November 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The persistent move in writing on recent laptop music, whether in Boomkat blurbs or in-depth pieces, of noting an artist’s education or interest in principles or theories construed as academic & then throwing up one’s hands in surprise that ‘actually their work has something to do with dance OMG!!1’, must be condemned, or at least snarked at, wherever it is encountered. I’m thinking here of Holly Herndon, Mark Fell, Lee Gamble, Ben Vida, even Keith Fullerton Whitman’s modular synth albums. Some of them have had tertiary education in (computer) music, & it’s shaped their work. But never is the value of educational work, in terms of enriching theoretical & practical resources, named or explored: Herndon’s Movement is a thesis project for her PhD at “the infamous Mills College”, but why is Mills College infamous? What does it mean historically for electronic music? (The San Francisco Tape Music Centre’s name resounds in its absence here.) The question of what relation abstraction might have to the bodily realm (as lived experience) is discarded in favour of a presumed & ironclad opposition, an opposition that dance music always-already countermands. Such exclamations keep apart the very categories that the exclamations themselves say their objects dissolve.


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