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Author Topic: Effects of "acknowledgements" in listening noise?  (Read 667 times)
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FreakAnimalFinland
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« on: May 04, 2021, 07:30:08 AM »

Was listening yesterday PERSONA NON GRATA. What a great name for project, simply as it seems to describes well the status of this 90’s noise maker! I think it is interesting discussion: What is the role of acknowledgement?

As example, Merzbow artificial invagination, that I listened that couple times last week. It is just so great as-is, but also perhaps notion that it is collectively acknowledged among peers as among the best, must be unconsciously some kind of element. Out of many noise releases, one grabs some particular title. Listening something that is canonized and worshipped collectively.  I do not remember what interview I was reading, but there was person talking about listening music, expressing how boring it would be if nobody listen the same stuff. Ability to communicate about stuff you listen, being quite crucial part of experience.

However, like talking about Persona Non Grata, there must be something else than "herd mentality", since also having something great playing, that nobody else seems to know or appreciate, creates other kind of experience. The feeling of listening copy of numbered hand made VHS box packaged... one of 35 copies in existence. Not even listed in discogs, which often indicates it didn't reach much people or is considered so valuable to be listed to be sold. Whether I want or not, it does add to feeling of listening. Who else is listening to PNG?! Who even cares? Blazen Y Sharp or Mr.Natural was perhaps not ”popular”, but mr. Sharps solo works as PNG you literally hear NEVER mentioned. It has even nothing to do that it would be some sort of expensive and sought after cult item, but simply fairly unknown piece of art someone crafted with passion but it remains unacknowledged in "history of genre".

I see quite often people sticking on safe and trusted names. This seems to indicate whether they admit or not, being widely acknowledged as great plays big role. Out of habit one checks out the big names, goes to gig when old artists shows up, etc.  Also finding the cult items nobody has is common status symbol thing. But what about nearly forgotten and unreckognized noise? The odd tapes nobody remembers who actually did them, artists that are long gone, etc? Is there some other atmosphere to be found?

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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 09:01:18 PM »

interesting topic...one that stretches across a lot of aspects of the "why?" of creating any kind of artistic output. Part of it is "canonization" and the processes that build the canon (zines, forums, reviews, releases on high profile labels, crossover mainstream acknowledgement, prolific touring schedules, "legendary shows", etc etc) all are generally driven by the "market forces" behind noise. Generally, those who are well known are well known because they have been in front of more people; does that mean the quality is better? of course not! but it does speak to a drive to be "acknowledged". The more resources available to you, the easier it is to be acknowledged. If you have resources available to you AND are prolific AND are immensely talented, you end up with someone like Merzbow.

It gets interesting when you start to dig into the depths though. We all probably have a few releases that were maybe just "friends and family", or hyper-small runs that were never digitized and entered the modern market. Is the quality of this material necessarily lower? No! But how can a tape, of which say 35 copies exist, ever hope to find an "audience" barring blind luck? One way forward - a few years ago John Olson released "Life is a Rip Off", a compilation of his daily reviews of extremely esoteric music. It was released on Third Man Records and sold out instantly. It's a collectors item itself now (resellers are asking $500 for it!).  How many people got into Grausamkeit because of his review? A lot seemingly, seeing as how that obscure german black metal project is now a namedropped signifier of "cool". Publications like this are what are able to bring these tiny run/never distributed releases back to life - they find a champion in a fan with an audience, and through that prism find a new audience. Obscure noise needs it's champions. Who knows what will be kindled by the rediscovery of some of this material?

As fans, artists and labels give more power to corporate algorithms, what you end up with is a sterile, digital monoculture. Why has "OSDM" become the dominant trend in metal? Why does every new hyped up UK punk band sound like some iteration of The Fall? It's because of this acquiesece to technology, a regressive intellectual laziness. Allowing algorithms to decide your taste. Clicking on the album with "cool aesthetics" on your instagram story. The market reacts, these things climb to the top. Everything else is lost to sterile market efficiency.

I think only in these ignored, underheard releases will we find new ways "forward" as a genre; ideas just waiting to be found, rhizomes!! It's contemporary sonic archaeology that exists strikingly in opposition to the global digital monoculture.
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 10:45:24 PM »

I think only in these ignored, underheard releases will we find new ways "forward" as a genre; ideas just waiting to be found, rhizomes!! It's contemporary sonic archaeology that exists strikingly in opposition to the global digital monoculture.
Could you go into this a bit more?  I'm not sure I fully understand, and I say that because as I read you, I see that archeology as a digital endeavor.  It's possible because of technology.

In reference to the original post, is this a question about how culture is created, built, and furthered?
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2021, 03:15:05 AM »

I think only in these ignored, underheard releases will we find new ways "forward" as a genre; ideas just waiting to be found, rhizomes!! It's contemporary sonic archaeology that exists strikingly in opposition to the global digital monoculture.

I think you are on to something with this.  However, I think that the "new ways 'forward'" are less grounded in listening to unacknowledged projects/recordings, than in making noise in a way that is not concerned about acknowledgement.  If you only create based on what is seen as "popular" or "good," then there seems to be a distinct possibility that you would get trapped in what has already been done.  But if you are not worried about popularity, then you are freer to make sounds that explore something new.

Also, I think that what is "acknowledged" as being the best has a way of compelling people to create new things by getting others to rebel against it.  Art history is full of reactions to trends and styles that have become dominant.

In a way, I wonder whether basing a standard for "newness" upon what is unacknowledged might actually be counterproductive in some ways.  It would seem really easy, then, to call something "new" just because it copies something that few people have heard.  It could turn into one of those "I am better than you because I know more obscure music than you do" situations quickly.
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2021, 07:10:36 AM »

In reference to the original post, is this a question about how culture is created, built, and furthered?

Original post was meant more as discussion of personal experience, what this means on individual level.
What it means in context of culture / development, I am not sure if one needs to really be that conscious, beyond personal input.

I have often said, and may say again, but certainly I have an issue of seeing underground music being under umbrella of iTunes, Spotify... to some extent even bandcamp, shopify, bigcartel, youtube and such. It is not even idealism, as much as it is sheer repulsion, that counterculture would be aiding the acceleration of consumer machine and multinational corporations. Of course one would always be relying on Philips tape or CD or such, but there seems to be some different level of attachment in the current ways.

Out of necessity, of course myself included have given little finger to some of the services. I get almost zero inspiration from seeing link to someone bandcamp. New album of recognized and appreciated artists, instantly streaming.. I tend to listen some samples, but very rarely beyond that. Opportunity to grab unknown noise tape, someone hand made and dubbed, is as interesting as it always was.

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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2021, 09:06:01 AM »

I get almost zero inspiration from seeing link to someone bandcamp. New album of recognized and appreciated artists, instantly streaming.. I tend to listen some samples, but very rarely beyond that. Opportunity to grab unknown noise tape, someone hand made and dubbed, is as interesting as it always was.

Streaming/downloading opened doors for me. Gone are the days I wait for months for a tape that may never come and may not even like. Now I can access new music with a simple mouse-click. I find that genuinely exciting and appealing. The amount of material on Bandcamp now is astonishing and I'm digging it while it lasts.
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2021, 11:10:04 AM »

“any given system (such as a capitalist one) which is characterized by efficiency, the possibility of opposition to the system has to be controlled internally if the system is to persist. The single best way of controlling opposition is of course, by accommodation. Hence, using the medical analogy... operate (s) rather like an inoculation against disease.” Thomas Docherty, in Continental Philosophy in the 20th Century, p.481, Routledge.

Seems apt!

I have often said, and may say again, but certainly I have an issue of seeing underground music being under umbrella of iTunes, Spotify... to some extent even bandcamp, shopify, bigcartel, youtube and such. It is not even idealism, as much as it is sheer repulsion, that counterculture would be aiding the acceleration of consumer machine and multinational corporations.

Underground music and counter culture may well be 'tolerated' in western democracies as just such an “ inoculation” - as in “OK we are capitalists, but would you so called counter culturists rather live in North Korea or China... ?”  I've seen students in art schools with T shirts depicting Hendrix and Che who don't know who they are... Red Bull supports Merzbow...  It is my opinion that the consumer machine sees counter culture not as any threat, as in other regimes, but a lucrative supply of 'new' ideas.  I remember seeing piles of books in book stores by Greta Thunberg, published by Penguin Random House (Revenue €3.359 billion in 2017)


 Of course one would always be relying on Philips tape or CD or such, but there seems to be some different level of attachment in the current ways.

Maybe, but the money (IMO) now follows counter culture, my local HMV is now full of (expensive) Vinyl and decks. Maybe soon we will see high end tape decks made again. So i'm not so sure, there is an element of the fetish in a badly made xeroxed tape, the xerox now faked to look bad...  very different from its origin. Same goes for a Vinyl in a sleeve, its sexy?

Out of necessity, of course myself included have given little finger to some of the services. I get almost zero inspiration from seeing link to someone bandcamp. New album of recognized and appreciated artists, instantly streaming.. I tend to listen some samples, but very rarely beyond that. Opportunity to grab unknown noise tape, someone hand made and dubbed, is as interesting as it always was.

I agree to an extent, and because of the sheer volume of releases on Youtube, Band Camp – Sound Cloud, actual product acts as a kind of filter. (i.e. one has to bother to buy and make the cassettes...) But that is in a way no different to the days of Vinyl and its prohibitive costs of manufacture acting as a filter.  Maybe like free money, free media loses its value?

Some critics of the system have argued for accelerationism... and not related - how useful to a capitalist culture is a counter culture? Without terrorism, and viruses... secret law enforcement agencies and multi national drug companies would be irrelevant. 

Maybe the old 'modern' idea of someone creating something 'new' is no longer possible, but given as said the idea of “ sonic archaeology “ what is found is not really new, but something which was hidden. In the act of appreciating this- is the real artist the one who discovers the hidden?
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2021, 05:17:33 PM »

Maybe you need to write a book about all the unknown noise and tape projects from your collection. Not joking. A lot of people people not being around in the 90's or even the first years of 2000's noise only get to know the bigger names, or more recent names, because they are still being active or are actively talked about. "sticking to safe names", how the hell do people know of obscure projects when they are not active anymore? How many people are going to stroll through Discogs only to find some obscure records by some obscure noisehead without any personal connection?

Same with magazines, most magazines currently going talk about recent releases and maybe classics, but how often about some obscure ltd. 15 tape released 15 years ago? Does it even make sense to talk about a tape that only is known by a handful of people, which most would be likely not being active in noise anymore?

But, giving it space in your SI zine, some people may like it.
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2021, 05:36:42 PM »

Maybe you need to write a book about all the unknown noise and tape projects from your collection. Not joking. A lot of people people not being around in the 90's or even the first years of 2000's noise only get to know the bigger names, or more recent names, because they are still being active or are actively talked about. "sticking to safe names", how the hell do people know of obscure projects when they are not active anymore? How many people are going to stroll through Discogs only to find some obscure records by some obscure noisehead without any personal connection?

Same with magazines, most magazines currently going talk about recent releases and maybe classics, but how often about some obscure ltd. 15 tape released 15 years ago? Does it even make sense to talk about a tape that only is known by a handful of people, which most would be likely not being active in noise anymore?

But, giving it space in your SI zine, some people may like it.

You might try http://vitalweekly.net/   This goes way back. There is a search function, but it might be a bit 'lumpy' due to the
programmer (*cough*! - me) and from around 2000? Frans did get me to review noise works...  and there is also noisewiki.... the real problem is
most of these releases are probably no longer available.

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« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2021, 07:19:56 PM »

Could you go into this a bit more?  I'm not sure I fully understand, and I say that because as I read you, I see that archeology as a digital endeavor.  It's possible because of technology.

sure - I draw a distinction between luddite anti-technologism (of which I do not subscribe to) and an anti-surveillance and anti-artificial intelligence perspective.

I think it's fascinating that Youtube of all platforms is one of the "freest" and an archive of true, uncensored obscurity. While suggestions remain, it functions like a library - you search for music, you find it, you consume it. It's relatively benign compared to something like Spotify or Bandcamp, where agendas are being pushed both at the surface level and through more insidious, subliminal means.  It's when artificial intelligences are attempting to guide your hand and shape taste that the hyperparanoid American in me starts thinking about the agendas on the horizon.

RE: the topic at hand, I think we may be on the cusp of a resurgence in blogs/print media...I'm not sure, but I am seeing it from every angle. Substack was a major contributor, but who remembers the glory days of blogs? Sites where these obscuro 15 copy releases would miraculously manifest. Why can't they come back? I saw a perfect bound indie/punk zine recently sell out of a 200 print run. I'm just reading the tea leaves here, but maybe we're in the nascent stages of the rejection of technology driven taste making into the underground.

I do want to point out that Noisextra (and Harsh Truths, others that I haven't heard yet) has done a good job of balancing deeply obscure releases with more well known. It's a good example of using a new format to bring attention to the obscurities of the past.
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