Wisconsin’s NPR show To the Best of Our Knowledge just broadcast an impressively wide ranging show about copies and copying including discussions with a variety of people about architectural mimicry in China; identical twins; apocalypse memes; biotech dilemmas … and my own take on the topic. My own thoughts turn increasingly to the issue of 3-D printers, which especially when linked to a 3D scanner, really radicalize what kinds of objects ordinary people can now copy in their home. With nanotechnology slowly moving from hypothesis to reality, and the possibility of making copies that are accurate at the atomic level, the kinds of confusion of original and copy that we see happening today are going to increase exponentially. Which again raises the question: why do we copy? What do we really want? And how does copying fit or not fit into the broader political-economic framework that we live in?
I’ll be reading a paper called “Meditations in an Emergency: On the Deletion of My MP3 Collection” on Tuesday, March 5 at the Lake Forest Literary Festival at Lake Forest College, outside of Chicago. Thanks to my pal Davis Schneiderman, who I’m working with on a new edition of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin’s collage manual The Third Mind, for the invite. The festival will also feature the awesome work of Cecilia Corrigan and Lisa Robertson.
I have a new piece about sonic borders and boundaries in the excellent sound studies blog Sounding Out!, which is edited by my friend and colleague Jennifer Stoever-Ackerman. As with a lot of my recent work about “the politics of vibration”, in this piece I try to think about what happens on a dancefloor in ontological terms and what it means to be able to access moments of ontological depth through bass, drums, speakers, partying bodies. I look at the current revival of ballroom/voguing styles by artists like the fantastic Zebra Katz, and the way that some of the most interesting new hip-hop explores a strange. maybe speculative zone between Eros and violence on the one hand, and immersion in vibration on the other.
I just did an interview with Lana Durjava for Slovenian radio station Radio Student. The introduction is in Slovenian, but starting around 9:40, the interview itself is in English. It’s very wide ranging, and we really get into the ways that specific drugs appear in history and in literature.
I’ve been interested in drone-based music for a while and have written various pieces about it, including this overview that was originally published in a book edited by The Wire . Recently, Boing Boing asked me to write a guide to drone, so here it is. I’ve tried to cover recent mutations of drone such as the post-hiphop drone pop sound of Tri Angle Records, and the drone metal of Earth and Sun O))). Writing the piece also got me interested in drones in nature, cosmic drone vibrations such as the “sounds” that a black hole emits, and drone apps such as the marvelous SrutiBox and Droneo.
I just wrote an in depth introduction to global bass music for the excellent Boing Boing. What’s global bass? Well, try this remix of native Canadian dubstep crew A Tribe Called Red, by Monterrey, Mx’s Javier Estrada for a start:
I’ll be giving a talk at the School for Visual Arts in Manhattan on Sept. 27th at 7 p.m. The talk will go into some of my recent work on vibrational ontology and what I call the politics of vibration, through an examination of some recent music videos, mostly by members of LA hiphop crew Odd Future. Almost certainly including this one:
Mostly, we don’t think of music as a particular type or culture of vibration. I argue that hiphop, being a profound meditation on and mobilization of sound, is keenly aware of the dangers of pleasures of vibration, and that in different ways, artists like Azealia Banks, Tyler, the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt are making decisions about what a human relation to vibration could be. If you’re in the city, come down and listen ….
So I’m doing a second TheWaves event with my wife/partner Christie Pearson. The first one was an amazing all night party/installation/event called Night Swim at the Trinity-Bellwoods public pool in Toronto, featuring folks like FM3, Sandro Perri, Windy and Carl and many others. The second will be an all day party/installation/event at the Sunnyside bathing pavilion on the lakeshore in Toronto on Sunday August 26th. There’s a website for the event here and an FB event page here.
What is it? TheWaves is about making events/happenings/installations which somehow connect my interest in new/experimental music scenes and Christie’s interests in bathing culture and installation art. We transform specific spaces so that new kinds of sociality, play, relationships to sound and water can evolve. Part of the fun of it is that we don’t exactly know what will happen. The events are experimental but populist: anyone can come, and anyone might enjoy it, whatever age or background they’re from. Basically we think sound and water are fundamental aspects of human life, experience, environment, and we’re interested in celebrating that, and intensifying our relationships to those elements.
If you’ve been to any of the MAMA parties in downtown Toronto, you know that I’m interested in new global bass music. Fire On The Water has given me an opportunity to invite some of the masters that we learnt about global bass from to play in Toronto. What is global bass? It’s electronic dance music emerging in different parts of the world right now. Usually with roots simultaneously in Afrodiasporic dance musics (reggae, funk, house, hiphop, techno) and local traditions (Colombian cumbia, various West African styles). You can’t necessarily tell where anything is from. But that’s part of the point. It’s part of a global conversation in which more and more intense musics evolve. It’s heavy and it’s alive. As philosopher Cornell West put it to one of the MAMAs: “William James is smiling on you when you throw a party!”
Everyone puts it together differently: Venus X’s vicious chopped and screwed style is different from DJ/Rupture’s elegant connections, or Poirier’s soca/dancehall/hiphop rave ups, or Maga Bo’s intense percussion storms. Myself (I’m probably not going to play tho my MAMA brothers and sisters will be opening the event and perhaps closing it down too), I’m listening to Angolan house, Venezuelan “raptor house”, Traxman and other Footwork stuff from Chicago … if I did play it might sound like this recent mix by our friend DJ Zhao.
Anyway, Sunnyside Pavilion is a gorgeous semi-public space. It was originally imagined and used as a utopian public space by crowds of people in the early part of the twentieth century. We want to evoke that old dream and imagine it as a new kind of utopian space for the twenty-first C. It has a lovely upstairs open air dancehall that looks out onto the lake, it’s right on the beach, there’s a huge pool next door, two mysterious pavilions at either end that will have highly psychedelic installations in them. It’s all ages. It’s free. It’s a party. It’s a love letter to the lake. You should come down …