Re: [rumori] radio boy liner notes

From: Don Joyce (
Date: Sun Jan 13 2002 - 18:41:25 PST

Good Hello, Jon,
Yes of course the rise of sampling is about 20 years old years now, and if
your scale of time perception is that 20 years is a long time (Hah, you
young whippersnappers have such short attention spans!) then sampling is
now "old" even though a 20 year old person is not considered old or even
close to it. But then what has music got to do with people??? It took about
100 years to flesh out the final fringe remains of "original" sounds
possible in ALL music before I had the nerve to say every truly new form
worth doing has been done and that is now an "old" and (experimentally
speaking only) an actually worn out idea about how to make more music. That
is all that's left to us, more music, but isn't that enough? And as far as
far as sampling goes, (and that depends on how much memory you have) it
added really nothing new to the idea of composition (how music progresses
along all it's completely well worn paths), I guess just the ability to
repeat EXACTLY the same sampled sound over and over again, and I'll leave
it to you to decide what that's worth. But TRYING to repeat exactly the
same sound over and over was already familiar enough in the world of
"original" instrumentation anyway. Aside from content, digital sound
chopping was the only new form sampling introduced to music, and in form
that was just a more intricate variation on analog tape editing done
decades before like Dockstader did.

I don't think the sound of sample work is worn out to the same degree that
"original" music's sound is yet (there was plenty of rote "junk" being made
in ANY new musical form or technique as soon as it was discovered, yet
interesting spin-offs in those forms by the more inventive also continued
to appear throughout the 20th Century, right up to about 1970, where avant
guard "newness" finally petered out in a rather complete lack of listenable
ideas that were "new." - (that's a finite range of possibilities in music
and it includes annoying noise, but even with that it had ALL been done by
1970). The whole concept of avant guard music is not beyond retrieval now,
but it's definition has chaged and wont really include completely new
inventions in music making anymore, including sampling or anything else.
So, if you're looking to invent something new in musical form, as the
loudspeaker spoke up and said, "GIVE UP!"

Of course sampling is no longer a new kind of music, though it's still a
relatively new way to make music, NONE of which will ever be considered
"new" again in the ways that all kinds of experiments were considered new
to music during the 20th Century. I have never said sampling is or remains
the only "new" thing happening in music - it's just about the LAST new
thing, that's all, and now it begins to age just like everything else did.
Did you think YOUR generation was not going to get old, you big hippy?

So, let's review. ALL MUSIC has now become various forms of folk music,
right? Including the avant guard. You can reiterate music in "new"
interpretations in any of these forms forever, but you will always be
directly building on some kind of formal invention that has already been
discovered by your musical forefathers no matter what you make of it now,
which is just as interesting as following the evolution of folk music is.
Formally speaking, only reinterpretations are now possible, but with
nothing original at it's structural foundation, as remained possible in
music for so long. And I'm not a stickler for 1970 because it's just an
approximate guess where that Century's true musical form redifinitions
actually cut-off for all practical purposes, but it's certainly clear they
HAVE cut-off by now.

I say GO FOR IT. You now have a vast myriad of tried if not true
construction and destruction "musical" forms in which to insert CONTENT. In
our remaining folk music history, content will be KING, and I don't
necessarily mean Larry, though that's how I got my start... "Omaha,
Nebraska, What's your question..."
Content, (your own or other people's indescriminantly), not form is what
will count as what is "new" in new music. Just like folk music.

Going to clubs is a perfectly fine form of entertainment. I approve. When I
was young and could stand the stand-up discomfort and deafening ear assault
of clubs with enthusiasm, I would go, (sometimes hoping to actually hear
something new!). (And that Otani show was nothing "new," I first saw
performances indistinguishable in form to that in the mid 60s, just the
sonic content was different.) So I'm not so interested in that up to date
newness that people seek in clubs and I began to wonder if I was really
even being entertained, so I now have more or less stopped going. So much
disappointment... However, If you turned off your computer you would find
something else to do, not necessarily of lesser worth to you either, but I
CAN'T! By the way, I also no longer go to new movies but much prefer to see
them several years later on cassette, if at all. Is this Potter thing a
drug movie? Lord Of The Rings? Read the book back when music really rocked,
isn't that enough?

I'm just a folk critic now, rarely surprised by anyone's idea of "new," now
living way out in the country with a limited exposure to new artists and
their confounding attempts to make new music. I'm gonna just review my own
work in my old age, try to decide if it should even be called that, and
hope I can get garbage pickup out here...

Crosley Bendix
(retired from music reviewing, 1970)
On Line Retro-Stylistic Premonitions Consultant.
(Now a wholly owned subsidy of Nabisco Brands Inc.)

>hey don, thanks for your response. what a great summary of Duchamp.
>>As I may have mentioned before, when you reach this inevitable point in the
>>history of "original" music experimentation where all the best moves have
>>ALREADY been made, recycling becomes "revolutionizing" itself.
>Indeed you have mentioned this before, Don, about twelve million times.
>What I like about Herbert's extreme liner notes is that he's trying to come
>up with an intelligent response to the fact that recycling _isn't_ terribly
>revolutionary in and of itself anymore, in theory or practice. You can
>still come up with revolutionary work with the form, as you mentioned, but
>yes 1970's a looong time ago by now even by historical standards.
>Basically we're completely swamped with sampling for it's own sake by now,
>a trend which entrenched itself in the mass media about ten years ago.
>It's long been common practice, all the outlaw artists have all been
>canonized (Oswald's Plunderbox: voted one of the 10 best releases of the
>year by SPIN magazine, buy it now, kids, etc). A lot of stupefyingly
>mediocre music is being made. Herbert's writings are an attempt to address
>the failures of sampling as practice, and maybe he goes way overboard in
>the opposite direction, but that's something to be happy about given the
>absence of dialog on the subject. When he says "No Samples of Other
>Musicians Allowed" in his PCCOM manifesto, well, that's too extreme for me
>to take to heart myself, but I hear where he's coming from and I hope the
>ideas behind that message get out there.
>>As a consequence, modern artists should back off their traditional God
>>complexes, expecting to be prayed for (and payed for) their individual
>>creative efforts wherever they appear in subsequent new contexts by others.
>This is a very important point to make. The myth of the Individual Creator
>is one of the cornerstones of our western culture here, and it's only
>getting more entrenched... people really enjoy believing in individual
>genius and paying their reverent tributes, so a lot of focus always goes to
>the frontman. One of the new things about our media culture is that this
>is the first time it's actually been possible to keep TRACK of all the
>hundreds of people who've made their individual contributions to an art
>form, all the work is documented, so instead of everyone just remembering
>Bach as the 'inventor' of fugue, these days we're confronted with all the
>people other than fucking Stockhausen who gradually innovated in the field
>of electronic music, for example. All of them, anyone who managed to
>complete a final work in recorded form, left a document. And these
>documents are increasingly widely available. This decentralized access is
>being experienced as a crisis because there's no one godlike figure to lead
>the way, no one direction to follow; we've yet to make the paradigm shift
>away from the enshrined individual genius.
>One of the things I like about sampling in music is that it kind of makes
>this old 'myth of the indivdual genius' transparent; anyone knowledgable
>enough can perceive the original recordings within most 'sampled' music,
>yet obviously a new piece of music has resulted, a contribution been made
>and acknowledged, and the myth of the individual genius is eroded somewhat
>(I like to think).
>I hope Herbert isn't suggesting that legislation be implented that pays the
>performer, engineer, and composer equally for their work in any sample used
>by anyone (although I've read law review articles suggesting precisely
>this: see Christopher D. Abramson's well meaning but hopelessly mired
>article 'Digital Sampling and the Recording Musician: A Proposal for
>Legislative Protection", New York University Law Review, December 1999).
>But it does underline the truth that when somebody samples a drum snare
>from a James Brown record, the engineer is more responsible for what's
>being taken than the composers credit that's awarded the $20,000 sample
>license. Captialism's 'filthy brown finger' is just too inadequate to
>address what's going on; this is Market Failure.
>>"There is no solution because there is no problem" - Duchamp.
>Good quote but in this case the problem is merely the same old confusion
>resulting from watching a revolution gone stale, watching the new
>discoveries slowly taken for granted and practiced by rote that once seemed
>inherently valid. There is kind of a problem here... the dialog helps.
>By the way, Don, do you have any idea just how _establishment_ you sound
>when you continue to hold up appropriation as the only last frontier left
>in music because 'everything's been done before (sonny)'? I simply
>disagree with your contention that there are no new sounds. And before you
>object, name the last local concert you went to. The Bay Area has seen
>some of the most amazing concerts available to anyone anywhere over the
>last ten years, and you don't go out to shows, ever. (Okay you went to see
>Otomo's I.S.O. four years ago, 'cause you expected him to be doing some
>sampling). My number of nights-out-on-the-town will probably be reduced a
>few decades from now as well, don't get me wrong, but I'll try to remember
>not to write off all the musical developments I'm oblivious to with a
>simple 'it's all been done before'.
>respectfully yours as always
>>>hi today,
>>>just wanted to say that mp3's of the first two chopping channel live shows
>>>are now up and working at
>>>only the first show is clearly linked on the site, but if you click on the
>>>words 'chopping channel' towards the bottom of the first page, it'll take
>>>you through to the page for the second show, which has a superior version
>>>of 'sales techniques' and a few other high points but certainly start with
>>>the first show.
>>>I just found these typically provocative liner notes in matthew herbert's
>>>new album as Radio Boy, a not-for-sale given-away-for-free-at-gigs release,
>>>and they were interesting, so I'm attaching them below. Some nice angry
>>>responses now that sampling is an ingrained mainstream practice. PCCOM,
>>>his personal sampling manifesto is quite interesting. I'm not totally in
>>>agreement but I'm a sucker for a fully realized manifesto.
>>>The first two paragraphs are the best, but I shouldn't edit the guy, the
>>>lividity of the rest is understandable given it was written a week after
>>>liner notes to Radio Boy's 'the mechanics of destruction'
>>>This collection of organized noise began life as a late but sharp
>>>realization that music is always political.
>>>The democratisation of composition that followed the electronic music
>>>revolution inevitably has led to the consumerisation of methods of
>>>production. sampling, instead of revolutionizing the very accepted idea of
>>>music, has become a short cut to authenticity. instead of musicians
>>>constructing imaginary worlds out of real sounds, they have instead openly
>>>selected and stolen their way round their usually brilliant record
>>>collections, borrowing the best parts of the best recorded, best played
>>>songs. the composer has somehow become simply a qualified selector.
>>>the rearrangement of previous ideas into different and contemporary
>>>contexts has always been a part of traditional western technique, but never
>>>before has the performance also been lifted. not only does the composer
>>>rarely get paid (except where ironically backed by a label of signifigant
>>>size intent only on collecting its own disproportionately high share of
>>>royalties), but the performer, engineer and producer rarely get mentioned,
>>>let alone renumerated. capitalism has once again inserted its filthy brown
>>>finger into a creative and thus political process. at a time of unbridled
>>>consumerism and electoral apathy, it is hardly surprising then that music
>>>has become a bloated and arrogant beast, still buying in to, and selling on
>>>at a premium these myths of modern consumerism. the pinnacle of which is
>>>the series "popstars" that blatantly manufactures groups before the very
>>>eyes of a cynical and distant audience before then turning round and
>>>inviting it to buy into the mirage it has created. a trick so neatly
>>>summarized by "the pardoners tale" by chaucer.
>>>anyone with a sense of injustice and a mind prepared to read beyond the
>>>facile celebrity driven literature put forward by a media intent on
>>>promoting its own social and business agenda will have noticed the
>>>extremely dangerous and deeply disturbing shift from state-power to
>>>it is this then that this album is largely about. from the takeover and
>>>systematic destruction of local diet by mcdonalds to the failure of western
>>>societies to intervene in rwanda and thus become implicit in another modern
>>>genocide. that I have largely destroyed everything that has come to make
>>>the noises for this record is symptomatic of my anger at being ignored by a
>>>government so far removed from my basic human concerns it doesn't think
>>>twice before risking the lives of every one of us by entering a war with
>>>people we have spent a large part of the last century arming.
>>>there's so much to say on the subject of destruction in a society that
>>>creates so much packaging to lure us into buying things the earth can't
>>>bear to dispose of, but instead of words, I have chosen music.
>>>matthew herbert, 18th september 2001.
>>>this album is profit-free.
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