There’s an interesting (& refreshingly accessible) piece in Wired about music and public space. Not only is it a good read; it’s also written by one of my favorite undersung raconteurs, Momus! His livejournal is also, well…lively, so I’m linking (music geeks and dandified whatsits please take note).
His writing on this topic (more of it here) raises lots of interesting questions:
Songs are fascist immigrants, conquistadors who’ve come, inevitably, to slay indigenous sound wherever they find it.
Yes, quite. I don’t think I could have put it better than that. But maybe it is the influence of the surrounding culture of fascism/colonialism that endows the songs of here and now with that character? In other cultural ecologies, might songs more gently enter public spaces? Is the situation different (even if only slightly) in Japan, for example?
In Noise Jacques Attali calls the industrial/electronic 20th century an age of repetition, an era in the circulation of music that bears the seeds of its own destruction. He writes that the hyper-accumulation of commercial music will eventually overextend itself, people will recoil in horror, and the whole commercial music regime will then self-destruct. In our malaise over the ubiquity of song, are we maybe witnessing a slice of that moment of change?