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"Self-indulgent Electronic Meanderings" [OT? you decide]

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Ben wrote:

>I love music and sound and spend a great deal of my time playing 
>around with them. But I am certainly not fool enough to think that this
>self-indulgent distraction is of any significant in the grand scope.
>alarming rate at which this planet is being sucked dry, at which 
>power-brokers are manipulating society and law to their own benefit and
>the stunningly transparent farce--with respect to Iraq--which is being 
>carried out on the world stage are grave matters which should be of 
>interest to ANY mailing list in any language in any part of the world. 

One thing that seems relatively unaddressed in all the discussion
generated by our newest troll is the kind of relationship that we want
to engender between our music and the "outside world". Can electronic
music be something other than "self-indulgent meanderings?" (Ben, I know
you're not suggesting all electronic music is self-indulgent; I'm asking
a rhetorical question). Indeed, given that computers and digital
networks constitute *the* technological base of global capitalism at the
present time, isn't computer-based music distributed over digital
networks uniquely situated to address these structures of power? The
fact that personal computers and "globalization" are in ascendance at
the same time is not a coincidence; what matters is what we make of that
coincidence. Likewise with the historical links between the development
of computer technology and military-industrial complex. The neutrality
and triviality of the 0's and 1's that constitute all digital
information (even digital music) means that they can bent to a variety
of purposes. I think it's worth asking ourselves as producers of digtial
music what kind of purposes we want to cultivate for our digits. Do we
want to be like the clueless computer music composer at IRCAM in the
80's who saw some of his computer code get "donated" to the US military
at Los Alamos because his particular 0's and 1's were also useful in the
development of missile guidance systems? Or are our 0's and 1's going to
flow towards a critique of the increasing digitization of power?


Phil Thomson


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