What is worn out yields pliantly to the improvising hand; the used parts win a second life as variants. Just as the chauffeur's knowledge of his old second-hand car can enable him to drive it punctually and unrecognized to its intended destination, so can the expression of a beat-up melody, straining under the pressure of clarinets and oboes in the upper register, arrive at places which the approved musical language could never safely reach. Such music really crystallizes the whole, into which it has incorporated the vulgarized fragments, into something new, yet it takes its material form from regressive listening...
The terror which Schoenberg and Webern spread, today as in the past, comes not from their incomprehensibility but from the fact that they are all too correctly understood. Their music gives form to that anxiety, that terror, that insight into the catastrophic situation which others merely evade by regressing. They are called individualists, and yet their work is nothing but a single dialogue with the powers which destroy individuality--powers whose "formless shadows" fall gigantically on their music. In music, too, collective powers are liquidating an individuality past saving, but against them only individuals are capable of consciously representing the aims of collectivity.
Adorno, the same essay as all the others.
+ + +
Adorno--supporting "This Music" before it was "This Music."
At some point, perhaps once the doorknobs are fixed, I'll figure out the proximity of this essay to Adorno's Quasi una Fantasia and the great essay therein Vers une Musique Informelle--which also, if you squint your mind--could be all about our beloved music.
Of the many sadnesses meditated upon in this humble blog, that Adorno couldn't have heard Dixon's complete trajectory is near the top of the sadness pile.
+ + +
Music has become comic in the present phase primarily because something so completely useless is carried on with all the visible signs of the strain of serious work.Serious work. Is music serious work? Is music important? I go back and forth on this one. At present, I'm more feeling like music is a symptom (like a rash, swollen tongue or hair loss) of something else. Class station, traumas endured in childhood, geographic location, astrological sign...any number of things.
Right now, the "what" of one's voice is seems inescapable. How that negates the notion of the "seriousness" in elaborating and polishing one's voice for production purposes (ultimately, or as a byproduct of the "lifestyle") I'm not exactly sure. I am sure that there is an increasing feeling of inner unease regarding the "work" of music as being any more or less "serious" than any other work. If I spend 23 hours a day playing Giant Steps backwards in the key of H at 400 bpm and you spend 23 hours a poking cows in the ass with a stick in the freezing cold and/or rain, who's work is more serious? Who is more serious about their work?
+ + +
if art, in unity with the society, should ever leave the road of the always-identical"The road of the always-identical." This is why we love Adorno. Just about sums it up. Stay tuned for more of your favorite hits from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's and 00's! The same fucking shit for one half of one century. Yes, yes, 1950 to 1970 was more musical evolution and growth in 20 years than the previous 200. It also seems to have set the standard for the next 200 to follow, until the next mega spurt comes along. The road of the always identical, spilling out before us for an eternity, with a Subway Subway Subway every 50 miles.
A recent trip to dear old Portland revealed an instance of a municipal utility partnering with those residents who live around a field owned by said utility. In exchange for a small modicum of committee based paper-trail accountability, this utility has given significant capital to make what was once an unsavory place of nefariousness into an inviting place of restored ecological functionality complete with fruit trees, gardens, shade trees, bee hives, composts, water run-off bio swales and the like. This is where Portland really leads the continent.
Portland lags along with the rest of the "civilized world" in it's relationship to art in that it too is addicted to the always identical. "Art's" orgonotic pulse in Portland is no stronger or more special than that of anywhere else. What sets Portland apart Art-wise is the convenient mass transit to and from the venues and a relatively lax parent culture that permits the weekly rags to be as potty mouth as they please. The weekly rags respond as you might expect them too--like Pat Boone singing Crazy Train. But they do shake their poms furiously for the home team. That pays dividends to be sure. And dividends are their own form of control. Like Snausages. And so, once again, away we go on the rainy leaf covered road of the always identical feeling smug and rad on our single speed track bikes with the wind whistling through our ear disk tube things...
What if art, in unity with society, were to really link arms and leave the road of the always identical? What if the City of Portland (tm) were to really really put the call out? What if the City of Portland (tm) were to really really put it's municipal might behind that "Art" which strayed from the always identical? How WEIRD (tm) would Portland be then?
Is it possible to have an artful city with no prevailing, hegemonic "style" other than the "human" or "functional?" Would that be great or would it be a nightmare?
+ + +
so can the expression of a beat-up melody, straining under the pressure of clarinets and oboes in the upper register, arrive at places which the approved musical language could never safely reach. Such music really crystallizes the whole, into which it has incorporated the vulgarized fragments, into something new, yet it takes its material form from regressive listening...Sounds to me like he's talking about Cookin' at the Plugged Nickel.
+ + +
The terror which Schoenberg and Webern spread, today as in the past, comes not from their incomprehensibility but from the fact that they are all too correctly understood. Their music gives form to that anxiety, that terror, that insight into the catastrophic situation which others merely evade by regressing.(Even) Homer Simpson knows exactly what time it is. The hatred of "This Music" comes not from an incomprehension due to the "shocking newness" of the sounds. Ninja please! As mentioned before, it has been "now" for the last 50 years! Just less fulfilling! And more expensive! And more cheaply made!
The hatred of this music absolutely comes from the insight into the (our) catastrophic situation. Our regressions fuel the sin industry, and for it we are congratulated and given an alternate soundtrack (paid for by the sin industry) diametrically opposed to the one that scared us earlier by giving form to our anxiety and terror.
+ + +
They are called individualists, and yet their work is nothing but a single dialogue with the powers which destroy individuality--powers whose "formless shadows" fall gigantically on their music. In music, too, collective powers are liquidating an individuality past saving, but against them only individuals are capable of consciously representing the aims of collectivity.And what are those aims of collectivity? I don't think it is the liquidation of individuality, regardless if it is past saving or not. Actually, I think the aim of the collective is to support and give sanctuary to individuality so that it may develop and grow with diminished exposure to the withering insanity one faces when going it alone in the market. Instead, collectives seem to be their own insanity generators--if not totally dysfunctional then, as mentioned, liquidators of individuality with needless strata of stricture and behaviour modification. Then of course there are those collectives which are simply fronts for the careerist goals of of that sociopath charismatic enough to hide their intentions.
They're everywhere. Like bedbugs.
+ + +
Speaking of stricture and behavior modification, this Adorno essay is DUNZO. Maybe we are going to give Adorno a rest for a while and give another look at Reich. Adorno's writing about music always makes me think of Reich's writing about neurotics and psychopaths.
I also found a college text book about money from those long ago Econ minor days. It's written in an arm around your back familiar tone with quaint and false little quotes like
There may be some misers who accumulate wealth for the simple pleasures of counting and admiring it. But for most of us, wealth is a means to an end rather than the end itself.lol. Hey, all you out there for whom shaving was compulsory, and compulsory at an hour earlier than you would prefer (I know you're out there)--is the above quote true or false?