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new electronica

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  • Franco Ingrassia
    New Electronica Tomorrow, with electronic music, we will listen to the sound of the freedom John Cage, New Music, New Dance , 1939. The phrase of John
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 1999
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      New Electronica



      " Tomorrow, with electronic music,

      we will listen to the sound of the freedom "

      John Cage, " New Music, New Dance ", 1939.

      The phrase of John Cage can be interpreted, at least, in two ways. If we understand freedom as the increasing capacity to carry out selections, cradles in the knowledge (control) of our actions and their consequences, electronic music, the " sound of the freedom ", is the place of the infinite possibilities, the moment where we can control the sound, really synthesize it, to define it, to order it. The other possible interpretation implies to think that order does not produce, but reproduces. And that only chaos, accident, when reshaping, altering and transforming order, creates. Accident that always implies a previous organization to alter. Therefore, in this interpretation, the sound of the freedom is only possible trying to surround to the maximum the limit of the logic of technology used in electronic music.

      Let us begin by the end.

      Let us try to define to electronic music through its limit, the " musical electronics ". Understanding by this the operation (and in some cases construction) of electronic devices that produce a rank of frequencies audible to the human ear. This definition could apply to all existing electronic music.

      But this says little of the diversity and complexity of present electronic music. We are ourselves forced to develop our analysis establishing another series of demarcations in the field. It would be possible to define three great cultural contexts where electronic music registers: rock, academic music, dance culture. More than a unity of electronic music, we could think about specific modalities of transcultural displacements between these three cultural contexts and the limit of the "musical electronics" to be factors that would relate the diversity of cultural events grouped under the label " electronic music " (from Stockhausen to the Jungle, through Kraftwerk and Oval).


      Perhaps these specific modalities of cultural displacements are the most interesting characteristic present in electronic music. Under this dynamics, the cultural contexts begin to be impossible to formalize and the conceptual network tends to the point of finding constant permeabilities. Constructed electronic music from rock vice versa uses procedures taken from dance and/or academic electronic music. This allows the listener to go through the different preexisting connections, to establish new ones, and to move from one cultural context to another.


      In this text, we chose to be centered in electronic music produced within rock. It is in this context that the German group Kraftwerk, arisen at the beginning of the ' 70, can be considered like the original landmark. Kraftwerk constructs an aesthetic of mechanical purity. Sonorous translation of the progressive ideals of modernity, the electronics of the ' 70 invents a pacific futurism. Moved away from the destructive violence of Marinetti and his partners in the beginnings of XX century.


      The new electronics, however, seems to find in the inherent discontinuities to all system its trigger. It constructs aesthetic of the deflection, studies of the inestability of the structure. An attempt to surround the place where the technique always fails, knowing that it is that fault the one that puts the structure in movement. When including the accidental, the antagonism to the structure of the technological imperialism that, paradoxicalally, is the condition of possibility for technology to exists, the new electronic music does not propose its integration like one more element in the " technical space " where electronic music " would happen ". Far from trying to place the accident as complement, as it closes the wall that the control establishes on the sound, the accident emerges like an opening to the unpredictable thing, able to resignify the other elements.


      [Franco Ingrassia]
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