THE UNBUYABLE SUBLIME

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Two weeks ago Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney asked me to contribute a piece on her NPR blog, Monitor Mix. She was doing a series on ‘End of the Decade’; I looked back across a broad landscape.

You can read my post here: Free Music and the Unbuyable Sublime

It includes the following four sentences:

  • A decade, in music, is a terrifyingly long time.
  • Sounds now move faster than the speed of context.
  • Music confounds value.
  • I want the giants to fall even faster so we can see what weird flowers start blooming in the spaces left vacant.

3 thoughts on “THE UNBUYABLE SUBLIME”

  1. Nice post, Jace. I love the line ‘Sounds now move faster than the speed of context’. I’ve been trying to grasp the issue of speed and the oft labelled ‘hypermobility’ of music in the age of the mp3 and broadband. However, aren’t there many speeds and temporalities, slow mo as well as rapidshare? For example, blogs that over months and years archive sounds of a particular scene, genre, subgenres in micro-details tend also to sediment knowledge, maybe embedding a certain kind of context, slowing down its elaboration. The logic of the archive demands that too. This goes on alongside the recombinant modalities of remix culture etc.

  2. good points Nabeel – I definitely agree, and you bring up a lot of things I was alluding to with “more memory, more forgetting” and the bit about 1970s Central African music blogs curated by Europeans.

    It would be good to keep on thinking about the logic of the archive / places where knowledge sediments (love that metaphor!). My initial thought is that while these spaces (detailed online archives of all sorts of sound & its discussions) certainly slow things down, they are nodes in the slippery digital rapidshare space where, as soon as useful info gathers, it is accessed and dispersed along increasingly unpredictable and fragmented lines; once the sounds leave their archival sanctuary, the game is wide, wide open. Archives continue to serve their purpose, but the roads leading to and from them and getting faster and weirder.

    That said, I see remix culture and archival or contextual weight/slowness as being quite similar — both instances of the hive mind thinking, digesting, deciding which parts are worth ‘saving’ either by blogging & thinking about or by remixing for new uses…

  3. It was really a remarkable commentary, I’ve been showing it to people. Thanks for pointing it all out, and with *such* style. I look forward to hearing your music at some point!

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