Cursing in Hip-Hop Essay in The Wire

I have an essay on obscene language in hip-hop in the latest issue of The Wire. It’s called “Dirty Talk”.  A lot of my recent favorites are referenced: various Odd Future acts, Azealia Banks, Zebra Katz, Danny Brown, Le1f.  The argument of the essay is about abjection, and the way that obscene language produces a kind of intimacy with something that can’t be talked about — and the way that music, as a form of vibration, is — that thing that can’t be talked about.  Having spent the last week listening a lot to the Kevin Gates record, I think I could have said a lot more about obscenity and violence, and the way that obscene language injects an almost physical force into language.  Well, to be continued …

This issue of The Wire has a lot going on: reflections on song by Rob Young, on improvisation by David Toop, Nina Power on digitized female voices and public address systems. Great to see the breadth of thinking there ….

NPR show on copies

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?

In Praise of Copying, now out in paperback!

In Praise of Copying was released today in that most or least arcane of formats: a paperback book!

Deleting Digital Collections Reading at Lake Forest Literary Festival, March 5

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.

Speculative Approaches to Sonic Objects, Dancehall Style!

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.

Radio Student Interview on Drugs in Literature and Theory

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.

Politics of Vibration talk at McMaster, January 15!

Boon

A Primer on Drone Music in Boing Boing

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.

Global Bass essay in Boing Boing!

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:

Talk on Odd Future and the Politics of Vibration, SVA, NYC, Sept. 27

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 ….