Category Archives: krazy kritics

S.LEM

perfectvacuum

a big shout out to the Mudd Up! commentors who recommended Stanislaw Lem — I finally found time to read him, and the title I’ve begun, A Perfect Vacuum (Amazon|Google Books), is incredible. It’s a collection of reviews of nonexistent books, erudite and extremely funny. (The best bookstore in Barcelona takes its name from one of the books here discussed: Gigamesh.)

As explained in the A Perfect Vacuum’s opening review of A Perfect Vacuum by Stanislaw Lem (tip of the iceberg, this):

Reviewing nonexistent books is not Lem’s invention; we find such experiments not only in a contemporary writer, Jorge Luis Borges (for example, his “Investigations of the Writings of Herbert Quaine”), but the idea goes further back – even Rabelais was not the first to make use of it. A Perfect Vacuum is unusual in that it purports to be an anthology made up entirely of such critiques. Pedantry or joke, this methodicalness? We suspect the author intends a joke; nor is this impression weakened by the Introduction – long-winded and theoretical – in which we read: “The writing of a novel is a form of the loss of creative liberty. . . . In turn, the reviewing of books is a servitude still less noble. Of the writer one can at least say that he has enslaved himself – by the theme selected. The critic is in a worse position: as the convict is chained to his wheelbarrow, so the reviewer is chained to the work reviewed. The writer loses his freedom in his own book, the critic in another’s.

THANK YOU FOR BEING BLACK, OR, IF YOU DONT LIKE SLUMMING YOU DONT LIKE CLIMBING

All of the reggae covers of Police/Sting songs I’ve heard are great. Freshest name on the list:

Junior Reid – Synchronicity

junior-reid

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Team Moji flew from Harlem to Copenhagen to party when I played there, and we were the only black people on the boat i think and a Danish woman came up to my friend Erin and said: you have a great smile. thank you for being black!

I was like wow and Moji said to me: “i LIKE being thanked for being black when i’m in europe. yup, it is a singular experience, a real treat, and something you don’t really get uptown (where everyone is black and already sick of the black people they know).”

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anyhow, let me get b(l)ack to making fun of a [correction!] Anonymous Poster on W&W’s blog, which was the original intention of this post. He expressed this sentiment, doesnt matter which way the waters flow so I mirrored it darkly:

“…Refined European polka and waltz started being exported to the Texas area in the late 19th century, where it was welcomed by uneducated Mexicans, always in search of the newest first-world dance beat to mimic and ape, last season it was the waltz, now it’s polka! These Mexicans call it Norteño.

“It’s a shame seeing these Mexicans take the glorious German accordian and refashion it to their own rural, underdeveloped needs. Completely unaware of the polka classics, the wonderful songwriting of the Volks, ignorant of Wagner and our traditions, the Mexicans have appropriated our instruments and pulled them down into the realm of the popular…

“I freely acknowledge that my general visceral reaction against working-class usages of cosmopolitan elements grows out of the confirmed suspicion that these things are not usually carried out in the sense of submission and homage, but rather, as you say above, cross-class climbing and an indigenous craving for a mediated refinement / urbanity / sublimity [insert desired quality of our population here]. . .

THE ICE CREAM CONE CONTINUUM

Several times i’ve started to write a critique of the UK journalistic conceit of a ‘hardcore continuum’, but stopped. If you haven’t heard the term, cease reading now & save yourself some mental space. Word.

icecream-coneicecreamcone2rgb200px-Ice cream cone

[T.H.I.C.C.C?]

I mention it here because, along with Word-the-Cat, BokBok just summed up all I would have said in this excellent post:

“I’m not normally one to be so dismissive, but isn’t the hardcore continuum just a way for older guys to relate to these off-the-wall kids making totally new original stuff that, aesthetically at least, bears little resemblance to the genres that the ‘Nuum designates as their supposed predecessors.”

Yes, it is.

To clarify: the ‘continuum’ notion is one among several that can supply a useful general overview of UK electronica/club migration patterns.

But more often than not, it gets used as a conservative canon in drag. In these cases, it’s a rather blatant attempt by critics to secure their formerly-relevant areas of specialization as the proper ones, usually by employing offensively reductionist binaries, rigid historicization & classification, and an (alarmist) overvaluing of drugs’ role in musical subcultures. Moves which alow them to import the same old interpretive frameworks, suppressing the wonder of unwieldy new variables to deliver the same old answers.

I don’t have time for stuff like this so i never wrote the post, but this week a few people wrote it for me…

note: I’ve read all the post-structuralists in K-Punk’s toolkit, and it strikes me as bizarrely inappropriate that he invokes Luce Irigaray in a “nuum” article reinforcing simplistic MALE vs FEMALE readings/classifications of club music. Écriture féminine his Fact piece is not. Even if the mistake presents itself as homage to another writer’s refried ideas.

As Chris says in his great continuum critique: “music is music, everything is everything (reductive yes, but liberating in its absolute reduction). we don’t need to map our own binaries onto music (screwface/smiley face — masculine/feminine — skunk/MDMA). music takes you past that.”

And I just saw John Eden’s hilarious, spot-on piece at Uncarved.

Re: actually talking to bassline producers, the mighty Dexplicit will stop by my WFMU show next week to drop an exclusive mix session, which we’ll follow up with an interview.