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Posts Tagged ‘Walter Benjamin

“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”*…

 

From the annals of the $20 billion phenomenon that is Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

The latest craze, known as miss-mixing, is proving very popular amongst digital DJs as a way of highlighting that they are actually manually mixing tracks rather than using the sync button.

Michael Briscoe, also know as DJ Whopper, spoke about miss-mixing with Wunderground, “Flawless mixing is now a thing of the past, especially for any up and coming digital DJs. You just can’t afford to mix without mistakes these days or you’ll be labelled as a ‘sync button DJ.’”

“I learned how to mix on vinyl years ago so naturally I’m pretty tight when it comes to matching beats,” continued the resident DJ. “I swapped to digital format a couple of years ago because it’s convenient, now I spend more time practicing making mistakes than I do practicing actual mixing.”

“I like to drop in on the second or third beat, leave it play for a couple of bars and then quickly correct myself,” explained Mr. Briscoe. “It’s subtle yet affective, I call it The Perplexer. People who don’t know what they’re listening to won’t even notice it while other DJs will be thinking ‘that’s a great mistake, who is this DJ Whopper lad anyway?’ d’ya know what I mean?”…

Ponder the price of authenticity at “DJs Now Deliberately Making Mistakes To Prove They Are Real DJs.”

* The title of a seminal work by recent (R)D “honoree” Walter Benjamin

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As ask ourselves if it’s real or if it’s Memorex, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the first Farm Aid concert was held, in Champaign, Illinois.

It started with an offhand remark made by Bob Dylan during his performance at Live Aid, the massive fundraising concert held at Wembley Stadium, London, and JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, in the early summer of 1985. As television viewers around the world phoned in donations in support of African famine relief, Dylan said from the stage, “I hope that some of the money…maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe…one or two million, maybe…and use it, say, to pay the mortgages on some of the farms and, the farmers here, owe to the banks.” Dylan would come under harsh criticism from Live Aid organizer Bob Geldof for his remarks (“It was a crass, stupid and nationalistic thing to say,” Geldof would later write), but he planted a seed with several fellow musicians who shared his concern over the state of the American family farm. Less than one month later, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp announced plans for “Farm Aid,” a benefit concert for America’s farmers.

As one might have expected of a concert staged to “raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land,” Farm Aid featured a number of performers from the worlds of country, folk and rootsy rock music. There were the three main organizers and the instigator Bob Dylan, for instance, along with Hoyt Axton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Joni Mitchell and Charley Pride. But the first Farm Aid, more than any of the annual Farm Aid concerts since, was a bit of a stylistic free-for-all, featuring artists united only by their interest in supporting a good cause.

“As soon as I read in the paper that there was gonna be such a thing,” Sammy Hagar told MTV’s cameras on the day of the show, “I called my manager and said, ‘I wanna do it.’ And he said, ‘It’s all country.’ I said, ‘I don’t care. It’s America. I wanna do it.’ If there was anything more surprising than hearing Hagar perform his hard-rock anthem “I Can’t Drive 55” on the same stage that had earlier featured the quiet folk of Arlo Guthrie, it was hearing Lou Reed perform “Walk On The Wild Side” on a stage that had featured John Denver.

Over the years since its first charity concert on this day in 1985, the Farm Aid organization has raised upwards of $33 million to support small farmers, promote sustainable farming practices and encourage consumption of “good food from family farms.”

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Coincidentally, it was on this date in 1962 that Dylan played his first gig at Carnegie Hall…

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Written by LW

September 22, 2014 at 1:01 am

“A copy is a meta-original”*…

 

History tells us that Walter Benjamin, the influential German critic of literature, art, and culture, died more than seventy years ago. So how is it that he’s now out doing lectures and has published a new book?

The fascinating tale in its entirety at “An Investigation Into the Reappearance of Walter Benjamin.”

Conceived by an anthropologist of art and culture as a collection of recent texts by Walter Benjamin written between 1986 and the present, this book includes interviews by Beti Zerovc, Maxine Kopsa and Milo Rau as well as lectures including “Lenin and Coca-Cola,” “The Unmaking of Art” and “The Making of Americans.”

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[TotH to Tyler Hellard’s Pop Loser]

* Walter Benjamin

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As we celebrate simulacra, we might recall that it was on this date in 1969 that “Sugar, Sugar” hit the top of the U.S. pop charts.  Written by Jeff Berry and Andy Kim as one of 16 musical segments performed by “The Archies” (a group of studio musicians) in the CBS “The Archie Comedy Hour,” the tune went on to become the number-one single of the year.

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Written by LW

September 20, 2014 at 1:01 am

Reproducing excellence?…

 

Even the most perfect reproduction… is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.

– Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction 

Julian Baggini recalls a taste test of coffees:

…With me were a coffee shop owner, two coffee obsessives, and a coffee-drinking friend. We were going to blind-taste three coffees: Nespresso capsule coffee, which is served in the restaurant; the traditional espresso that the hotel provides for room service; and a third unmarked coffee I had brought with me to be made the same way, just to see if the whole thing was nonsense and coffee is coffee is coffee. It was the artisan versus the machine…

In distant last place came the ground coffee I had brought, a very good quality, single-estate bean, but not roasted for espresso and ground four days earlier, a little too coarsely for Bruno’s machine. The traditional house espresso scored 18 points, and was the favourite of one taster. But the clear winner with 22 points was the Nespresso, which both scored most consistently and was the favourite of two of the four tasters…

His account becomes a meditation on authenticity:

The key descriptors for Nespresso were ‘smooth’ and ‘easy to drink’. And from the point of view of restaurateurs who use it, the key word is ‘consistency’. It was far from bland, but it was not challenging or distinctive either. It’s a coffee everyone can really like but few will love: the highest common denominator, if you like…

And humanity:

We are not simply hedonic machines who thrive if supplied with things that tick certain boxes for sensory pleasure, aesthetic merit, and so on. We are knowing as well as sensing creatures, and knowing where things come from, and how their makers are treated, does and should affect how we feel about them. Chocolate made from cocoa beans grown by people in near slave conditions should taste more bitter than a fairly traded bar, even if it does not in a blind tasting. Blindness, far from making tests fair, actually robs us of knowledge of what is most important, while perpetuating the illusion that all that really matters is how it feels or seems at the moment of consumption…

Read this eminently-interesting essay in its entirety in Aeon.

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As we accentuate the artisanal, we might recall that it was on this date in 1979 that ukelele sensation Tiny Tim set a new world record for non-stop professional singing– two hours and fifteen minutes– at Luna Park in Sydney, Australia.

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Written by LW

January 13, 2013 at 1:01 am

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