolutions of artistic creation, even if it means becoming a new standard of the contemporary art, where it would be from now on “unthinkable to imagine a collective exhibition without a sound installation. ” However, the use of sound data could not have been accomplished without the greater use of technology in the past century, particularly consequent research with regard to the reproduction, the treatment and the diffusion of sound, like the appearance and the rapid progress of electroacoustic techniques and the exploration of timbres. Consequently, the plastic practices which result from this can have multiple ends: sound sculpture, sound installation, radiophonic support, sound environment, performance, recorded sound, the indexing of methods and musical representations, multi-media and new technologies, phonography, etc.

In order to be able to peacefully engage our research into the presence of the musical sign in the plastic field, today it is a question of us giving a progress report on the sound postures and of defining the attitudes which can induce the use - impossible to circumvent - of media resulting from recent technologies in the plastic treatment of sound: Which creative margin offers the use of these media? With which aesthetic autonomy can it be claimed that sound works? How should the main medium be considered? Similarly: What are the semantic limits of the plastic and musical fields in this case?

Thus we engaged in a classification without giving the affect of the possible attitudes of the plastic act, incorporating the sound and claim their possibilities with a relative exhaustiveness, at least from the point of view of the visual arts, being our field of study of origin. This argument can have a reducing appearance that brings us down to reducing the value of intervals and the description of a park of hybrid postures. In the same way, it is essential to keep in memory the proclaimed autonomy of the artists, who are the last to wish that their practices be reduced to the canonical reference marks of a discipline.

We chose three poles of reflexion: the video soundtrack as placed sound (composition), sound devices as "mise en espace" (organization) and the disc as cultural product (diversion); three supporting arts. Among the attempts at classification of sound postures, we are aware of that of German Rene Block, whose musicological configuration recalls an advance of the Pythagorean design of acoustic environments with a real clearness of connection. Our reflexion is of a different order, through the point of view of the plastic, and a prevalence of media in the practice.

Equally, we will articulate part of our reflexion - so, the relationship with musical fields - in a diagram which can emphasize the exchanges between the practice of the supports concerned and erudite and popular music, as it is from the point of view of the tools, the methods, the repertory or the lexicon.

lundi 25 octobre 2010

Interview - Jonah Schwartz

Let's widen the noise boundaries a second to include a folk-inspired songster, Philadelphian, bicycle activist and general lover-of-a-good-knees-up, Jonah Schwartz.

I. Name:


los palos borrachos

II. Name of completed projects, projects under way, and what you play:

springlizard, los palos borrachos, and a band with which we have been playing since may, but we still don't have a name. so..if there are any suggestions...

los alamos

III. Influences:

lucho bermudez, thomas mapfumo, ian mackaye, wallace stevens, john fahey, harry smith....people who have an uncompromising sense of artistic purpose, i guess.

IV. What motivates you?:

anxiety and love, and also walking.

Handmade homemade CDR "Dreams of the wolf", and its lushious vinyl sister below

V. Friend bands:

betty confettiiiiii!!!!!!! y warning with the snake, mariano rodriguez, rolando bruno, dick el demasiado, azur, mama rosin, amoeba

VI. What’s your music like from a political point of view:

in the sense that music is a serious democratizer, we like that lots of different people can listen to us. internet and such, etc. but we don't sing about politics. and musically i don't know if we are proactive or subversive in a political sense. journalists tend to like to disagree, and read messages that were perhaps unintended. that's what critics do, though. and that's alright. people used to say with my former band (los alamos) that singing in english was subversive. which is and isn't true. subversive with respect to the dominant paradigm of pop music in argentina, sure. but we were (and continue to be) so disinterested in commercial music that it almost seems a moot point.


VII. Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

the tomato of 2010 is so far from a recognizable source of vitamins that i would call it something more akin to a red water balloon.

VIII. Instruments:

acoustic guitar, mandolin, harmonica, clarinet, charango.

IX. What particular quality would you give to the sound that you like?

i don't think i understand this question. aren't we already making music? isn't the proof in the blood pudding?

X. What period of history has been a significant catalyst for the birth or development of the music you make?

i like thinking about history. but i am pretty happy to be alive now. clearly. because otherwise i wouldn't be alive at all. i like todorov and his history of the conquest of the americas. and i am reading about medievalness too. but again, and lest i become pedantic, better to be alive now.

XI. How do you combine your visual aesthetic with the aural?

whenever you have two things that should be related, people automatically look for the link, and form this kind of dialectic between them. in the case of springlizard, or really any of the other bands i play in, few of these things are actually consciously premeditated. when we released "dreams of the wolf," everybody except for one reviewer (julio nusdeo) wrote about how it sounded like we were sitting on a porch in alabama, drinking moonshine and ogling our sisters. because it is folk-sounding music and in english. and maybe because we have sideburns. and it made me think that these critics had either not listened to the album we had made, or had a very skewered idea of what southern american music typically sounds like. so clearly we need to redefine our visual+audio aesthetic to make it more congruent.

XII. What do you think about the production and edition of records in Argentina?

i don't participate in the system of legal releases in this country because it is incredibly economically unsustainable for small to mid-size bands. for a series of reasons, which i have thought about a lot but won't expound upon here, bands today still think it is important to spend 10,000 pesos to release 1,000 cds which will, in all likelihood, not even sell. my friends and i live by hazlo tu mismo. fuck sadaic, fuck the major labels. they will all be dead within 15 years anyway.

XIII. Which was the most popular pop song in the year you were born?

i am not one of these savant-memory people (not to mention i can't remember the year in which i was born (memories of the year, that is. i was born in 1980)), so according to google, this would be "call me" by blondie. could i chalk this up to lazy journalism?

XIV. Where is a musical group in Argentina heading, which doesn’t enjoy the same open medias and opportunities like those of, for example, Europe, the United States?

they could make music that they themselves like and fully believe in. who cares about press coverage? it is a means to a totally unsure and often insignificant end. but i guess it's cool for people that aren't yr friends or parents to listen to yr music.

XV. Describe the best concert you´ve seen in your life.

os mutantes, 2007 or 2008, i can't remember. they played for free at 3 in the morning in the center of sao paolo in the street. there were millions of people there, something like 15 blocks of human-ness. it was their first show in sao paolo since the 70s. not only did they totally rock (and not like these typical half-corpses from the 60s), but the level of emotional intensity that mutantes generated was so high, at one point i looked around and there were dozens of people in the crowd crying hysterically. holy shit. it was like a multi-million person orgasm.

Download Jonah's DJ set