Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Following an opening at the rivington arms gallery, stina and I had drinks with justin and christine, an artist couple whose project is that they think of things they want, ranging from a slice of pepperoni to an iphone, then paint said thing, then sell it for the price that the thing costs. Effectively incarnating the thing by painting it.
You can check them out at


When the talk strayed into astonishment at the wild west that is today's speculative art market, they mentioned a swiss artist who was also involved in conceptually responding to the further interpenetration of art and finance, such that the scheme for buying his paintings was a complex model of bonds, where each painting could be 'cashed-in' after a several year period.

It became clear to me just how divergent their field was from my own in relation to contemporary capitalism. Music and art these days could not be more opposed in terms of money. Digital music, infinitely copyable, impossible to fence in, is this kind of frustrating threshold of capital, which is always trying to fight it, to domesticate it, profit from it. Technological reproduction is forcing the music industry to radically mutate. The art scene, on the other hand, is almost the apotheosis of capital, because it's based on these highly coveted rare objects with no real use-value. There's something absurd and fascinating about how the market has discovered how to make a use out of these purposefully useless objects.

That's where I part company with classical Marxism regarding the economic substructure. Economy doesn't determine culture, technology does. Today technological reproduction of music outstrips the economy, or acts as its limit point.

This leads to me to one of the central focuses of this blog, which is the singularity of listening. There's little white-box experience of music like there is of art in a gallery. Because music is disembodied and immaterial, the material contexts of when and where and how you hear something are more significant. So instead of writing about what a piece of music is, I tend to think about the particular time and place when I heard it, because that ends up being crucial to the illuminating experience of listening.

Electronic dance music is a very good example of this, because it is so heavily dependent on context that any single track can range from being unlistenable to glorious depending on how loud it's playing, what time of day it is, how much you've had to drink, who else is in the room, etc.

On that note, here's a contribution to the Beach House genre: "Hawaiian Island" by Sorcerer. Sort of if Manuel Goettsching bought a yacht and set sail for the lands of smooth disco. Their track "Surfing at Midnight" is also on the Milky Disco comp which I highly recommend.

Courtesy of the wizard who has no home


And from allez-allez, Sorcerer makes you a delightful mix, full of sounds sure to evoke the gentle crashing of brightly airbrushed waves on cotton jersey.


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